Relating to Buzz
I can see that God is not done with me yet. No big surprise there. Yesterday I wrote about being blindsided by a man who seems to thrive on throwing his weight around telling others what they are supposed to be doing every chance he gets. He seems to have little idea of what tact is and has hurt people deeply more than once with his rough ways.
But God seems to be intent on using this man to teach me my own lessons. He uses this man to trigger me in ways that touch some of the sorest areas of my heart. Of course my natural reaction is to become very defensive, to protect my feelings and reputation and to want to point the finger at other people's faults, particularly those of the ones attacking me.
But God is not letting me get by with this. He convicts me very quickly that this is not the example that I am to give of what godliness looks like. And again this morning He addressed this issue from the writings of Oswald Chambers, written decades ago but specifically targeted for this very time in my life.
In the spiritual life beware of walking according to natural affinities. Everyone has natural affinities; some people we like and others we do not like. We must never let those likes and dislikes rule in our Christian life....
The Example Our Lord gives us is not that of a good man, or even of a good Christian, but of God Himself. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect”—show to the other man what God has shown to you; and God will give us ample opportunities in actual life to prove whether we are perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. To be a disciple means that we deliberately identify ourselves with God’s interests in other people. “That ye love one another; as I have loved you,. . .”
The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but Godlikeness: If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics. God’s life in us express itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian is that the supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God, and the experience of this works out in the practical details of life, not in times of communion with God. When we come in contact with things that create a buzz, we find to our amazement that we have power to keep wonderfully poised in the center of it all. (My Utmost for His Highest September 20)
I am praying for a right spirit toward this man. Not just a toleration of his roughness and pride but a genuine compassion and love for him that does not happen naturally in my selfish heart. Obviously this has to occur supernaturally, but then what is the Christian life all about if it is not a supernatural intervention in the life of selfish, defensive, reactive people who go around hurting others while trying to protect themselves from getting hurt?
It might be easy to say, but what I want is to experience this transformation personally and thoroughly no matter what others may choose to do. It matters not if every other person around me chooses to continue to live out a charade or not, I am responsible for living my life in full openness and accountability before God's presence every moment.
When I read here that God will give us ample opportunities in actual life to prove whether we are perfect, it certainly makes me quite uncomfortable. But then, if growing in maturity and spiritually is not forcing me out of my comfort zone then I am likely not really growing, am I.
I did find myself in contact with things that created a buzz a couple days ago. But I can't say that I remained wonderfully poised in the center of it all. I lost it. I retaliated. I allowed this man to get under my skin which is exactly what he was grasping for, and then he could exercise control over me and manipulate my emotions the very way he was hoping to do. And while this might have given him a fleeting sense of power and authority and self-importance, it is likely that such events may be the only way he can achieve momentary times of feeling valuable.
I strongly suspect that this man has very little sense of worth, of value, of being loved and cared for. This is a problem for many of us, but someone in his extreme condition often resorts to radical measures that become quite disruptive to fill the emptiness that they feel inside. The things they try to do to feel more valuable are almost always at the expense of the self-worth of others. They try to control others through shame, through force, through deception and/or through maneuvering themselves into positions of supposed authority so they can dominate over others. This gives them an artificial sense of worth by causing them to feel more important than others by contrast. And if the ones they are suppressing react in anger then they are confirmed that they indeed must be more powerful and important and they experience a short glow of victory and importance.
But in their heart and behind the scenes, I suspect that such persons feel they are really dying inside. Their actions create no bonds of affection with others that can affirm their worth in ways that would really make a difference. They tend to isolate themselves, to alienate their friends and family and so they have to resort to stronger and stronger measures of domination over others to replace the missing relationships that would provide what they really crave deep inside.
Jesus related to such people very different that the defensive way that I tend to do. He saw every person through the eyes of heaven and with the emotions of the very heart of God. And because He had no emptiness of His own, no lack of self-worth, no dependence on those around Him to feel important or valuable, then nothing people said or did to Him could threaten His own secure sense of identity and worth. He did not do good to prove that He could but because He was allowing the presence of God to be manifested through Him in every situation and every relationship. What people saw in His life was a continual revelation of how God felt toward them – Godlikeness.
What Chambers is saying here is that being a Christian is not trying to be good like God. Being a Christian is following the example of Jesus in allowing the responses of God to flash through me, to have the presence of Jesus be my motivating force when I am under attack instead of having my own natural reactions assert themselves. My human reactive nature is never going to achieve the ability to act like God. That is simply impossible. And yet it is the way Christianity has been presented for most people. That is why it is so easy to become confused.
I must learn to become and remain, dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ who lives in me. I must maintain a close connection, an open communion, a vital heart connection with Jesus all the time so that when I am blindsided by some immature, unpredictable person grasping for triggers to set off in me, they will instead be blindsided themselves by a godly reaction they never expected to experience. Instead of having the expected reaction of resentment, anger and attempts to counter-control, they will come face to face with the life of Jesus living inside of a human body and acting very much like God instead of like everyone they are used to seeing.
Father, it's obvious I failed this time quite badly. And my own emptiness still predisposes me to do the same thing again if given opportunities. I ask You to live inside of me so miraculously and so thoroughly that my reactions to such situations will surprise even me. Let the life of Jesus eclipse the natural reactions of my self-protective nature. Live Your life through me in humble and loving responses to every circumstance. I know this is Your will for me and so I ask You to align me with Your will. Fill me with a spirit of openness to You and cause me to be dead to the normal reactions of sinful desires that always stir up inside of me in such situations. Demonstrate the life of Your Son in my life and give me that Spirit every day. Do all of this for Your reputation's sake.