Chuck Away Those Old Glasses
by Lyn Packer
I have had my theology challenged lately and oh it is good. The result of that challenge has been like getting new glasses after seeing for so long with blurred lenses that are an old prescription. We see and understand from such a limited perspective. A lot of our theological understanding comes from things we have heard preached, picked up by osmosis along the way or have studied for ourselves. The trouble is when it comes to God and even theology we only see through the lenses of our current theological grid. Things can be 'hidden in plain sight' in scripture but because we have been taught to see something from a certain perspective we don't see that there could be another perspective. Or even, that maybe our current understanding is wrong.
Then along comes God and He challenges what you or I believe. What we do with that challenge is vitally important. That challenge can come in many forms and God is not afraid to use circumstances we face to challenge what we believe about him or his word. What are our options when God challenges us and do we always choose the right one?
Option 1 - Ignore the challenge. Sometimes God comes and challenges us and we choose to ignore the challenge. Why? It could be we think there is nothing wrong with our theology, that what we believe now is true and is right. Or it could be that we don't recognize that we see in part and do not know all truth about anything. So it is easy to push the challenge away or even apply it to someone else we know.
Option 2 – Treat the challenge superficially or apathetically. God challenges us and we may even recognize we might not be 100% right but we don't or won't search out the truth. We have many justifications for doing this but each one comes down in the end to pride, passivity or apathy. We will rationalize and defend our passivity too. We may think – Its not like I'm going to find out I'm not saved or something like that, so it's not vital. So we choose to live on the poverty line of revelation and understanding.
Option 3 – Find an excuse to not to let the challenge change us. We may agree in principle to the new update God has given us but that's where it stays – as a concept and principle. It is easy to give assent with our minds to something but we must let our theology change us, we must live it out. Updated theology should radically affect everything and will often have a domino effect challenging and toppling other wrong beliefs as well.
Option 4 – Admit that we are challenged and let the challenge change us to a certain level – usually to the level of our rights – for example – I may believe I have the right to live comfortably and with ease so no I won't answer that call to serve on the mission field, but I will support them financially. If I ignore it maybe it will go away – usually it does too and unfortunately we stay in the place of unbelief and fear. At this point also it is all too easy to use excuses – maybe we hide behind our kids or our job or even what our Pastor believes and we don't want the boat rocked so we do nothing.
Option 5 – Allow the challenge to do its work in us. This is where we recognize that God is at work and is challenging us for a reason – that the image of Christ may fully formed in us. In this option we are willing to hold loosely what we have believed and allow God to challenge it, shake it, sift it and let the wind blow away what is chaff. In this place we are willing to allow ourselves to feel uncomfortable while still trusting that he knows what he is doing and why. It is a place of surrender, a place that while not necessarily easy to be in is absolutely necessary if we are to move into greater revelation.
This is a season of many challenges for the church. Finances, confidence, mind sets, theology; it is a season where everything that can be shaken is being shaken. What a glorious time it is – God is challenging us and we are getting to see the truth about where we stand. For many, if not all of us, we are discovering that we don't trust God as much as we thought, we don't believe him as much as we ought to and largely, we don't really experience the reality of what we believe. Oh the wonderful grace of God in revealing these things to us.
The devil would have us believe that these times are like they are because God is judging us yet the truth is far from that. In these challenging times the whisper from heaven is – "Come closer, come and see the real me, come, see and experience the reality of who I am. And when you see me as I truly am, everything will change. You will see your challenges from a new perspective, you will see the answers I have for those challenges and faith will rise in your heart, so that what you believe and what you see may be manifested in your realm."
God is challenging our theology especially in this season – what we believe about him, what we believe about his word, his kingdom and so much more. Let him do it, let him challenge your theology. In doing so you will come out the other side with a wonderfully updated view of God that will change your world. Allowing God to update your theology in this season is vital. The church worldwide is undergoing a reformation that at it's culmination will dwarf any other that has been before. Out of that reformation the Bride will arise in all her glory, pure and spotless, rightly displaying the character, love and power of God, releasing heaven into earth everywhere she goes.
Letting God change you in this season is not only essential on a personal level but it makes you a part of the pioneering work of birthing reformation. That's how big this is, it's not just about you maturing it's way bigger than that; it's about the Church becoming who she was created to be.
Bring on the change, I say! Challenge our theology God, change it and change us!