MP3: The Life of God #4 - The God who Gives to Give - John 17:2 (30mins)
A Christian who doesn't look weak is faking it. Last week we recognised a new church elder and in being introduced to the church he shared that he struggles with anxiety. Jesus says, don't worry because your Father in heaven cares for you. But this leader struggles with Anxiety.
A Christian who doesn't look weak is faking it. I don't struggle there. I struggle with friendliness, relational sin. I don't make a good friend impression though I warm up in the end. I struggle to be interested in others.
This is because of our sin, this is because of the gods we worship. And we become like what we worship.
Everyone worships - not everyone calls what they worship "god" but we all give our hearts to something or someone. Many of us worship celebrity. Or we cast God like a celebrity...
We worship celebrity.
Celebrity is rich.
Celebrity is beautiful.
Celebrity is impressive.
Celebrity is disinterested in us.
We become like what we worship.
We don't become rich and beautiful.
We pick up the characteristics and personality we experience.
We try to impress people rather than admitting weakness.
We become disinterested in others.
We become those who take rather than give.
Our gods destroys us relationally.
Relationship becomes more like fact finding than friendship - catch up on a student's summer on facebook instead of over a meal? People struggle with porn because life becomes about pixels more than personality. Taking more than giving. Perhaps the real issue is prayerlessness not porn, lack of relationship with God??
Hear Jesus and you see something different. Relationship, flowing with life.
The Father gives authority to the Son. Authority seems bad but is good - think of good teachers, the doctor who can prescribe to you, the police who protect you. Yet, it's abused - and my first experience of leadership was abusing others as a leader in the scouts... bitter at being overlooked I led as a bully. I wasn't a Christian, I didn't have the Holy Spirit... thankfully I'm being changed but it's an ongoing battle to love people well. Father gives authority - he gives and gives.
And you might want to take him aside and warn him of the risks and folly of giving away authority - but he says... look at my Son, who only does what he sees me doing, who trusts me, who gives himself even to death... who thirsts to quench the weak.
The Father gives people to the Son. I'm a Dad of boys. Having boys is different to having girls - I observe from church Dads and in the community Dad's group. Christian Dad's want their kids to become Christ-followers... but after that Dad's of daughters are concerned for the occasion when a lad will come in and ask permission to marry her... they banter about pinning him to the wall and grilling him... but it's because everything in their Fathering leads to that day when they give her away to another man.
Call it traditionalism but it's written into reality... similarly that conversation is significant because a few months later he'll walk her down the aisle and the official will say "Who gives this woman to marry this man" - he wont ask me if it's my boy getting married, just the Father-of-the-bride.
God the Father takes the role of "Father of the Bride" giving the church to Jesus. The Bible calls it election...
And we're given to the Son who has authority - authority to give eternal life... which is to say, to give himself and relationship with his Father to people. And John tells us this isn't given to those with the right heritage, family, class etc. Nor for those who choose rightly. It's for all who will receive Jesus.
Do you receive? To start following Jesus - and to keep following.
Receiving from Christ is the A-Z of Christianity.
It's the answer to my unfriendliness - to see that I'm received by this weak God who gives himself to me...
It's the answer to anxiety - to know that the Father truly cares, so much that he gives. And it transforms a community to love, to know Christ giving through us to one another.
The Father gives to the Son, the Son to people, people to more people.
The God who gives to give.
Over to you? What do you make of this authority? How does God shape you? What does weakness look like for you?