I am not sure sure who coined that phrase, but I heard Louie Giglio say it first, so, I think he should get the credit. This “leaning into God’s god-ness” is a concept I have been wrestling with now for about four years. How big is God? How can we adequately know God? Do we experience Him or just glimpses of Him in our world? Think about this, even within the scope of Christianity the things of God can’t be agreed upon. Who is right? Who is wrong? Could we all be both right and wrong? Oh, believe me, I know the typical cliche answer, “Scripture will let us know.” But we can’t even agree when we cite the same stinkin’ Scriptures!! So what could we do about the seemingly endless arguments of religious professionals?
I fully believe that Truth is both absolute and discoverable. I believe the source for filtering our understanding of God is Scripture, but I am not just talking about knowing facts about God. I am talking about really knowing the God of the universe. How can we lean into God’s god-ness? How can we, being finite and sinful, even begin to work our way through the vastness of God, who is eternal and perfect? We can look into the various tribes within Christianity and find neat little packaged lists, creeds, and statements. Yet, these only serve as finite boxes into which we attempt to fit a God that is much bigger than our formulas so that we can wrap our minds around Him. Honestly, I think these “tools” are a tragedy. While being informative of some things, they tend to limit our understanding of God, because most of our energy is spent defending our list or analyzing other lists to determine whose list is better, more accurate, and definitive. The truth is, none of these lists are adequate. In fact, all of these lists combined aren’t sufficient for understanding God. So why is so much time spent teaching and memorizing these lists? Why do they seem to be so strategic and important in our structures?
I don’t know the psychological depths of this phenomenon. I just can’t see how we can actually think reducing Scripture to a list of statements is what God wants from us. Maybe it is rooted in arrogance. Maybe we think because our particular list is more accurate it makes us better and closer to God. Maybe if we think everyone else is wrong, we have a leg up on the competition. I just don’t know, but I think we need to get over ourselves. I think we need to come to the point of embracing the mystery of God. Maybe instead of pursuing facts about God, we should pursue our love-relationship with Him. Maybe it is in that real relationship that truth is fully discovered and embodied in our thinking, actions, and attitude.
I’ll share an interesting thought at this point:
Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion; he came to reveal God. Why? Because God knew if humankind could physically experience who he is, we would want to know him, and knowing him would change us. It worked! The love of God on display in Jesus attracted people like a magnet. Hanging out with Jesus began transforming people’s hearts, way of life, and relationships with others. Jesus was so compelling that people left everything to follow him.
That is, everyone except the religious establishment. The idea that God could be known simply through interacting with Jesus was threatening. Heck, if you could experience God directly, why would you need them and their elaborate system of religious rules and rituals? Maybe God wasn’t so down to…well…Jesus.
From “Wide Open Spaces” by Jim Palmer
So if Jesus is the fullest revelation of God, why can’t our focus be on loving Him? Why can’t we trust the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth? Why do we “need” to force people to agree with our particular list? Why do people have to join our tribe to be “right”? Maybe if churches would begin to actually trust God and take Him at His word, Christ followers could be released into the freedom of really knowing Jesus. Maybe in this freedom we could all discover the depths and riches of truth. Maybe we would be more free to worship and stand in awe of a God we can’t figure out. Maybe we could grow and mature, and not be limited by the mere words of those who have reduced the grandeur of God into a pile of words. Maybe instead of arrogantly standing on the “facts”, we would bow in admiration of a God that inhabits eternity while repenting of our pride.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:7-8, NLT
But, then again, if Christianity moved in this direction, what would be used to bolster the religious systems that have been created? How would funds be elicited and volunteers signed up if people were freed to passionately pursue God on His terms rather than the terms created within the establishment of religion? If people caught a glimpse of this reality, they may chose to walk away from the trappings and guilt trips which have been created over the years. Lovers and pursuers of God don’t need religious systems. We don’t need a professionally trained understanding of the facts. We only need Jesus. This outlook won’t pay the inflated bills of a system that is out of control, but I believe this is what God had in mind for the expansion of His Kingdom on earth.
It is time to let God be God. It is time we begin to lean further into Him. Is He enough for you?