Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"The vast uncluttered wilderness"

"In the starkness and simplicity of the vast uncluttered wilderness, Jesus interpreted his existence and his mission in the world at a new and decisive level and emerged from the desert with the Breath of God on his face." (Pg 121, Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to think like Jesus).

As I was reading The Importance of Being Foolish, that line stood out to me. He was talking about Jesus' time of temptation in the desert after fasting, and how satan searched for an area of weakness by focusing on questioning Jesus' identity. "If you are the Son..."

During the trials we face, our identity does come into question. When our world is shaken, we are forced to grasp for something that solidly defines who we are - something that will keep us grounded on a firm foundation. In the middle of a trial, the trivial things of this world no longer matter. If the ship is sinking, the new pair of shoes you just bought really doesn't matter, but the life vest does. Doesn't it?

"In the starkness and simplicity of the vast uncluttered wilderness..." Nothing else mattered. Jesus was in a position to cling firmly to what He knew to be true... that He was, is, and always will be the Son of God.

Our journey has led us to a point where many of the little things really hold no significance to us anymore. Our perspectives have changed. Our ship went down and we had to start over by clinging to our life vests. I know who I am. I know where I'm headed, even if I don't know the details about the journey from here to there. I know the Heavenly Father has a plan, and I have a better understanding of what He expects of us. I'm amazed at how He has met our needs without failing us for even a moment. I know that through whatever happens, He will never abandon us. When you realize you're standing on the threshold of eternity, so many things in life just fade away into the "vast uncluttered wilderness."

Funny how a silly little thing like a sinking ship can change your point of view. What are you going to grab before the ship goes down?

834536: The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus

By Brennan Manning / Zondervan/HarperCollins Publishers

In the eyes of the world, Jesus was a fool. He did not abide by the rules of his day; the people he associated with were shunned by society; his Sermon on the Mount reads like a primer on being left behind, stepped on, and ignored. In order for us to truly be the people Jesus wants us to be, we too must learn to become "foolish."
Becoming a Christian is not a magical enterprise by which we are automatically transformed into better people. We must train to become who God intends us to be. In The Importance of Being Foolish, Manning teaches us how to think like Jesus. By reorienting our lives according to the gospel, we may appear to be fools in the eyes of the world, but Manning reveals that this is exactly what Jesus wants.
In a powerful exploration of the mind of Christ, Manning reveals how our obsession with security, pleasure, and power prevents us from living rich and meaningful lives. Our endless struggle to acquire money, good feelings, and prestige yields a rich harvest of worry, frustration, and resentment. Manning explores what Christ's mind was truly focused on: finding the Father, compassion for others, a heart of forgiveness, and the work of the kingdom.
Coming from the gentle yet compelling voice of Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish is a refreshing reminder of the radical call of Jesus and the transforming love of God.

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