My Recovery Journey to Ephesus – Part 1:7-10
As I wrote before, recently, I was challenged to spend time in the Book of Ephesians. So, this time as I read through it, I thought I would keep a journal of sorts on My Recovery Journey to Ephesus
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
Theology is a word we often shy away from. It is big and often represents thoughts that are beyond my understanding. A simple definition would be “the study of the nature of God,” or as one of professors in bible college put, “to think God’s thoughts after Him.” All that still sounds a bit much for me to handle I have to admit. But Theology is important, our personal theology, what we think about God, defines how we live our lives. And I have come to understand that there are two types of theology, there is the theology I say I believe, then there is what I call my “practical theology” this is the theology that is actually seen and lived out in my life. At first one thinks these are the same, but the longer I looked in the mirror I see there is a difference. For example I have for years told people that I believe that God loves me, however, that was a mask, the truth was that I really believed that God tolerated me and was waiting for me to blow it so He could “crack my skull,” how could He love a screw up like me was what I really thought. A lie that I bought into, one that surely effected how lived – my “practical theology.”
One of the lies I had bought into was the thinking that my salvation was an afterthought of God, that it was a “Plan B.” This was certainly nothing I was taught in church or Bible College, the source of this lie I am not completely sure of, most likely the father of lies himself, but my own insecurities and my own fears of failure seemed to perpetuate it. I wonder now how many years I read over these verse and either took them for granted, just never paid attention to them and/or let them slip by without any kind of impact on my life. It is clear from these verses my salvation was not a Plan B and when I stop and look at it logically the truth of that bears out.
If God is all knowing as I believe He is, if God created time and space as I believe He did, then that means He knew about me before I was created, that means that He exists outside of time and is able to see my life from beginning to end at once. In fact it means that He sees all of creation from beginning to end all at once. God is not contained in my linear timeline, He exist beyond it and interacts with it, but not contained by it. This being said, when He decided to speak creation into existence He was not surprised by the Fall of Adam, He knew it would happen. He fully knew that He would have to come to Earth in the form of a man, Jesus Christ, and sacrifice Himself for man to have the relationship with Him that He desired to have. Even before He spoke creation into existence, He knew Jesus would have to come and die. Jesus coming to earth as babe, His life, His death on the cross, His resurrection and eventually His second coming was the plan all along. It wasn’t as if God had to come up with a make shift plan because what He had desired was thwarted, no it was the plan all along!
What really excites me about these verses is when it says “we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!” Abundantly free, abundantly free. This speaks against one of those lies I bought into, I had thought I had barely made it, “barely free,” but I am starting to understand that the grace and love of God is so big, so massive that being set free by God is not a “barely” thing, it is an abundant thing. His love, His grace, His mercy, His peace, His freedom is overflowing, more than enough, it is abundant. And to be honest I am not sure what that means. I know this though, it is not something I can measure, it is something I have to experience.
About two and half years ago, I was sitting at our CR Celebration Service and felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to just stop signing and sit quietly while all of those around me were worshipping. As I sat there meditating on God, I felt as if He was saying to me, “Tim, the God you are worshipping is not who I am.” I felt that what He was saying to me was that I have misunderstood His nature, that there are characteristics of who He is that I just do not know nor do I understand.
It is like standing on the beach and looking at the ocean, beautiful yes, amazing for sure, but by standing on the beach do I know the ocean? I certainly can see it and how big it is, I can hear it moving, I can taste a bit of it in the air and, if I allow myself, my toes might even know its temperature when I get close enough to let a wave touch them. But, do I know the ocean from just standing on the shore?
I may know “about” the ocean from what I can observe from the safety of the shore, but I don’t know the ocean and its power until get out into it and experience it, until my body feels the force of the swells and waves. I don’t know the ocean until the temperature surrounds all of my body not just my toes. From the shore I can know about the ocean, but until I get into it, I cannot “know” it. This is the challenge I felt God was saying to me two and half years ago, “Tim, get to know me. Get intimate with me. I am not who you think I am.”
So here is to learning how to body surf with God.
Tim, Assimilation Coach CR Fellowship Bible
For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or firstname.lastname@example.org