Waiting in the Wings

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Tag: character/nature of God

Minding Our Roots

“Favored One” by Meghan Williams of Dyed4you Art

A few years ago, I was reading an article about the human soul from a Jewish perspective, and I was struck by the following phrase, “The root of the soul is God.” These words resonated within me as truth, particularly in light of the creation account. The Word says that God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). While the rest of creation was formed through God’s speech, God bestowed humanity with a little piece of Himself in order to bring us to life.

Yet to have a little piece of the Eternal One isn’t such a little thing when we really stop to think about it. Our humanity enshrouds a potent drop of the Divine. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit maintains the connection between the human soul and God, enabling us to be extensions of Him in the earth. How amazing!

Although we cannot see our souls, it is much like the idea of a seed that is planted, sprouts roots, and steadily grows into a tree. A tree’s origins as a small seed can often seem like a distant memory. However, that seed is still a present reality in the life of the tree. The small seed contained all of the genetic information necessary to bring the full-grown tree into existence. Essentially, the tree is an extension of a tiny yet mighty seed.

In the midst of a fallen world, this truth can embolden us if we’re able to grasp ahold of it. We may more frequently focus on our human fragility and failings, but the miracle in the midst of our imperfections is that a small seed of the Divine resides within us. When we are willing to tap into our connection with God through the Holy Spirit, He is able to strengthen our inner being with His power (Ephesians 3:14).

I often tap into this overcoming power when I choose to view my circumstances through the lens of my identity as an extension or child of God. How does the all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God view my current problems? Of course, my problems quickly dwarf in size when I remember who I’m seated in heavenly places with (Ephesians 2:6). To know that I was created by and am held by perfect love is empowering, for it opens my heart to receive the character, wisdom, knowledge—the very fullness—of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV) For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 2:6-7 (NIV) And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

In the Form of Christ

“One Body (Unity in Christ)” by Meghan Williams of Dyed4you Art

{vision} I saw different American Olympic athletes posing as if for a photo shoot meant to display their new team uniforms. What stood out to me was that, although the athletes had different types of uniforms based on their sport, all of the uniforms used the same set of colors. (Royal blue was the predominant color.) The consistency of the color is what would make it clear to others that they were all on the same team.

As I pressed in for the download for this vision, I was led to look up the definition of the word uniform. As a noun, the Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines uniform as “the distinctive clothing worn by members of the same organization or body or by children attending certain schools.” Looking at the etymology of the word, uniform is derived from the latin uniformis, uni- meaningone; having or consisting of oneand form meaning “body, shape, or configuration.” Immediately, I thought of the fact that humans are made in the image or “form” of God. 

Deuteronomy 6:4 highlights an important aspect of God’s nature; it tells us that “The LORD is our God, the LORD is one.” In this verse, the word for one in Hebrew is echad. Echad has a variety of nuances, including uniqueness, singularity, and compound unity. Certainly, the Body of Christ is meant to express echad with many members acting together as one. Though each of us has a unique purpose and function in the Body, we all work towards a common goal—that upward call of God in Christ (Philippians 3:14). 

Our unity is akin to the unity among Olympic athletes; though they each may compete in different sports, an individual’s actions will ultimately reflect upon their entire team as well as their nation. Olympic athletes represent a nation’s best as far as prowess in their sport. They train hard and are proud to compete on behalf of their country. I also imagine they must also be proud to wear their uniforms, the very symbol of their role as an Olympic athlete.

It is much the same for those of us who follow the call of Christ. For by the Spirit, we train hard to crucify our flesh and become mighty athletes of the Spirit. We are proud to walk the earth and represent the Kingdom of Heaven. Most of all, we display our unity by putting on Christ. When clothed with love, anyone who encounters us knows which team we are proudly playing for. 

Galatians 3:27 (NLT) And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.

Galatians 5:22-23 (TPT) But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

John 13:35 (NKJV) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

In His Image

“Bezel El (Shadow of God)” by Meghan Williams, Dyed4you Art

Genesis 1:27 (NKJV) So God created man in His [own] image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

In the opening of Genesis, we are told that humanity has been made in the image or shadow of God—in Hebrew, tselem (Strong’s H6754). Something that I have frequently meditated on is what this term tselem means. This meditation most often happens when I’m going through trials and tribulations. During these times when my soul is grieved, and I’m searching for the righteous path through the chaos of life, I will hear my Heavenly Father’s still small voice saying, “Come back into My shadow.” I‘ve come to understand that He means this is several ways. 

Firstly, He is reminding me that it is only under His shade—tsêl (Strong’s 6738)that we have any hope of finding real comfort and peace. Sometimes if we are not careful, life’s difficulties can chase us out of our hiding place in God instead of remaining in Him. Nothing in the world can refresh and sustain us better than our Source. In the heat of trials, when I pause to listen for His voice, I can tell that I have unintentionally moved out of His shadow. It is like standing outside on an incredibly hot day and completely avoiding the shade of a nearby tree. While the shade doesn’t compare to air conditioning, I would be a fool not to abide there when left with no other choice. Plus, there is sweet fruit from the tree that revives and sustains me.

Secondly, I know that by calling me to come back into His shadow, the Father is also referring to His image. One can say that, during troubles, we are tempted to lose our mind—or lose the mind of Christ. We can quickly forget who we are and the vows we have made to His covenant. Trials always require a response from us, but what will our response be? Will we let the trials disconnect us from our Source, leaving us with only the resources of our flesh? Or will we continue to abide and bear the fruits of the Spirit while under pressure—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? We have a choice in difficulties even when we may feel like we don’t.

When trials come—and as our Savior told us, they certain will come—they become an opportunity for God to build His character into us. The more we yield to the process and are mindful of the point of the difficulties, the more we will have access to the life-giving flow of the Holy Spirit. And the more of God’s Spirit that we are able to receive, the more we are able to accurately hear His voice and reflect His image in the earth—in both good times and bad.

Galatians 5:22-24 (TPT) But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:

joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.

Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

A Listening Heart

“Eyes of Mercy” by Meghan Williams, Dyed4you Art

Recently, God has been taking me through a season to further cultivate a “listening heart.” I was impacted by the journey of my young friend, Stephen, who is just setting out on the road to law school. His mother told me of the mediation class he took that set him off on this journey. 

She said that Stephen did very well in the roleplaying mediation sessions. This was not surprising to her considering the fact that Stephen is a natural peacemaker. When there’s conflict between people, she said, “He’s very good at listening and empathizing with all sides involved.” 

Since I had just begun new spiritual training that involved “listening,” the Holy Spirit highlighted her words that day with fire. Isn’t our Divine Mediator just like Stephen? Our King is able to listen to every prayer, petition, and request in the earth and respond with fairness and justice. He does not show partiality in judgment nor does he pervert justice. Even more amazing, He is able to balance the scales of justice as a Father! He listens closely to all of His children and does not ignore one of us.

God began to stir my heart with this realization. As one who is introverted yet very nurturing, I’m naturally designed to be empathetic. I listen with my heart and pick up on subtle social cues with those around me. And as much as possible, I desire to listen with an intent to understand instead of an intent to respond.

However, my Heavenly Father began to challenge me to listen with equity in a way I never expected. He asked me to listen on a deeper level and become more attuned with the person I seemed to ironically know the least about—myself. 

I began to realize how often I fail to stop to listen to my own thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires. In the name of death to self, I often dismiss the internal voice of self in favor of serving others. Without realizing it, I had learned to make certain decisions motivated by the fear of punishment instead of a love that was able to encompass God, my neighbor, and myself.

While we certainly are called to emulate our Messiah by putting others first, I realized that to completely overlook any individual—even ourselves—is an injustice. By factoring myself out of every justice equation, I wasn’t being a very fair mediator. I wasn’t listening to all sides involved. 

To be sovereign heirs in the Kingdom of Heaven, God calls us to rule with equity and righteousness. Now seeking to make righteous judgments that involve ourselves may seem to be a conflict of interest. However, I’ve come to see how important it is to “stop, look, and listen” in such instances. While I may not be able to completely trust myself to make an unbiased ruling, I can stop and look up to My Heavenly Father, who is on the throne. I can draw upon His counsel and listen for His wise and balanced response in every matter.

1 Kings 3:12 (EXB) I will do what you asked. I will give you wisdom and understanding [a wise and discerning/listening heart] that is greater than anyone has had in the past or will have in [will make you unlike anyone in the past or in] the future.

A Throne-Room Perspective

“Throne Room Glory” by Meghan Williams, Dyed4you Art

There was once a point in my walk when I was afraid to have a throne room encounter with God. I was still healing from a broken sense of identity at that time, so I was certain that an encounter with Him would “put me in my place.” Certainly, the presence of the flawless Eternal One would only confirm the sense of unworthiness I felt on the inside. Yet nothing could have been further from the truth.

My encounters with the Divine have always had a way of radically transforming the way I perceive both God and myself. I begin to grasp the face of perfect love. (And no matter how many encounters I have with the Eternal, it will only really be just the beginning.) He is limitless, all-powerful, all-knowing, and truly, none can compare to Him. Yes, He is so flawless in His beauty that words often fail me. However, I am moved to spend the rest of my existence (here and in eternity) looking for ways to describe the impossible.

Yet to grasp a glimpse of the glory puts our identity into a breathtaking perspective. The One who is seated on the throne above all thrones has chosen to make His home within us. When unified, the followers of Christ are indeed a body through which the Divine moves and expresses Himself. Our relationship to Him is like a crown upon our heads.

Encounters with the presence of God restore our dignity and rightful identity as sons of God and living stones of His temple. We remember who we are, whose we are, and why we are alive. In this light, I can say it is easy for me to cast my crown before the throne. However, I no longer fear I have to cast my crown out of a sense of unworthiness. Instead, I am moved to honor my King out of gratitude and love for this precious gift of life.

Revelation 4:10-11 (AMP) the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they worship Him who lives forever and ever; and they throw down their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.”

1 Peter 2:5 (TPT) Come and be his “living stones” who are continually being assembled into a sanctuary for God. For now you serve as holy priests, offering up spiritual sacrifices that he readily accepts through Jesus Christ.

The Name

“His Holy Name” by Meghan Williams, Dyed4you Art

Exodus 6:3 (NLT)  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.

In Exodus 6:3, God makes an interesting statement to Moses. He says, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.” There are Jewish scholars who claim that this Scripture isn’t saying that the forefathers of the faith didn’t know that “Yahweh” was one of God’s many names. Instead, the side of God’s character that the forefathers saw throughout their lives was only El Shaddai—the all-powerful God, their sufficiency and sustainer. However, generations later in Egypt, the children of Israel witnessed the character of God in a way their forefathers did not. Yahweh—whose very name reflects that He is the source of all existence and being—showed His power in a way that completely defied the laws of nature.

Whether we realize it or not, God reveals Himself to us through different names at different times. We come to know the many facets of His character through each of these names. Sometimes the “name” family members or brothers and sisters in Christ know God by may not be the same name that we know Him by. We may grow up perceiving the Creator, at first, only as Elohim—God, ruler, and judge of the universe. When we receive salvation, we come to know Him as Haggo’el—the Redeemer. And as the Spirit of Adoption draws us closer to our Creator’s heart, we may come to know God as Abba—our Father.

Yet an infinite God has an infinite number of names. And as our life experience transforms, He continues to reveal those names by revealing His character at greater depths. Therefore, it may behoove us to occasionally pause and reflect on God’s interactions with us in different seasons. The Holy Spirit can reveal the name that God is making Himself known by at that time. By inquiring about the name that God is revealing for you at any given time, you will have the opportunity to see who He wants to be in your life now and forevermore. Even more, because God is your Father, it’s important to see how He is imparting aspects of His nature into you. 

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