Kingdom Principle: There is no right answer to advance the Kingdom – just righteousness.
Key Words: Obedience, Listening, Purpose, Values
Most of us want God to tell us the right answer, yet it never seems to come. Most of us know people who always seem to have the right answer, yet we don’t want it… Make a list right now of the 10-12 people in your life that you hear their voice (either good or bad) as you make decisions. Are they doors, walls or mirrors? The doors provide guidance and give direction. The walls create obstacles both emotionally and physically. The mirrors are those who help you see yourself as you are. However, Jesus is the only true door, and many find themselves surrounded by walls or walls pretending to be doors.
Here’s what I mean: If we know the right “answer” and we attempt to “control” another person by convincing them that the answer we have is right – we are acting as a wall. If we know the right “answer” and we hope to “lead” another person through change in the discovery of that answer then we are acting as a mirror. (It’s one thing to be told you are beautiful. Quite another to look in the mirror to discover you are beautiful.) If we know the right “answer” and we attempt to clear the way so that others can get there as we did, while it is not control, it is playing the role of God in their life. (Trying to convince someone they are beautiful, by pointing out all the things about them that are beautiful, rarely convinces the doubter that they are in fact beautiful.)
(skip this paragraph if your in a hurry) I have had numerous conversations about infant baptism regarding parents who don’t want to baptize their children as babies, because they want their child to have the same experience they had when they were baptized as an adult. Most often their answers stem from either the fact that they rejected God at some point in their life, then returned to be baptized or their adult baptism was a reality of discovering of God later in life. My reply to them, “If you want your child to have the same experience as you did –in baptism- please remove them from the Church, guide them to make the same mistakes you made, then let the Lord draw them back later to be baptized. But if you are going to raise them in the church, creating an environment where all of their life they know that Jesus loves them and has chosen them regardless of their own good or bad decisions then their adult baptism will not be like yours.” There is no way that they can have the same dramatic experience that you had as an adult unless you hope, expect or plan for them to fall away from Jesus only to discover later after making major mistakes that God does love them. This reflection has nothing to do with baptism as an infant or adult, rather about how to pass-on our values to others (including one’s children.)
Recap last week – leaders, lead people into change. Regardless of who we lead, our children or people at work, anyone who is yet to know the King intimately and to fully discover their God given missional purpose, needs another to lead them to this discovery. If this leadership is a controlled environment, where the leader has the answer, and the follower is constantly trying to find it, the leader is a wall, or trying to be the door. (This poses a great challenge for most parents) A leader as a mirror is willing to be present in someone’s life allowing there to be room for success and failure, where each person discovers more about themselves in the process.
Joshua was a mirror to the Israelites – asking whom will you choose to serve, helping them to see that their actions were not aligned with their attitudes toward God. God removed Abraham from his home land and create a door, that did not exist, then led him as a mirror through the up’s and down’s of life. The Lord speaks in parables to create a mirror-like experience and in this parable – the Virgins with oil in their lamp acted as a mirror to those without, not attempting to be the door, nor a wall – rather reflecting the reality of their situation.
The focus this week is about looking at those around you, before you attempt to make any change in your life. This is not to blame others, only to “mirror” of what is your current reality of relationships around you. Which people always tell you “No” or discourage you from following your dreams. Which people tend to have the answer for you – These are people who can improve your life, or tell you “if you would only do _____ things would be better”. For each of these people, don’t be a wall in return, or a door that tells them how to fix their life, but realize that they are not truly helping you discover intimacy with the King or your personal compass for life.
Which of the people in your life are willing to listen, and reflect with objectivity? These people are not quick to judge or predict an outcome of your actions. They can walk with you through a door or let you bounce off a wall, even if they had a better answer. Mirrors reflect what “is” rather than trying to improve what is broken or predicting what is next. (Obviously it is a temptation for me to be a door, but if I am in your life – don’t let me.) In the Kingdom of God, we are called to be image bearer’s of the King, to reflect His Glory. This reflection is seen as righteousness, not right answers or actions. We can learn to reflect the King’s Glory by being a mirror in other people’s life, in this His righteousness will be passed from our lives to those around us.
If you have too many walls in your life – learn to put up mirrors…. As a Kingdom leader – learn to be a mirror in someone else’s life. Can you listen to another without giving an answer? Can you help someone discover they have the answer in them – without telling them what it is…? Attempt to sit in silence with God and let Him reflect you – what do you see, what do you want to see?