For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Obedient Tree Climbing

Last week I told you about my conversation with God about Zacchaeus and climbing a tree. I admitted at that moment I would not have climbed the tree. This morning John Perron and I have been discussing that statement, and he brought up some really important things that need to be addressed and made clear.

First, when the Lord asked me if I would climb the tree, it was not God Almighty telling me to climb the tree. It was a question between friends. "So, let's say Jesus is coming into town, and if you climb this tree, you might see Him. No guarantees, but you might. Would you climb the tree?"

Long conversation summarized, "No. I don't think I would because here is the thing. You and the kids are all I have. I don't have anyone but you, and right now, we feel a million miles apart, and I don't know why. I have climbed every metaphorical tree I know to climb. I have sincerely tried to find you, and I feel like that isn't happening, so right now at this moment, if I climbed that tree hoping to find you and didn't, I would be crushed."

That is where I was at that moment, and no God wasn't mad. He didn't respond with wrath. Instead, He kept talking, kept asking questions and answering them. Like I told John, He was never harsh. It was more like, "I know this is where you are, but this is not us, and it isn't okay." And it wasn't "not okay" because His ego was hurt or because He is God and who did I think I was mouthing to God? It wasn't okay but that really isn't who we are. We have such intense intimacy, and something had gone wrong, which led to that point. That statement wasn't the problem. That statement was caused by the problem, and that was not okay.

Now, after really great conversation and understanding, we are back to being us, only better.

But John brought up another interpretation of the question and answer that needs to be addressed.

He interpreted it as God saying, "Will you climb the tree if I tell you to?" and I replied, "No. I wouldn't."

Y'all, that is blatant rebellion. That is stepping onto the slippery slope of apostasy. It may not look like a big deal, but any time a person knows the absolute will of God and refuses it, they have just broken faith. They have chosen to turn their hearts to stone (Isaiah), and they have become "stiff-necked", stubborn and unwilling to be led. Until a person repents of that, the relationship with God suffers in huge ways.

Before anyone throws this out, yes, the Bible says nothing can separate us from the love of God. Of course He loves us. He loved us while we were His enemies. John 3:16 says He loved us so much He sent Jesus to die for us so we could choose a relationship with Him and have everlasting life. Please see the obvious here. His love does not save us. Our choice to put our faith in Jesus and serve Him saves us. Our choice to have faith is what allows the relationship in which Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit can lead us. When we choose to ignore God's commands and the Spirit's leading, we damage the relationship. How can He be God to someone who won't serve Him? How can the Spirit lead someone who ignores Him?

When God says to climb a tree, the answer is always, "Yes." Period. How I feel or what I think is utterly irrelevant. The only thing relevant is my relationship with God. The only thing relevant is HE IS GOD.

John said it was put upon him to say to the group last week, "Don't ever tell me you won't climb a tree." I totally agree with that. At one time, I used absolutes, but I have learned absolutes are really pride, arrogance, and the determination to have my way. None of that has any place in a Christian.

Don't misunderstand. I still have my desires and my opinions and the way I want things to go, but I have learned not to say I "won't" or "would never" or any such form. I have on many occasions said, "The only way I would do that is if God said I have to," and sometimes He does, so I do. That is the reality of serving God.

Like I told John this morning, we need to be reminded we are servants, not entitled.

Being a Christian isn't a potluck dinner where we get to pick and choose what we want and what we'll do. We are the bride of Christ. How many people think a husband or wife has the right to all the privileges of being a spouse (shared income, housing, friendship, intimacy, sex) until something else comes along that piques their interest or hormones and if that happens, they can just set aside that "spouse" title to sleep with whomever or dishonor their supposed loved one in conversation with friends or just flat ignore them because they aren't convenient? Where in the marriage vows are we given the right to step in and out of the sacred covenant we make as a spouse because we don't like the responsibility or we want to do something totally selfish that breaks the covenant? That kind of thinking totally offends the typical Christian, or at least it should. So why is the mindset that it is okay to step in and out of covenant with God depending on what is convenient, easy, and serves us so prevalent?

See, when God tells you to climb a tree so you can get close to Him, He is telling you, "I'm your beloved. This is what it takes to deepen our relationship," and as the bride, your answer is always, "That is what I want. Deeper relationship with you."

Frankly, if you can say anything else, you need to have a long talk with Him about your commitment to the relationship, and you need to get some things straightened out because obedience should never be considered optional no matter how high the tree is you have to climb.

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