By the way, just because we conceptualize God in one way or another, that doesn't mean that's really who God is. Yesterday, I said that we're often working for the praise of God, trying to get Him to notice us, to recognize us, to celebrate us. The truth is God already notices, recognizes, and celebrates you.
He can't take His eyes off you.
Like a mother over her newborn child, God stands over His newborn creation absolutely mesmerized. He's so smitten by you.
And just because we think we have to get His attention every now and then, that doesn't mean we don't already have it. That's a chain we've put on Him. That's a way we've tied Him down to our understanding. Because it is we whose attention must be gotten. It is we who must be reminded to look. God can't stop looking. He can't wait to see what you're going to do next.
We think we have to keep performing for God, that we have to keep doing one faithful thing after another. Do you not know that He counts your very breaths? He knows the number of the hairs on your head. He hears your very heartbeat. We think that God is so interested in the things we do. It's another chain we've put on Him, tying Him to our own expectations. Because we are so interested in the things we do. Because it matters to us what we do. God is far less interested in what you do; He's far more invested in simply who you are. (And no matter how much this world tries to tell you different, you are so much more than what you do.)
We think God wants us to be a people who just do whatever He says. We even call this "faith," although it's something far less than real faith. We think God is looking for obedience and that by our obedience, we give Him what He really wants - authority. But that's not authority; it's just another chain. God doesn't want obedient "faith;" He wants faithful trust. It's we who think that has something to do with following orders. It's we who think that has something to do with a reluctant yes. To God, this faithful trust is less doing, more being. Less performance, more rest. Less striving, more confident assurance. See, when we really do what God desires of us, it's not about proving ourselves; it's about resting confidently in who we already are - God's beloved.
Again and again, we create these concepts of God. We wrap Him up in all these chains so that we feel like we can control Him or, at the very least, that we can know what to expect from Him. When we hear the chains rattle, that's when we know, or think we know, that God is up to something. That God is on the move. That something holy is afoot. We can hear those chains clashing against one another - attention and expectation and blind obedience and so many other misunderstandings we've bound Him in.
But then the rattling of chains grows louder and louder. The holy, it seems, approaches. God Himself stands before us in amazing grace. And it is then, only then, that we realize...the chains we're hearing are our own.
We've wrapped ourselves in our need for attention. We've wrapped ourselves in expectation. We've bound ourselves to blind obedience and so many other things we thought God wanted from us. We've chained ourselves to idols, to mere ideas. All of a sudden, we can't move. We can't breathe. We don't know how to do this any more, how to live this life, how to love this God. Who is He? Who are we?
We were half-right, of course, about the chains. When we hear them rattle, God is up to something. God is on the move. Something holy is afoot. It's just that this holy thing is happening in us. God is moving toward us, and He's about to break these chains.
Because that's what God does.
Because that's who God is.