Our culture is volatile. Just observe what often happens when a car accident occurs. In our present era of social media, it happens so easily for unintended or accidental incidents to “go viral.” Out come the cell phones. With social media, what might have been a simple local incident fifty years ago, can now incite a passionate global response. We were created by a passionate God to be passionate people. Jesus definitely was. We often refer to His life, death, and resurrection as “the Passion of Christ.”
What happens when our passions are not understood and they incite a wrong response?
I am reminded how often I have almost hit the car in front of me because it suddenly stopped, only for me to eventually realize there was something was in the road I couldn’t originally see. Perhaps it was an animal running across the road or debris that was in the way. The only thing I could see was my coffee cup or purse go flying in my car as I came to an abrupt stop. And I confess… my verbal responses haven’t always been pleasant ones! Similarly, social and political issues most often happen when we aren’t present. And our screens usually only show one perspective and not the whole picture. Yet, because of our human passion, we respond with an instant reaction that can ignite others’ views like a wildfire causing unrest and destruction.
Passionate responses cause disruptions.
In Luke 12:49, Jesus revealed His human nature and the burden of living in our broken world. He was both fully God and fully human and He was passionate to save us. He knew He would be “baptized” in suffering and wished He could just get on with it – be “kindled.” Yet God’s passion for us wouldn’t let Him until all that needed to be fulfilled in prophecy was done. It required Jesus to wait and walk the walk and talk the talk and trust in God’s perfect timing. And, I might add, it wasn’t easy. It required that He bring truth, and the truth is volatile. His passion would bring division. The truth of Jesus brought would pit one against the other – families would be divided because of their inability to see clearly who He was and God’s plan.
Our humanness limits our sight.
Jesus continually spoke clearly but He had to also use stories and ask questions that brought clarity and understanding because the hard truth stopped people. His mission was to enlighten us on God’s plan for our redemption. God saw what had to be done from the inciting incident of sin in the Garden. He knew how to solve the problem because He’s God. Yet, from our blind perspective, we only saw the punishment and not God’s redemptive plan for us. Our “car” (freedom) has been forced to stop and our personal stuff is flying. For those who have allowed themselves to believe in the truth of Jesus and whose eyes have been opened, we see differently.
We don’t have to know “the why” because God sees the why.
Instead of confusion and fear when challenges happen, we’re able to relax in the uncertainty and it’s unnatural. We weren’t at the inciting incident of sin in the Garden of Eden, but we don’t have to be. The Word of God is enough to trust that He’s got us. He sees us when we find ourselves suddenly stopped in our career or in life.
But we must choose.
We can become confused and frustrated when life’s disruptions happen, or choose the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). The difference? Confident rest. There’s a clarity and assurance that permeates our being, knowing that in the unknown and “the wait,” God’s perfect will is ideal, and His vision for us is best when we let Him control our gas petals.
In Luke 12:57-59, Jesus challenged those who were listening to pay attention to the time they were living in. It was the most significant time that had ever happened on Earth. He had come to save us. Today, we even document time as before Christ (BC) and after Christ’s death (AD) because His life, death, and resurrection stopped the clock and then restarted it.
The times we’re living in seem to change at light speed with unintended incidents – stops that we never could have anticipated, but still manage to disrupt our lives. Yet, God never changes. His plans will be accomplished even if they unfortunately divide families and cause disruptive “fires.” Jesus knew He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus was confident in what He had been called to do on Earth by His Father. He willingly and passionately completed His mission, even if it incited division and disruption.
Are you willing to trust God’s plan and perspective for your life even if causes a fire?
What does it really mean to have “influence”? Read this week’s INNER VIEW as Flo Oramasionwu unpacks both the privilege and responsibility of having influence, and how she lives as an “encourager” of others everywhere she goes.
If you were searching for a soulful pop singer with a huge, heart-stopping voice, the Canadian Prairies is likely not the first place you’d start looking. But that’s exactly where Flo got her start. Flo is a multiple award-winning soul/pop artist who captivates with undeniable stage presence in every type of venue from intimate clubs to arenas. She represents encouragement, personal strength, passion, and positivity. Her enduring message of faith and self-empowerment reflects her resolve: to overcome all obstacles and continue to live out her dreams, “I believe this dream is bigger than I am.” Luckily her voice is bigger than her dreams. She is passion in living form and travels into realms of soul that some artists never tap into, and this is only the beginning.
“And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson
Kathleen Cooke: As an award-winning musical artist in Hollywood, what lessons has God recently taught you about who He is?
Flo Oramasionwu: God has taught me that He is personal, present, and REAL! Not just a distant God that our parents, grandparents, and friends teach us about. Not a fictional or past character that was just active in the historical Old/New Testament times. JEHOVAH JIREH has come through for me in so many miraculous ways throughout my journey in LA that my mind is blown! He is not only faithful, but He is also so loving. He does miraculous things through people (even absolute strangers) and circumstances.
He moves and creates the resources to bless, encourage, and keep you going on your journey to ensure that you are on the right path. He’s got your back. He KNOWS you so well. He not only supplies your needs but also provides for your desires and the things that sometimes you think are unnecessary or may feel frivolous. He wants to give you the things that make your heart jump and smile. He truly is our provider. And, when God does it, He does it in beautiful ways.
Kathleen: The music industry is a constant struggle to create more music and get yourself seen. It takes enormous grit and endless determination. What have you learned about setting aside your ambitions and choosing God’s perfect plan for your life and work?
Flo: God has patiently taught me the importance of surrender and not to obsessively strive so much that there’s no room left for Him to drive. In other words, He’s been showing me the beauty of letting Him take hold of the “steering wheel” while I rest in Him and enjoy the beautiful view from the passenger seat.
Ambitious striving to accomplish specific dreams and goals can turn into an idol. It requires trust and faith to let go and leave it in God’s hands. He not only knows best, but His way is so much better than what we could ever try to do on our own. He is so much more efficient than our timing and far more effective than our efforts could ever be.
I personally don’t believe there is anything wrong with aiming for excellence (Daniel and Joseph were men of excellence), or having a vision (David had a vision for building God’s temple and left the blueprints to execute them with his son Solomon) and working towards it. But I do think God wants to eliminate the fear of needing to do everything on our own or else it won’t be completed or get done well. God knows and places the desires we have in our hearts for a reason and a purpose. He created us with gifts and abilities “for such a time as this” (as Mordecai told Esther) in history. He will fulfill the things He has planned for us. There is no need to spin our wheels and strive. God’s got this, and He’s got us!
Kathleen: It takes great faith to set aside yourself and your way for God’s way and choose to trust Him. You make yourself vulnerable and exposed in a world that thrives on self-assurance. What has God taught you about choosing Godly choices? (more…)
In 1843, John C. Fremont, an explorer (and the namesake for the junior high school I attended), set off to explore the unknown once again. He had just returned from an expedition to Wyoming but was driven to see what was then called Oregon Country. He ended up exploring what is now known as Portland, Oregon, but his journey took him through the Sierra Nevada mountains then south and east to the desolate deserts and the Great Salt Lake in what is now known as Utah. However, this passion for exploring almost cost him his life in the Sierra’s where he and his mate, Kit Carson (who would gain fame in Nevada and whose capital city is named after him), were forced to eat their horses to survive. With Kit’s instincts and keen sense of direction, he would be Fremont’s saving guide. Without him, things would have turned out much different. (more…)