Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5; 11:1-10
‘There is no avoiding the fact that we live at the mercy of our ideas. This is never more true than with our ideas about God.”
These words, from one of Dallas Willard’s books on prayer, leapt out at me this week. They weren’t the main point, but I couldn’t move past them. I was stunned by how true they are. We are at the mercy of our ideas about God. And oftentimes our ideas about God are more formed by our experience in the world, our wounds & triumphs, our fears and desires than by the revelation of scripture and our experience of God. If we think that God is angry or tired of us, if we think that the world is so disfigured by sin that it is only worthy for destruction, if we think God isn’t able or interested in helping or knowing us, then our lives will be shackled and shaped by those thoughts. Truly, we will be at the mercy of our most merciless thoughts.
I don’t share this to challenge you to control your thoughts or give you permission to beat yourself up. I’m sharing them with you as an invitation into the season of Advent that begins this Sunday. Because all the good news of scripture could be summed up in this one simple statement: God is not who we expect. A life of freedom and wholeness begins when we replace our thinking about God with the revelation of scripture. During Advent, we prepare for the coming of the Lord. We prepare for the birth of our savior, yes. But that is only the beginning. We also prepare and wait and hope for the end of the story–and the end is not what we expect. It’s not destruction, it’s renewal. It’s not rejection, it’s redemption. It’s not suffering, it’s comfort.
We need to replace our ideas about God with the promises of God: weapons into tools of harvest, wolves playing with lambs, desert lands blossoming into life, gladness and joy overtaking us as sorrow and sighing run away. These are not our ideas. No human heart could conceive this goodness. The revelation of God’s truth frees us from merciless ideas and brings us unspeakable peace.
I hope you’ll join me for worship this Sunday at 10 am, in the sanctuary or on the livestream, as we worship and receive the first gift of this season–the peace that comes from replacing our ideas about God with the truth of Christ.
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