It's a curious thing to walk in great weakness and in great peace simultaneously.
Heads up: a bit of self-disclosure going on here. It’s probably good that I’m comfortable with not “feeling the victory” every minute of every day. Right now, I’m more-than-usual in touch with my weakness as a man, my vulnerability as a human being. I’m really aware of the myriads of enemies coming against me.
Don’t jump to conclusions here. We’re used to interpreting these kinds of things as some sort of failure, where we need to rescue the person feeling such things. I’m not sure I need rescuing. I’m not sure I’m in trouble, really. Sure, enemies are there, always. I'm maybe more aware of it now, but I'm still separated from it, like watching it on a TV; a small, black & white TV: it's there, but it lacks reality, it lacks impact.
I’m not broken. I don’t really need fixing.
I know who I am in Christ. I know my victory in Christ. I’m not a victim of emotions or of demonic interaction; in fact, there are some demons hobbling around with my boot print embedded rather deeply in their buttocks right now, because they though I was vulnerable. Their mistake.
At the same time that I’m experiencing my weakness, my vulnerability, I’m completely clear that I’m SO much more than a conqueror in Christ. I am absolutely, positively, gloriously loved by the most amaaaaazing Daddy in the Universe, and I LIKE it that way!
This is an illustration in irony: it’s going to sound religious, but I think what may be going on is a peeling away of some of the religious “Man of God” garbage that I’ve grown up with. You know: “God’s man for the hour, filled with paste and flour.” I think some of that religious persona, some of psychological buffalo sprouts are landing in the recycling bin where it belongs.
What a wonderful contrast the Kingdom is. I can be in touch with my own inability, my own vulnerability, and still be a full participant in the almighty, awesome, kick-the-devil’s-teeth-in power of my Papa.
Do we have any Firefly fans among us? Any Browncoats? I’m sure you remember how River Tam is the weakest, most dependent character in [the best science-fiction TV series ever! And…] the movie, Serenity.
Do you remember River’s interaction with the demonic bad-guy Reavers toward the end of the movie? Here's a refresher of her great weakness:
(https://youtu.be/nAzZoU9tOeY [warning: violent content!])
Maybe that’s a decent illustration of what it means to be weak, dependent. Maybe it’s OK to be weak and dependent, after all. Particularly when we're passionate.
Think with me for a minute:
Genesis 28:17 says, "And he was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!"
In this case, the gate of heaven was described as “a ladder, set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” [28:12] From earth. To heaven. The house of God is the gate of heaven. Hmmm.
Principle: the house of God is the gate of heaven. It is specifically the means of accessing heaven from earth.
I Corinthians 3:16 (or 6:19) declares that in our day, the house of God [the “temple” of God, the habitation of God] is you. Well, and me. We are – specifically, our bodies are – the temple, the dwelling place of God.
Therefore (and this might stretch you as much as it stretches me): you are a gate of heaven. Note: not a gate “to heaven,” but “of heaven.” There’s a difference.
In Jacob’s vocabulary, there is “a ladder, set up IN YOU, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”
So I’ve been reflecting on what it means that I am a “gate of heaven.”
· For people who don’t have any other access, I am an access point to Heaven.
· I can, myself, access heaven. I can take day trips there. (John 3:13: “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of
” Jesus is announcing that, as early as John 3, he
has taken day trips to heaven.) Man.
· Heaven also has access to earth through you. But (“set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven”) it takes my initiative on Earth to release Heaven.
· If my NT “gate of heaven” is like Jacob’s OT “gate of heaven” (I’m not quite ready to make that as an assumption), then angels have access from heaven to earth, and from earth to heaven through me. One word: Whoa!
If nothing else, this perspective requires that I take seriously my role as a son of the Kingdom, as a “king and priest” [Revelation 1:6 & 5:10] of our God.
I was involved in a conversation today about interpreting prophetic symbols, what does this symbol mean? What does that symbol in a dream mean? When he talks about sheep in Song of Solomon, what’s that a picture of?
I'm kind of changing my worldview on those kinds of things. I used to love to look up all the symbols in a dictionary and solve the problem, kind of like a math problem. I still think those kind of references are valuable (My favorite: http://j.mp/hodYvB), but I have a different paradigm nowadays.
Fundamentally, when I have a dream or a vision or a prophetic word, God is not setting up some sort of IQ test. The Father is the most romantic person in the history of the universe; these are in the language of romance, they’re not puzzles and tricks. His goal is not that I go to a dictionary, but that I come to him; maybe that I bring the dictionary with me and he and I work together on my difficulty with his love language.
So nowadays, when I’m asked, “What does this symbol mean?” I scratch my head. There isn’t a cast-in-stone, never-an-exception answer to any of his images, like there always was in math class. The better question is “What does this symbol mean to you?”
You see, when he speaks to me, we have a language issue complicating the communication between us. English is my native language, but it is NOT his native tongue. His native language (go look at Genesis 1) is creativity. The result of his speaking is galaxies and fishes and waterfalls and provision and purpose. He speaks a language of love.
My wife and I have a language that we don’t share with others. Not even our children understand our love language. When she says, “Ding!” to me, it means something different than when she says “Ding!” to any other person on this planet. (And you don't have a clue what she’s talking about!)
It’s that way with the love language between God and me, too. When he uses an image in our conversation together, it means something personal, something that he may or may not have shared with any other person on this planet.
Sure, he uses a common vocabulary when he’s speaking to the masses (and that’s when the Prophet’s Dictionary is most helpful!), but when he draws my attention to an interesting thing in the news, or a particular number keeps showing up on my digital clock, or I keep having a particular line from a song run through my head… when he’s speaking to me personally, he’s using the love language that he and I have developed in our intimate times together.
That’s clearly an argument in favor of intimate times together, isn’t it? If he’s going to use vocabulary or imagery that is birthed from our intimate relationship, then I won’t know that vocabulary (and in fact, our language may not exist) unless we have time together to develop it. So I’ll understand his mysteries better as we spend time together.
But the other side of it is this: I’m going to stop looking to what your love language says when he’s speaking to me in my love language. In fact, I can’t really go to someone else and say, “God said this to me; what does it mean?” Nobody else has been part of my intimate times with him; nobody else shares my intimate love language with him.
And the final “takeaway” for me in this is pretty basic: this kind of takes away the “spiritual hierarchy” we tend to put people in. His language with me is every bit as valid as his language with anybody else. My intimacy with him is as valuable to him (and more valuable to me!) than Bill Johnson’s intimacy with him, or Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s intimacy with Him. We’re all equal in our intimacy. And we’re all equal in our love languages with God.