All aspects of Creation were declared by God to be good. But when man inhaled God’s breath for the very first time, God declared him to be very good. Those two words, ‘very good’ spoken by the Creator of the Universe weigh a tad more than, say, my declaration of ‘very good’ in response to one of Sue’s amazing meals. They were the modern day equivalent of the ubiquitous American, ‘Awesome!’ or the equally ubiquitous British, ‘Brilliant,’ but amped up past the nth degree to the ∞th degree. Since the first day those most powerful words were uttered, God has continued to see you and me (humanity) as the pinnacle of all His Creation, beautiful, flawless in design, tragically broken, given to destructive and evil tendencies, yet still so incredibly, gloriously, heartbreakingly lovable as to be forever worth the death of His Son as the way to restore to Eden’s Shalom between Himself and all of us.
Here’s the tragedy: the ‘glorious creation’ part of us, that which God sees every time He looks at us, and the redeemed-in-Jesus part of us, that which God sees every time He pictures us, is like one of my early, out of focus, very blurry, pictures. We don’t see ourselves as God sees us! Many of us, if not most of us, are secretly convinced we carry a fatal blemish, an irreparable scar, rendering us, according to our own reckoning, permanently unworthy of God’s love and acceptance. Our culture feeds us lies, grooming us to focus on our ‘nots’ and not our ‘haves’ to the point we are all vulnerable to messages of our lack, our need to fix our flaws, to lose weight, to build larger muscles, to surgically re-shape our bodies, to earn more degrees, to rise to the top, to become rich or famous or notable or unforgettable, sometimes no matter the cost to us or those around us. Worse still, global events, constant news feeds, social media input, incessant local and national issues, all combine to loudly demand more of our attention than does the love of the Father for us. No small wonder we are unfocused.
As Jesus taught and demonstrated the single theme of his mission, there was constant tension to hear Jesus’ one message while the disciples were overlaying the multiplicity their other concerns on top. Of course, of top priority for disciples, was the ending of the Roman occupation and the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. For Jesus, it was the ending of sin’s domination and the restoration of full fellowship with the Father. If we, today, have competing priorities muddying the waters, maybe we should consider jettisoning the raucous competition in order to hear the still small voice of the Spirit. One single-focused aim for our journey to the Father’s heart? Sounds glorious! PD