“I am tired of living in a way that looks exactly like people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God living in them.” – Francis Chan, Forgotten God
This morning I opened up a lectionary to the reading for this week, the twenty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time. This not something I normally do. Then, as I was praying, meditating on God’s Word and seeking the heart of God I felt God laying a couple of things on my heart.
First, I love the idea of this week being “Ordinary Time.” Does that speak to you? It speaks to me. In the lectionary it seems to mean simply that we’re not in Easter, Lent, Advent or another “season” and for me it drew a beautiful picture of being OK with life. Sometimes I feel like I’m pursuing the experiences of God or this world rather than God Himself. The idea that maybe I’m walking in ordinary time helps point me back to the regular ordinary breathing, working, playing, driving, eating, seeing, sleeping, listening parts of my life. This is where God works and dwells and where I meet Him.
Second, it dawned on me that across the country and world in churches of all shapes and sizes people are reflecting on these same thoughts, words, prayers and Scriptures. I found myself identifying with the Body of Christ, not as our local expression of the church where we are focused most of the time. No. Rather, with the great cloud of witnesses from a lineage of Christ-followers and God-pursuers and from them up to the exact moment of today. The Church holding me to the truth of God’s Word.
Things of God
Third, I was deeply moved by the reading from Matthew 16:21-27 which finds Jesus teaching his disciples that he must die. You may remember, Peter quickly goes about telling Jesus this is not the way. Jesus’ response is simple and I find it beautiful in the old King James language:
“But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16:23 KJV)
I’ve read this and heard this story repeatedly, but the collision of processing with the Holy Spirit the ordinary time we hold in common as all followers of Christ, I was deeply impressed in my inner being that too often I am guilty of savoring the things of men rather than the things of God. And my hearts cries out, “Lord, Jesus have mercy on me, may it not be so!”
I wonder if we’ve confused the things of God with the things of men. In my own attempts to decipher this, I began looking that the original Greek. The word “things” here means essentially just that…things. It could mean lots of things. In other passages it is used as circumstances, experiences, companions, people, whatever had happened. In other words it truly means everything!
Have I set my mind on the EVERYTHING of God? Or the EVERYTHING of man?
Only with the power of the Holy Spirit can I discern the difference as I live toward God in all things. That is my prayer. That God would not be “forgotten” but rather the everything of God would be the everything of me.