This morning’s reflection flows out of a conversation I had with a person about “this world is not my home” and his yo-yo struggle between turning towards God and turning towards the world.
This morning’s reflection contains diagrams and is a little more structured than most, however I wanted to make what I was saying more understandable.
Most people have this paradigm and diagram on their life as it relates to God and the World. Allot of churches teaches this diagram. They feel they are caught in the middle between the two pulls of God and the world.
God <-----------Them -------------> World
God <------------Them: At times they feel they move in the direction of God and God is moving close to them. They attend a spiritual weekend or retreat, participate in an amazing prayer or worship gathering, or something else they feel moves them closer to God and in the opposite direction of the world.
Them --------------> World: Then they feel they slip back into the world and its daily life, struggles, and temptations. As the world pulls them towards it, they feel they are being pulled away from God. Moving towards the world they feel necessitates them moving away from God.
God <---------> Them <----------> World: Because of this diagram people have embraced of their life, they live in this constant struggle and strain of the tug-of-war of being pulled into God and being pulled towards the world. Moving towards God requires moving away from the world.
However this diagram is not correct. Nor is it Biblical. The whole movement of God as John 3:16 states and the salvation plan of God in Christmas and the incarnation of Jesus reveals is God moving into the world.
So let me show you what I believe is the correct diagram:
------------> God ------------> :The previous diagram focuses on us. First, take ourselves out of the center and move God into the center were he belongs.
-------------> God -----------> World: Second: the mission of God, the movement of God, and the movement of the church is into the world, not away from it. God did not come into the world to set up sanctuaries, his light hid under a basket separate from the world, but to set up mangers, his light in the world.
Us-------------> God --------------> World: We are to move in the direction of God who is moving into the world. The mission of the church is to join in the Missio Deo, the mission of God which is to reach every nation, tribe and tongue, (Rev. 5:9) with the Gospel and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19). “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:8)
We are called through the means of grace of prayer, searching the Scriptures, fasting, and sharing the Lord’s Supper to move more intimately into God to join in his mission of moving more intimately into the world. If you attend a church service on Sundays, you are moving towards God. If you when you leave you isolate yourself from the world, you are moving against God.
Read the Gospels and look at the examples of Jesus’ life.. Read Philippians 2:5-7. Then pray and reflect over what diagram controls your life. During this season of Christmas where we celebrate the movement of God into the world, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how you can more fully join in this movement of God.
Please share your thoughts and questions below.