Jesus wants to wear us. Each of us is a unique pleasant garment, He desires, and takes pleasure in showing off! This is about The Father’s pleasure in His Own creations–us, in this case! Who are we, to not allow God to wear us?
Ministry from who we truly are, keeps us from becoming propaganda for Christ, and helps us to become living testimonies of His Life on earth. I knew you, God says to David, therefore, i called you. It is the same thing He said to Jeremiah, the prophet. I knit you together in your mother’s womb, therefore I called you to a particularly shaped path of expression or living. God wants us to be ourselves, in living and in ministering or bearing witness to His Life. We wear Christ in this sense, and He wears us!
Because my sword (personal spiritual authority) has such an emphasis on identity and authentic spirituality and expression, i often get annoyed by traditional evangelism which can be a bit formulaic, or programatic without recognizing the uniqueness of the person’s spirituality who is “doing” the evangelizing. Older forms of evangelism, often don’t honor identity or really allow Christ to come through the authentic gifts of each person, including their personality. Paul was a different person and had a different spirituality than Peter. God called and used them in unique ways, based on who He made them to be. God knew Jeremiah’s identity, therefore, He called him to particular activities on earth.
At times, the church’s form of traditional evangelism is a bit like saying, just carry the sword of the Spirit or just be a child of God, without exploring deeper into the particulars of your sword and the specifics of your true identity in Christ. It stops short-when we are commanded to press on into maturity of The Father, and to be becoming the specific sons and daughters of God that we are! The mystery of identity is a huge aspect of who The Father is! Every snowflake is unique, as they say! Jesus asks-who do they say I am? Knowing the unique identity of Jesus is the most important thing to know in the universe! The Father, also emphasizes His Own Identity as, I am, and therefore He creates expressions from that core identity! We are part of the expression flowing from God’s Identity! What we do, flows from who we are. Both Jesus and The Father know who they are, and everything else flows from their identity! So identity matters to God even in our own ministries. God knows Himself, and we should know ourselves in Him to have authentic expressions of His Life flowing out through us-whether in our art or our ministries!
I remember in seminary talking to a professor who was training missionaries. He was a great teacher, and said to me, “You know the problem with traditional missions is that people open coffee shops, who don’t like coffee”. That about sums it up for me. If we are going to be authentic witnesses of the Life of Christ on earth, we need to be ourselves. I knew you, therefore I called you–true ministry flows out of true identity. We do from who we are. That speaks of His Oneness and integration, and when we have authentic lives, we are bearing witness to His ability to make us also one, or integrated in Christ!
In the traditional models, christian artists for instance, were often asked to make the primary focus or purpose of their art to present the gospel. The authentic voice of the particular artist is sublimated to the cause. I find this to be like propaganda, and also a very broken portrayal of God as coming through His particular creatures. Jesus called each disciple in unique ways, according to how they were made. Each had a unique first encounter with Him based on their personality and style of being. Still, i understand that it is authentic for some people to sublimate everything to the action of telling the gospel. But I think we are called to just live out the gospel from our authentic selves, and unique lifestyles, and that this is what God uses as His “track” to tell the world about Himself. Authentic identity is itself a testimony to a living Creator! As is true artistic expression coming from an authentic relationship or dialogue with God. If the person is in communion with God, their art will reflect this and tell His Story. We should not “flatten” out our art to carry the gospel information, we should be “in” the gospel of His Being, and allow our art to flow out from out intimate and living relationship with Christ! Then we are freed up to just make art.
Recently I spoke with a girl in Poland who had become a Christian, and was struggling with whether it was ok for her to just keep making art, or whether she needed to make it religious or overtly evangelistic. I felt like God wanted to tell her that her art was a priestly act before Him. That He loved her creating before Him, and whatever expressions came from that relationships were holy, whether or not they were overly about Jesus. To allow her art to flow out of who she was, and her passions and struggles, pleased God, and He would use it for others, as He saw fit.
Francis Shaeffer taught, that creativity was part of our humanness, and therefore, to create was reflecting who our God is, in making us human. We are created in His Image, and when He is allowed back into the center of that image, we can create and minister in the freedom and joy of our own personalities and styles! Having our imaginations baptized into His Life, we are free to make art out of our relationship with Christ. We are freed to be, and therefore freed to create and express authentically! Lord baptize our imaginations more deeply into Your Life! So we can be free to express from who we truly are, in You! Come celebrate Yourself, Lord, through how you are uniquely made us to be!
There is this other point–God is One, therefore His art flows from His identity, and therefore reflects who He is. It is to be the same for us, on a smaller scale. So that when we create authentic art, we are reflecting the Oneness of God. That in itself is a testimony to the world about who God is, and how He can make us integrated and more one. We then become His living signs or symbols, as David said of himself.
I do also think there are generations of His Purposes. And in this particular generation, authentic expression or lifestyle is one of the ways He is presenting the gospel. You now often hear talk of living missionally, or lifestyle missions–this is in the right direction. Perhaps, this is one part of the gospel of His Kingdom, when His emphasis is not just on the gospel information, but on the gospel incarnation–a greater incarnation of the Reality of Jesus in our lives. So our whole lives become a living testimony imbued with The Living God, through the Life of His Son in and through us! Let His Kingdom come here through us, as it is in heaven!
I once had a vision, that this season on earth was primarily about a deeper incarnation of Christ–to be more deeply baptized into His Name, or His Identity. And that since the Reformation, this process had sped up, and now it was essential that we enter into this deeper incarnation He desires in us and on earth. As He comes more deeply into more of us, our lives start to look authentic! We become more like who He made us to be, as He comes and dwells in more of ourselves! He is able to pronounce the poems of who we are, with less interruption, as we become songs about who He is. Our authenticity, becomes His Highway.
There is a more intense intimacy with Christ, and incarnation of Christ, being made available in our generation, and I saw in this vision, that people would be forced to cling to Christ in my lifetime. And I saw that many would be “quickly burnt into place”. I do see that the gospel of His Kingdom includes a deeper eclipsing by Christ in us, which has already begun, and it is easy to sense His acceleration of formation in us among His People. That more of Him enters more areas of who we are, and the earth itself. That the light would be made obvious, and the dark in more stark contrast! May His Kingdom press deeper into who we are on earth, as we are becoming the sons and daughters of God in Christ, our Brother, High Priest, King and Friend! He is the Author of our being! And wants to indwell and inhabit our whole life. He is Lord over all of ourselves, and wants to come home in us ever more fully in this season. We are His inheritance, who are we to refuse that He indwell the whole house of who we are! May it be so Lord. Come Lord Jesus come!
We will look more like ourselves, but be more in Him!
I think this deeper incarnation in our time is also why He desires that we take His life into every sphere of culture-whichever parts we are called into. Hence, His method of raising up an authentic generation to go into many untouched spheres of society. So it becomes even more imperative that we have authentic spiritualities in our day. That we live out the Life of Jesus from our true identities is something He is emphasizing as part of His gospel of His Own Kingdom. It is really part of His Kingdom coming and pressing in. It’s a God method. For this reason, many have quit traditional ministries and been led to just open a coffee shop or whatever their personal passion is. And God is meeting them there, and meeting others. Evangelism from being, you could call it. Where we are his messages to the world. But the frame is genuine or authentic–people being themselves, but moving more fully in Him! At least that is what I have started to see globally. He is touching authentic living as a way to express His Life to a very broken world, in tremendously shaky times!
Authentic incarnation into our true identities is a method of God of bringing in His Kingdom. It’s not just about numbers in churches or numbers of saved. It’s about depth of discipleship or formation in Him. And even in our spiritual mentoring, our first concern is formation, then calling or ministry. “I knew you in the womb, therefore I called you to…” God tells Jeremiah. And so it is with us; He is most concerned first with our identities and who we are, then what we do or express from that core identity! That we would be, and those given to us would be, becoming more “in Him”. Fuller formation through His incarnation is what is being offered in our season! That He would be more deeply formed in us, is His emphasis in our times. May this continue to come into being in us!