Thursday, November 13, 2008

For The Kingdom

Father, as I contemplate my own thoughts and search my heart for what needs to be said I ask for your Spirit to rise within me so your voice will be heard over mine. It's for your kingdom, Amen.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. God said 'let there be light' and there was light..." (Gen. 1:1-3)

I heard a quote once that said God is so magnificent that even nothing obeys Him. This quote was rooted in this very passage because as we read, the earth was "formless and empty" so God gave commands in order to bring life to "nothingness." I've always thought it was a good quote, but something about it stirred my Spirit the wrong way. As I have thought about it and prayed through it what I have come to believe is that God didn't command "nothing", He commanded the "Spirit of God" which was hovering above the watery abyss. The Spirit obeyed and created everything in which God had asked of it, and, as the story continues, God looks over every creation and deems it to be "good."

The "Spirit of God" often gets negated in many church services. We tend to label it as a "guide" and our "helping hand" throughout life, and I feel like we're doing a disservice to the kingdom when we put the Spirit in such a small box. Looking at passages like the one found in Genesis I don't understand how we can believe that the Spirit is something so small when at the beginning of the world it hovered above all creation. And, not only did it hover above it, it somehow took part within creation.

In the book of Ezekiel when God is speaking to Elijah He tells him that "...I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." (Ezek. 36:26-27)

What an honor. Sometimes I forget the idea that deep within me lives the Spirit of God. The same Spirit which took part in creation, the Spirit which was created within Elijah, the same Spirit which descended upon Jesus, lives inside of me.

A few weeks ago I was with a good friend of mine who said something to me as I was leaving that I still, to this day, cannot get out of my head. He looked at me and said "Adam, change the world."

Change the world.

A phrase with such depth and meaning behind it but is slowly becoming just another Christian euphemism. Anymore, we tend to use this phrase as a benediction after a church service so we get all fired up and make the choice to change the world. What I have come to understand is that my buddy wasn't giving me a benediction, he was giving me a reminder. What he was really saying wasn't "Adam, go change the world", but "Adam, you will change the world."

What I realize is that "changing the world" isn't a choice we need to make, but a choice we need to live with. Everything I do reflects something about who I am, what I believe about God, and how I think about others. The choices I make, the thoughts I entertain can't help but be expressed in my every day actions, and, it's my every day actions that change the world. I don't get to choose whether or not I will change the world, but I do have the responsibility of choosing whether or not my choices will help, or hinder the Kingdom of God.

I carry deep within me a flame. A flame which is given to me by God in hopes that I might take its light into the dark corners of the world. A flame which was given to me in hopes that rather than smoldering it with bad choices might grow brighter with each choice I make that exalts the glory of God. A flame that is given to us to be shared with the world, in hopes that our flame will be so bright it will light those around us.

May we, as a community, choose to use our flames to light up the darkness in the world. May we choose to share the gift which was so graciously bestowed within us in hopes of advancing the Kingdom of God. May we choose to be satisfied with the choices we make, and extend grace toward the choices others choose to make.

You will change the world...