Usually the thoughts that impress me profoundly often come just as I am waking up. However, last night they came in extended form while I was sound asleep interspersed with other dreams. After waking up to continue thinking about them I realized that the ideas themselves were not really new to me but the connections between them were making far more sense at the heart level inside of me.
That for me is very encouraging. I feel like my heart is so slow to understand the wonderful things my head has been learning about God and about reality. For it is not until my heart really grasps and believes these truths that they are going to begin to really make a difference in both my relationships with others, with God and also how I react under surprise pressure. That is one part of my life that I am keenly aware needs to be healed and that still lurks deep inside of me, pockets of vulnerability threatening to discredit everything I have been saying and teaching for years.
What is emerging this morning in my conscious awareness, what is condensing in my heart from the trickles of living water seeping down from my left brain into my right is the significance of the difference between rules and relationships. I have talked about this a lot and pondered and contemplated and mused on it for years now, but somehow it is becoming more clear to me in some mystical way that would be impossible to put into words. I hope that this is a sign that I am starting to grow up a little in maturity and beginning to learn to walk more on an emotional level.
This actually makes me feel very much like a baby trying to learn to stand and walk for the first time. Spiritually I feel like maybe I am starting to stand on wobbly legs while my parents in heaven are smiling and eagerly watching and occasionally holding out steadying fingers for me to hold while the balance circuits in my brain are still learning how to function properly. I still feel a long ways from knowing how to walk very well, but I do feel like maybe some halting baby steps might be in my near future.
Here are a few things that seem to be condensing in my balancing circuits that help to steady my wobbly body as I seek to learn how the rest of the universe transports and conducts itself like I am designed to eventually live.
I was designed to live in a love-bonded, relational mode as my primary “modus operandi”. But the world around me under the counterfeit system designed by Satan operates on a basis of opposite assumptions because it is all rooted in selfishness. That means that the common assumptions about what should be the primary focus of attention is rules, laws, formulas, accumulation of knowledge and force. This creates a fear-bonded world as the preferred motivation for life instead of selfless love and service for the joy and happiness of others.
Now I can quickly see that just putting all of these thoughts into words is already stripping away much of the intensity and depth that they had inside of me and the profoundness that they have when my heart appreciates their true significance. Words themselves have a cheapening effect on the things of the spirit and what I experienced this morning was a spirit growth much more than an intellectual breakthrough. Most of the connections that my heart encountered this morning had already been mulled over by my intellectual side but have not yet gotten very deep into the other side of my brain.
But when my heart did begin to latch on to some of these concepts it was much faster to make connections all over the place to other things sitting in my left brain waiting to be assimilated. As my mind raced from one word or phrase to another that I have explored over the past few years each one of them suddenly took on much greater significance for me. Words such as repentance, forgiveness, grace and other such things now are making more sense to me both intellectually and with my heart intelligence.
The core issue that seems to be emerging, at least as well as my left brain is now attempting to interpret from what it can remember of what my right brain felt this morning, is that one of the main things I must learn in order to live within God's kingdom and design for me is to make relationships the very foundation and the highest priority over everything else. Again, I know this has been talked about all over the place as well as maligned loudly as a heresy in some quarters, but its significance cannot be underestimated.
As I thought about it more I realized that our dependence on rules to create relationships instead of the other way around has derailed religion entirely. Rules are given as crutches to help us learn to walk again after our hearts were crippled by damaging insinuations made about our heavenly Father that created weakness in our spiritual bodies. Rules are like training wheels on a bicycle given to steady us until we learn the fine internal skills needed to balance and coordinate our movements to ride without them. Rules and formulas are the walkers we have to use to while our legs and other parts of our bodies are being repaired and healed and exercised to be used for their original purpose.
God never desired for His children to live for eternity walking around with crutches, walkers, braces or using training wheels. God is in the business of healing us and growing us up into maturity to look and act like Christ. He is in the business of putting together His body on earth with Christ as the head. It occurred to me this morning that just as my physical balancing mechanisms are located in my head that I need to govern all the rest of my body and that enables me to walk, run, ride bikes and do all sorts of exhilarating things, just so the body of Christ of which we are a part must receive the instant feedback from the head to know how to properly function, react and interact with the rest of the body so that Christ's body can begin to heal and operate more like a normal body should be able to. The Holy Spirit is like the nervous system that communicates these instant interactions we need with the Head.
The counterfeit system asserts that the primary focus of our attention needs to be on keeping rules or at least on looking out for and protecting ourselves. It is assumed that if one keeps the rules sufficiently and effectively enough then somehow we will be enabled to have the relationships with others and with God that is needed for living life successfully. Because rule-keeping is given precedence over relationship, all decisions where the two priorities come into conflict automatically defer to the rules instead of the relationship. Rules become the god that we are bound to instead of a personality. Very often the rules restrict and even strangle our relationships instead of cultivating them. We actually sometimes end up having more of a relationship with the rules themselves instead of the mind supposedly behind the rules.
Of course there are many other counterfeit options available that keep us from focusing primarily on a relationship with God and with others first. But all of them have one thing in common – they are rooted in selfishness whether openly or subtly. Even lives that are filled with service and volunteering or religion can often be simply convincing cover-ups for a heart trying to earn value and respect through achievements.
This reminds me of yet another aspect of this that came to me this morning. That is that my identity must be a pre-established fact and my value must be completely based and believed in apart from my achievements and performance if I am to have this relational kind of existence as my primary motivation. The alternative is a constant grasping for value, identity and worth through the things I do, the things I possess or the appearances I can produce with my body, my skills or any other means at my disposal. If I have to carve out my own identity and work to create value for myself in any way, then I am not believing in the value and identity already in place and completely secured for me by God and revealed in the life and death of Jesus. This is one of the core issues of confusion in religion and still creates a great deal of fear and confusion in our hearts.
I cannot say that it is very clear for me even now. Like I was saying, my heart seems to be just grasping this a little more today and I know I have a great way to go to implement it much deeper into my soul. But these are some of the things that my heart latched onto last night and I am delighted with both my heart and my head that I can see signs of growth in my spirit body. Or maybe I am starting to discover a little more of the true identity and capability inside of me that God implanted in me from before I was born.