I’ve been mentally digesting two important thoughts today that seem to oppose each other.
Thought number 1 came this morning from the Twitter world. It struck me so soundly, that I typed it into a sticky note on my computer. It’s been staring at me all day.
“Hyper-individualism leads to spiritual homelessness.” -Bevin Ginder
This makes so much sense. I have walked that particular road, although I have also seen God pushing me ever toward interdependence with other believers.
Thought number 2 came this afternoon in class. Ron Smith, the founder of SBS is here teaching the Gospel of John to us. Today, in the first four chapters, he touched on several great things about Jesus, but one that got stuck right in my throat. In John chapter 1 Jesus is baptized. John the baptist (who dunked the Lord himself), says that he saw heaven open and the Spirit descend upon Jesus like a dove. He saw the Spirit, and it was like a dove.
Ron pointed out something that makes the dove particularly unique among birds; their flight pattern is unpredictable…. He connected this to what Jesus says later about the Spirit to Nicodemus in chapter 3, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
When we got to the interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in chapter 4, Ron highlighted how Jesus himself was unpredictable in his words and actions toward this despised half-breed (so the Jews considered Samaritans). How often Jesus shocks the people around him. He also shared a personal story of Jesus being unpredictable in his own life. I have to agree that God has said and done many unexpected things in my life, as well.
It may not be clear to you why the quote from this morning and the idea of the unpredictability of Jesus seem opposed in my head. So I’ll tell you.
When I think of whatever the opposite of individualism is (interdependence?), I think of community. But when I consider the unpredictability of Jesus and admit to you that I feel like God is going to shake things up for me this year, I tend to feel as if this disconnects me from others. God’s leading sent me to Colorado, away from community life in Western Washington. Before that he led me other places, all far away from home.
YWAMers know well what it means to follow God in a last-minute-flying-by-the-seat-of-the-pants way. We experience an unpredictability that is exciting because the God leading us is full of love. He sends us on missions of love.
Even as I type all of this out, I begin to understand a bit better.
Tears came to my eyes today as Ron, with delight in his own eyes, expressed the wild goodness of Jesus. He doesn’t do what any of us expect, but he is always trustworthy and always good. The purposes behind his actions and words are to display God’s glory and to draw us all to his side.
The truth is, I am eagerly listening for God’s guidance, and just as intentionally seeking to be present where I live. The panic I felt earlier today that I could slip into hyper-individualism has subsided with the realization that God, while dove or wind-like, is also intrinsically relational and he will never lead me away from himself.
Haha. So thanks for reading as I work this one out.