Manification

The Quest for Wisdom and Understanding…

Manification-prayer

When we boil away everything that people do in their lives to attain the desires of our hearts. Don’t we all simply seek wisdom? Seek to understand?

Starting with that first time we see a brightly colored toy… Why are we drawn to it, what is it? We seek it out, we touch it. We even taste it trying to figure out just what it is. So, the journey for knowledge begins. As humans, it never stops. Until, on that last day, we finally close our eyes. Even then. Aren’t we probably paying close attention to what happens next? Is there a bright light? Are any of our family there after we pass? Do I see my life pass before me as I go? All, for the sake of understanding.

If you’re like me, we apply our knowledge and understanding to provide comfort and perspective for our life. “I know the reason I got fired.” I coulda, shoulda done that. My degree means that Im fully capable to do this job.” I can do this, I saw the YouTube video. If I cram all week, Ill be ready for the test.

Is it any wonder then, as humans, we apply “our” knowledge and understanding to everything in our life? Especially the things we don’t understand. When we think of situations, good and bad. We view them exclusively from our perspective. “I would have done that differently.” Heres how I handled that. Why did they do that? It would have been simpler, my way. You cant let people do that to you, here’s what I’d do.”

Don’t we also apply this thinking to the world? “That leader is crazy!” Oft times, not working to understand their complete situation, or their comprehension. Instead, we apply our knowledge, to their decisions, and deem them Crazy. Albeit, a lot of decisions are crazy. Like with most of us, the decision probably makes perfect sense to the person making it.

As a Christian, my life has been blessed with God’s wisdom and understanding. However, it seems the more turned over to Him, the less is needed to know and to understand. After all, He is the God of the Universe. His will be done.

Humans use their knowledge to “Manify” everything to help them understand. Have you ever said something like “My computer doesn’t like me”, My phone is in a bad mood, or “this thing has a mind of its own”? Really? Doesn’t our understanding tell us that inanimate objects don’t think or feel? Still, we apply human traits to them. Don’t get me started about how much we do this with animals. Especially with our pets that are “just like one of the family”.

“Manifying” complex issues help us to cope, to “wrap our heads around the problem”. A lot of us enjoy watching the latest space adventures on TV or at the movies. Men and women traveling the universe in search of life. Have you ever noticed that the life we find, looks and acts a lot like us? The best explanation of the “Manification” of adventures in space I’ve heard, came from the creator of Star Trek, Gene Rodenberry. He said he merely wanted to create a Cowboy Western in Space; with Ray Guns instead of six shooters. Simply said, he was taking something very complex and making a clear analogy to a human experience. With that, things like Warp Speed and Food Replicators became more fathomable.

We “Manify” Machines every day. Why? Don’t the robots we see in movies and commercials look and act like Humans? They don’t need to. Go spend some time in a modern manufacturing facility. You’ll see thousands of robots. All shapes and sizes. Not a human form among them. Still, to grasp the concept, we “Manify” them. Usually including eyes, a nose and a mouth that they don’t need nor use.

So too, we “Manify” Christianity. Working to understand God’s teachings, but from our perspective and understanding. We relate to Christian concepts by applying human notions. Not that this is bad. God does this throughout the bible. Much like the first time a child asks their parent where babies come from. God, like most fathers, could explain the entire process, in detail. However, what good would it do; given the comprehension of the child? Isn’t that how, as parents, we end up with stories about Storks, Tooth Fairies and Santa Claus? God loves us, he knows what we can and cannot handle.

The challenge is not when God “Manifies” something. It’s when we, as humans do. “Manification” shows up in how we limit the power and the will of God. We apply our perceptions to His power and abilities.

“That’ll never work.” I dont understand how I could be healed of this? Sure, I pray about it. But money doesn’t grow on trees.” We can’t wrap our heads around a Miracle… so we “Manify” something that is pure God. As Humans, all things are NOT possible. With God, All things ARE possible.

“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28

Letting go and letting God is not about God. He’s got this. Letting go is all about letting go of our Human perceptions and limitations…

Once we find God, seeking wisdom and understanding becomes seeking only Him.

The Key

The Key“Let Go of the Rope!”

Aren’t we all looking for that Key? The Key that unlocks the mysteries of life. That opens the door to an unrestricted existence? One, simple understanding that lifts the burden of obligation? Ah, to never have to balance a checkbook again. Finding that perfect marriage, to that perfect person. Complete acceptance in any social situation. Never again wondering, how I am going to do this or that, or, what do “They” think.

Getting the key is oft times a monumental step, albeit daunting. Dad giving you the key to the family car. The key to that first house. Your boss handing over your first key to a private office, or getting the key to your first business. Or, when you give your car key to your sixteen-year-old. Daunting indeed.

As Christians, we often believe we’ve got it all figured out. Still, we need to balance checkbooks. Relationships can be difficult, and we continue to fall victim to peer pressure. How can that be? Understanding that we are a continual work in progress, life can still be tough. It seems we apply all we learn in Church, yet life continues to punch us in the face.

Not that I have it all figured out. I don’t. God has been working on me for years, bringing me closer to him; farther away from all the stuff of the World. Looking back, I’ve noticed a simple understanding that has filled my life, eliminating a host of hardships.

Do you remember playing “Tug-O-War” as kids? Maybe you still play. It’s been a while for me, but I always loved it. A team effort that looked to be winnable only through brute strength. As our team got better, we realized it was more of a “head” game. All about strategy that took the best advantage of the available strength. Our strategies always included “Psyching” out our opponents before the match. Mainly so that they would start the game doubting their abilities. However, my favorite move was the “fake out”. That glorious move when all at once, our team would give slack in the rope to the other team. Instantly, they would think they “had” us. Usually, the other team would let up at the first sign of a slack in the rope. With a shout, our team would jerk back with everything we had. “Hooking” them like a fish on the line. We won more matches with that move.

You might be wondering what does this have to do with “The Key”? Think of it as an analogy of our walk with God. We start thinking that our “Brute Strength” will get us through everything in life. Then we give our lives to Christ. Do we? Whether we are pulling on the rope; asking God for what we believe we need. Or, those times when we give into God, praying, “Your Will Not Mine”. All the time, ready to yank back on the rope when We believe it’s needed. Isn’t “The Key” to let go of the rope? Truly give it ALL to God.

Through out my life, when I would let go of the rope and let God have it. He has never let me down. When we weren’t sure where the next dollar was coming from. Where we would live? How we would eat? Giving it all to God, He always had our back, without fail. Sure, we weren’t dripping in money, gold and diamonds, but He always provided.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”Matthew 6:33

There was the time I dropped out of High School. Thinking my life was never going to be what I dreamed, scared and frustrated I gave it all to God. Had I not dropped out, I’m not sure that I would have met my bride Kayleen. Certainly, ordered steps into a wonderful, blessed life, with God lighting our path. More recently, when I gave up alcohol and pain pills. On my knees, with the fear of losing everything, I gave it all to God. He not only carried me through. From that day, all desire and thought of using were gone. Wiped out entirely. That is the God factor for me. When you give it completely to Him, it goes away. Completely. So many times, when I have planned things out on my own, holding on to the rope… While things might improve, they were still there. Tempting and taunting me me, pulling back on the rope.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

The Key? Let Go and Let God!

“All Things are Possible” by Dan Peek

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Simple. Love God, Love People!

Love God Love PeopleLove is All You Need!

Growing up, being told What to Do was just about the worst thing for me. After all, what kid likes to be told “clean your plate”, “do your chores” or the worst, “Pick Up Your Room!”?

Is it any wonder that we would push back on something called Commandments? Especially Ten of them. For me, probably like most of my generation, when someone would mention the Ten Commandments, my first thought was always of Charlton Heston. Once I got that picture out of my head and began to focus. All the “Thou’s” and “Shalt’s” would get in the way. Being a casual (lazy) reader, it was so much work, like a different language.

Then, one day, someone introduced me to Matthew 22:37-39. Answering the question “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”. Jesus responded by saying, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ For me, that summed it up in a few, simple words. Jesus was saying… Love God, Love People”. Not a Thee, Thou or Shalt in it! Truly words to live by.

Those four words are the essence of being a Christian. If all of us could only follow those two simple guidelines of love. Like the song says, “What a Wonderful World it would be”.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve come to understand that those simple four words, encompass all ten commandments. “Love God”, covers the first four and “Love People” the final six. Wow! What would Charlton Heston have done with that? Standing on the mountain top with a lot smaller tablet? Certainly, it would have made for a shorter movie. Starting each commandment with Love, instead of Thou, I might have even paid attention.

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s was all about love. While some took it to the extreme with “Free Love”. Most believed it was all about loving one another in the biblical sense. Our culture was permeated with Love. It was in our music with songs like “All You Need is Love”. It was throughout our politics as well. Love was the original basis of the Peace crusade. Sadly, greed and vitriol eventually engulfed the movement. Love was also the core of the Civil Rights protests. Led by Reverend Martin Luther King with statements like “I love you. I would rather die than hate you.”

So often I see today’s protests and think about those days…

One thing is missing. LOVE.

Love Is the ANSWER

“Love Is the Answer” by Rumer

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BEE the TREE

BEE the TREE and the FOREST will TAKE CARE of ITSELF

“…seeing the root of the matter is found in me?” Job 19:28

Bee the Tree -3

Over the last several weeks, Trees, Bees and Metaphors have been saturating my thoughts. It seems God has been helping me to understand His plan for my life through allegories, parables, music and images. I love it! After all; don’t we all enjoy a good story, good music, and good art?

Oft times I recall my favorite communicators of history; Abe Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and of course Jesus. All taught through storytelling with a message. Oh, and the many lessons learned from the poignant lyrics of some of my favorite musicians. Albeit some rather obscure musicians. And from the creation of the world, the stories told through the beauty of art and imagery; are too vast to catalog, recalling the tattered cliché, “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”.

Over the years in my walk with Christ. If I have learned anything, it is the importance of complete submission to God, in ALL things. For some, that might seem like a startling or obsessive idea: complete submission and obedience, to things unknown, and unseen. However, the word of God is not unseen, and for those in harmony with God’s Promise, God is not unknown.

Recently God has led me to write several stories that until today, I thought were mostly unconnected. Such are the ways of God. ALL things are connected, and ALL things work together for good.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28

These unrelated titles; “What Forest?”, “There is Truth in all Things”, “Are You Just A Metaphor?”, and “The Bee, The Brick, The Wall & The Honey”. Each, with their own distinct and separate message. Or so I thought.

Thinking back to where this all started, I believe it was Mother’s Day this year. On this special Sunday, I was looking forward to hearing one of my favorite speakers at Church. In what is becoming a wonderful tradition, our Pastor’s wife, Pastor Ashli Van Horn, takes to the pulpit with powerful, God inspired messages, from a Mother’s perspective. This Mother’s Day was no exception.

As usual, Pastor Ashli was ignited with God’s spirit and delivered an inspirational message. Explaining how, as the Body of Christ, we need to stand together, strong, as a family rooted in Christ. For those that weren’t there, I highly recommend watching the video. Here’s the link to the video, Mothers Day Message, Pastor Ashli Van Horn.

Pastor Ashli used an analogy based on the powerful Sequoia trees of the Sequoia National forest in California. She detailed how these magnificent trees; some that grow as tall as 250 feet, with a circumference of 30 feet, are wholly dependent on each other for stability and support. Ashli went on to explain how these glorious trees, towering so high above the earth, it hurts your neck to see the tops; are connected by an inter-locking Root system so massive, that it is only rivaled by the trees themselves. One look at an imposing Sequoia will easily take your focus off the forest.

The Bee-Honey-Brick-WallLike the Bees that we talked about in “The Bee, The Brick, The Wall & The Honey”, the individual trees take care of one another. Through a complex, shared root system. The massive trees sustain each other by sharing water, nutrients and strength. Who would have thought that the tallest trees on the planet are wholly dependent on the Forest?

At no time, do the trees “fend” for themselves. Can you imagine what might happen if one of these brilliant creations would “take their roots and go home.”? It’s simply not an option. From their fragile beginnings, the sprout’s roots grow and intertwine with all the trees in the forest. The forest of shallow roots permeates the ground below. Forming a root system as massive as the trees themselves. The roots provide unconditional support and strength to every tree in the forest. With the sustenance of the forest, these wondrous, individual trees are completely free to grow and prosper; unhindered by the daily need to acquire the food, water and nourishment needed to survive.

Like the Bees in our earlier story, with each Bee concentrating on the wellbeing of all the bees, the Hive takes care of itself. Gone are all thought of self, and the perceived rewards of serving oneself. The Hive flourishes! So too the Forest prospers as well. The needs of every tree are met by their intertwined roots. As Humans, it is when we become the servant to all, we prosper. As Jesus taught,

“…But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” Mark 10:43-44

Jesus-HumilitySo, as with the Body of Christ, the strength is in the body, or in this case the roots. The tallest trees on the planet find their strength in helping others. Free from the worries of the day and the fight to survive; each tree towers above all others, as does the entire forest. Isn’t this truly God’s design? This design saturates our world. We see it in Bee Hives, Ant Colonies and throughout the Animal world. Was this our sacrifice in Garden? All for the sake of knowledge?

“And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.” – Ezekiel 17:24

I’m reminded of a story from my childhood where a man visited both Heaven and Hell in a dream. He told his wife of his surprise to see the ground of Hell covered with beautiful, ripe fruit of all kinds. Seeing hordes of people walking around, the man noticed that no one had elbows; making it impossible to pick the fruit and eat it with arms that would not bend. Needless to say, there were a lot of hungry faces. As he left Hell and arrived in Heaven, the man was astonished to see almost the exact same scene. Hordes of people with no elbows. A ground covered in beautifully ripe fruit; but with one distinct difference. The people of heaven were picking up the fruit and feeding it to one another.

While reviewing my writing, I am thankful for God’s Divine guidance. It is apparent, not only in content, but also in continuity throughout all the recent stories. We talked about Bees with their “Servants Heart”, and how by serving the hive, all flourished with Gods reward of abundant Honey.  We referenced a Master brick layer’s direction that taught “Focusing on the Brick, the Wall would take care of itself.” Understanding with each individual Bee selflessly working for the benefit of others, the hive would take care of itself. In a story inspired by a song from Stevie Wonder, we established that being honest and truthful was in keeping with God’s word, and an act of Love. We also recognized how being too focused on a specific obstacle, could distract from God’s vision for our lives. As we dug into the World’s view of Christians, we observed how letting others define who we are as a Metaphor, could lead to an understanding based on the Worlds interpretation, not reality. All in all, we recognized the power of God through what Jesus defined as the most important commandments; to Love God with all our heart and to Love others as ourselves.

…“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

love-shoesSure, we all want to be strong individuals. Taking complete care of our loved ones. From birth, men and women alike, are encouraged to “Stand On Our Own”, or to be the “Best We Can Be”. So often, these teachings, like so many from the World, lead us to focus on ourselves. As we talked about “by taking care of the Brick, the Wall will take care of itself.” Doesn’t Christ teach us that the best way to take care of ourselves is by loving others? When we tear down the walls of self and ask Jesus into our hearts, self-dies. As a Christian, the way to be your best, is to take all focus off self and become a servant to all.

Love God, Love People

Bees, trees, bricks, walls, roots and forests. All different ways at looking at God’s divine design. Ultimately describing the same structure.

The body needs selfless individuals, focused on others; so that ALL individuals will prosper, flourish and grow strong. The individual, when stripped of the need to provide essentials for survival, blessed with the unconditional support from the body. Is free to flourish, becoming the best, strongest and tallest individual it can be. All in a body of the strongest and best.

A simple design. God’s simple design that yields God’s divine prosperity for all.

Bee the Tree and the Forest will take care of itself.

“…do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” Romans 11:18

To be a servant it just takes one step. One Drop of Love!

One Drop of Love, By Ray Charles

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What Forest?

It’s Right in Front of You…

We’ve all heard the saying “They can’t see the Forest for the Trees”, understanding this idiom to mean someone is TO close to, or TO focused on the details, to grasp the “Big Picture”. Sometimes, focusing on details is best. Especially when creating something big. For example; in the blog The Bee, Brick, Wall & The Honey, we talked about building a brick wall and how paying close attention to every detail about the brick’s placement, can ensure a better wall. In those situations, focusing on the wall becomes the distraction.

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Equally, there are times when we need to clearly see the “Big Picture”. Taking our focus off of the Tree, so that we can see the splendor and magnificence of the Forest. In my experience, it is with this understanding that God will light a path to success.

After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever know that you are on the right path? Imagine the look on the airline ticket agents face when they ask you, “Where are you going?” and your response is “I don’t know.” That makes it hard to plan a trip.

Typically, if I were writing a modern self-help book, this is where I would I say… The Bible says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”Proverbs 29:18 So, therefore, it’s critical to have a clear, personal vision.

Not so fast. Sadly, that seems to be one of the most Mis-Quoted verses of the Bible. When you dig deeper into the translations it takes on yet, a more powerful meaning. Where there is no revelation” NIV, “When people do not accept divine guidance” NLV, “Where there is no prophetic vision” ESV and “Without guidance from God” CEV are just a few of the translations. Clearly, like most contemporary writing, they left out the most important part, God.

To paraphrase what this verse is truly saying, “Man without God’s Vision Will Perish.”

Back to that magnificent forest. Have you ever walked into an emerald green forest, full of lush trees and bushes, and just thought, wow! Great job God! Sometimes the view can take ones breath away. Then, as you look around, you see that one tree. Tall, majestic, full of leaves with a unique bark that stands out amongst all others. Upon further investigation you see a busy family of squirrels getting ready for the impending winter. Your eyes are quickly drawn to the leaves that have begun to turn from that glorious green to an even more striking red. Your ears, then lead you to see a busy Woodpecker pounding loudly on the tree. It is right there, with that tree, you miss it!

Every tree in that Forest is just as wonderful. Just as full of life, beauty and brilliance. But you miss it.

Unavoidably, it’s what we are focused on that consumes us. We can tell anyone with ears, every minute detail of that tree. Explaining how and why it stands out. Why it is so grand. Dare they ask about the tree next to it, or about the forest? Did anything stick in your memory outside of that tree?

So too is the focus of our life. Ultimately, what we concentrate on, is what we care about, cherish and love. Oft times it’s a job, finances or what others might think. Albeit each one is critical to the comfort and caring of those we love and care for. With such intense emphasis on the specifics of our life; it’s easy to lose sight of the other, beautiful trees in our Forest. Family, Friends and God. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21.

What a quandary. If we take our eyes off the family finances, put less hours in at work or give complete trust to God. Surely, everything we’ve worked so hard for, will fall apart. Still, deep inside, we seem to know what to do. It can’t be that simple; just let go and everything will be fine.

It is this dilemma, priorities; that seem to rip at the core of what it is to be a Christian. So many devout Christians, with a wonderful relationship with Christ, struggle letting go. Like a game of “Tug-Of-War”, sometimes we pull, sometimes we let go, ALL to control the outcome.

Ask yourself… “Am I missing the Forest for the Trees?” As human beings we seem to fail to see one of the most distinct and wonderous beauties of the Forest. It exists, flourishes and grows without Human intervention. Like God takes care of the lilies of the field, He takes care of His beautiful Forests. “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.” Matthew 6:28. God has a purpose and a Vision, for His Forest and that is sufficient. He loves you so much more than the Forest. “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith?” Matthew 6:30.

With God, ALL things are possible. “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23. For me, letting go of the world, and more importantly, my perception that I am in control, is extremely difficult. Like Indiana Jones when he stepped out onto a bridge he couldn’t see, or, when Dorothy threw water on the witch. Surrendering completely to faith in things unseen can be terrifying. It is then, when we need to see the Forest, concentrating on God’s vision for our life, despite the giant tree in front of us.

As you begin that step of faith, always remember….

God’s Got This! & Grace Got You!


Grace Got You by MercyMe

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There is Truth in all Things

Stevie Wonder and Psalms…

I have oft times said, “I’m tempted to listen Stevie Wonder and read Psalms All Day, Every Day.” And anyone that knows me well, knows that I find a lot of God’s guidance for my life in the lyrics of songs. Albeit, at times, from some seemingly obscure musicians and composers.

One of my all-time favorite songs is “As”, by Stevie Wonder. Hidden at the end of the song is a line that I have made part of my daily walk since I first heard it back in 1976.

“Change your words into truths and then change that truth into love”

Truth.png

When I first heard it I thought, what a brilliant concept; speaking truth was an act of love.

After all, isn’t being truthful, showing absolute respect for all that you touch, for all that you love? Like a lot of things in life; being Truthful, can often be a daunting and difficult task. So many times, we’re pulled towards the easy road of deceit and dishonesty. All the while convincing ourselves that a “Little White Lie” is the best. By not telling the truth we are somehow being kind or saving our loved one’s pain.

Sure, blurting out the truth in certain situations can hurt. Is it wise to walk into a room and tell your spouse, “Wow, you’re really putting on weight!”? Is it the truth? Does it hurt? Hurting is not born in Love.

However, being dishonest when your spouse asks if they are putting on weight, can bring its own hurt. Sometimes the question is a plea for help. Your answer is important in response to a request for loving, truthful advice. Do you hide behind the “White Lie” or, do you help?

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

When Jesus said that we should “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31, wasn’t He telling us to put the needs of others above our needs, and to treat others as we want to be treated? Is honesty important to you? Do you want people to lie to you? Even small lies?

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:17

There is Truth in all Things. As Hope is the beginning of Faith and Giving is the root of Love; Truth is the Core of Righteousness.

Dishonesty, on the other hand, is the core of all Sin. From the Garden to today, deceit has been used to hurt and destroy loved ones, relationships, nations and cultures. So many times, dishonesty feels like it can be beneficial. It’s not. We are being deceived into believing that hiding truth, out of love, will increase happiness, wealth and relieve the stress of the world.

It is at those times, when temptation to deceive is strong, cloaked in benevolence, and seems the easy path; we must turn to God for guidance. Shunning all the rational logic rattling through our brain and listening to our Heart. It is there that we will hear that still, quiet voice, leading to Truth and Love; guiding us in the Kingdom of God.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” John 14:16

© Copyright Mark McCuen 2018


“AS” by Stevie Wonder

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Are You Just A Metaphor?

“He’s a Shining Light”,
“She has a Heart of Gold”,
“They are Lambs of God”. Really?

We all use Metaphors every day. Mostly without thought. It’s much easier to draw a comparison; pointing to something that we all recognize. Fusing two unrelated objects together seems to make things easier. Does time fly? Is all the world really a stage? Is he as blind as a Bat? Is there really an 800 lb Gorilla in the room?

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Have we let our belief in God become a Metaphor?

Sure, the bible is replete with metaphors. “We are the clay, and You our potter”, “I am the bread of life” and “God is my rock”, to name but a few. Reading scripture every day, Christians absorb metaphor after metaphor. Is it any wonder that we begin to speak in metaphors as well?

Describing a situation or a person metaphorically is one thing. I oft times think of metaphors like pictures with a thousand words, that bring quick understanding. However, describing our relationship with God, or our beliefs, as a comparison; leaves everything open to interpretation. After all, the intent of using a metaphor is to draw on someone else’s perception. What would it mean to describe, “Her eyes are as Blue as the Ocean”, to someone who has never seen an Ocean?

As a Christian, do you identify yourself as a “Bible Thumper”? A lot of non-believers profess they are one in the same. Are you a “Zealot”? A “Jesus Freak”? How about a “Holy Roller” or a “Shaker”. Most Christians I know wouldn’t self-identify as any of these. Still, theses perceptions cling to Christians. As we read scripture, our Lord Jesus would not allow others to define who he was, and we should follow his lead.
“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “You have said so,” Jesus replied. -Mark 15:2
As Christians, aren’t we taught to become more Christ like? Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. -1 John 2:6

When you hear or read the name Jesus what comes to mind? Is it like hearing the name of a neighbor? Do you remember a face, or time spent together? Or, do you think of our Lord’s teachings? How He walked with unconditional love? The healing, the sacrifice?

By living his life, walking in God, and refusing to be defined by men; didn’t Jesus become a metaphor? If we are living as Jesus did, should we also shun man’s definitions; walking in God, and become a metaphor? Persistently stripping away all labels that we give ourselves; repelling all attempts by others to put us in a box, albeit by their definition.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a personal experience that no label can define. Rather than working to simplify and explain spiritual experiences with something as subjective as a metaphor. Shouldn’t we leave it to an individual experience? Everyone should experience God on their own, intimately, without preconceptions.

In no way am I saying to keep your relationship with Christ secret. Just the opposite. Shout it from the mountains. Shine your light, walk the walk. In LOVE! Show all, what it means to Love God, and to Love People. When someone asks how, or why, you are like you are? Point them to Jesus, the Word, and the Good News!

Let who you are, and what Christ has done for you, shine through. Refrain from being boxed in by metaphors and concepts that men will understand. They will always fall short: victim to preconceptions, and perceptions with man’s inability to grasp the totality of God and His Promise.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. -Psalm 147:5