Authentic Christianity

Finding God Unconventionally

Posted by jimgrier on February 28, 2015

At 42 I was divorced wondering, as King Theodyn of Rohan does in “The Lord of The Rings” “Gamli! How did it come to this?”

At sixteen I became a Christian when I walked forward at a Maranatha concert during an invitation to accept Christ.  I started out turbo charged, like a lot of do, and then the same old traps got  hold of me, my faith collapsed and I wound up running from life and God like a pinball for the next 35 years.  There were times I got it together and returned to my faith but always in the back of my mind the same man with the same problems lurked, always waiting to sabotage any joy I had or plummet me back into the same rat race of frustration called life.  Now I was two times divorced, lonelier than ever and it seemed farther away from God than ever.  What was the problem? I wanted God of course, I knew I was on the wrong track and I certainly knew in my sprit something was desperately wrong.

I had for years been trying to approach God on my own terms.  I didn’t even know it.  I thought if I read enough Bible, attended church and taught accurately about Jesus I would be ok.  I was sorely mistaken.

This problem with “going to God on our own terms" is the same as the problem in the garden.  God is not sufficient enough. While the nuances may be different between each of us the symptoms are the same.  We’re big on the grace of God part, we accept His forgiveness I mean that’s great news but then we conduct our relationship with him like a broken marriage.  What's a broken marriage looks like?   It’s lacks authenticity, it conceals true feelings and emotion, it’s avoids transparency and honesty and like false faith covered with religious lipstick, its like putting makeup on a pig!  It’s incapable of intimacy because intimacy requires all the above.  This seems to explain the life of the average Christian.

So God, knowing in my heart I wanted more did me the best favor He could…He allowed all of it to collapse.  He allowed brokenness to eclipse my life in such a way the only remedy that made sense was refuge in Him.  When He got my attention, the  “journey to God on my own terms” seemed so distasteful to continue with, I was ready for anything better rather than a continued lack of authenticity.

What God did was force to the surface entrenched perspectives from the past that I had never relinquished or even thought He was interested in transforming. He did this by showing the reality of His presence in a way I had never perceived before.  He made Himself known by redirecting my priorities.  Oh, He was always there before, I just wasn’t seeing Him because when I sought him, If I look at it honestly it was on my terms.  He got my seconds, not my priorities. I fell into the trap of "cheap grace." All those hours between Sundays were my own, He had nothing to do with them.  He wasn’t looking for my sacrifice; He was looking for my heart.

God doesn’t want our Sundays, He owns them already, He doesn’t want our intelligence, (His thoughts are higher than ours) and he doesn’t need our works.  He does His work in a heart that gratefully responds to Him for who He is and what He’s done.  "True gratefulness is an expression of thanks that results in loyalty and love to the object of it’s gratitude."  Like marriage, God wants a relationship that has that depth of love as the foundation.  Gratefulness towards God changes our lives completely in a process of transformation that makes a difference between who we were, are now and who we are becoming in Christ.  God often uses the mechanism of brokenness to get the attention of His children.  He certainly did for me and for many of the men who would become my comrades experienced a similar journey.  If you are inclined to read more of “my story” you can read about it more in the book “Why Men Kill” and hopefully in a way that occasionally puts a smile on your face.  I had to learn in the midst of a trial the trials are a sideshow. They are crucibles and proving grounds of becoming something better in Christ.  We got a new earth coming our way as all do in Christ, and it’s going to be better than anything you or I can imagine!  Let’s get busy while we are waiting… to stop at the well and have some discussions that are authentic making sure they always point to our own authentic walk which points to Christ .

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