I coulda swore I posted this once . . .try it again . . .
I could be wrong, but I get the sense that people tend to think that I would say “this” isn’t important, or God doesn’t really mind if you’re doing “that”. And if that’s the case, I apologize to you because that’s not my intent at all. I grew up in the letter of the law. I embraced the concepts that came with it. And, I would also look at the world in general and be left saddened at least, overwhelmed with a sense of hoplessness at most. But seldom would I feel positive or encouraged. But in his Grace, I beleive God brought me to a place where I came to realize it’s not about the shadows in other people’s lives . … it’s about my perspective.
In fact, maybe this will help, let me tell you exactly how God went about this in me. It happened while I was doing one of my favorite things, I was out in the wild country. I was also raised as a hunter . . . my passion is deer season . . .and on this particular day, season hadn’t opened yet but I was basically just hiking around. It was the first time that year that I’d been out so I just wanted to do some scouting and I took my camera with me. I took a bunch of pictures, it was a beautiful day, perfect temperatures, blue skies . . .just a great day to be out. After it was all over and I was at home, I was downloading the pictures off my camera and it was there that things began changing for me . . . in one of my favorite areas, I’d taken a picture when I first came into the clearing . . . it is a valley, has a bluff on one side, a large creek flowing through but it does a unique thing, it somes into the valley and makes a distinct “horse shoe” before it exits the valley on the other side. At one point, it appears the water is flowing up hill, but there’s a sizeable swell in the lay of the land and it forces the creek to flow around rather than through.
Overhanging the creek is this HUGE oak tree. Beautiful limbs reaching clear across the creek as well as up toward the bluff. I’d taken a picture of the view, then walked under and passed the tree and after passing by it, I had turned around and taken another picture of the scenery, but also of the tree. As I was looking at the pictures, I was amazed at the two specific ones that the tree was in. If I didn’t know the land as well as I do, I never would have realized that it was the same tree. The only difference was, the location of the sun. On the first picture, the sun was behind me and the tree still had all it’s leaves yet and all you can see is the shades of green and the shadows caused by the leaves. But in the other picture, I was facing the sun and because the sun was now on the other side, all that stood out was the sun rays piercing through.
And as I sat there in wonderment, the Lord started speaking to me. See, there are many “types” and “shadows” in Scripture. I call them dimensions, but there are many different “levels” of understanding. And there is so much symbolism. In fact, I beleive “that’s” the language God uses to speak to us. I believe he uses the natural things around us as his language “to” us. Because the message will never be lost in translated words or cultures. And one of these “types” in Scriptures are actually trees . . .trees are types of man. In the New Testament, when Jesus was healing a blind guy, he touched him and asked if the guy could see and the guy said “I see men as trees walking”. Then Jesus spit on the ground, rubbed the mud in his eyes and sent him away to wash his eyes and he was healed. But the fact that the guy “appeared” to not be fully healed on Jesus first attempt is not a sign that Jesus was off his game that day . . .everything Jesus did was “on” purpose, “with” purpose. This was a spiritual principle Jesus was revealing. Men are as trees . . .Psalms talks about how we are “like a tree, planted beside still waters . . .”
So when I looked at these two pictures, the Lord started speaking to me about positioning. In my eyes, I can see shadows in other people’s lives just as much as the next guy. But when I do, why? Is it because of the darkness in them? Or is it because of “my perspective” from “where I’m standing”? When I saw the shadows in the picture, the sun was BEHIND me. I’d turned my face away from it’s light and with the Son behind me, I became focused on the shadows of others. But in the other picture, when my face was toward the sun, it wasn’t shadows that became dominant, it was the rays of the sun. What the Lord spoke to me was, the shadows in others is not the issue, it’s my positioning with God that affects my perspective of the tree. So, rather than be concerned about their shadows, I should pay closer attention to keep the SON in my eyes so that as I look at the very same tree, what my attention is drawn to most is not the shadows, but the light of the Son.
“That’s” why I let go of the idea that I need to be an officer of God’s laws. Jesus left us with MANY examples of how he had every opportunity to “cash in” on the shadows of others. But instead of demanding what he deserved, he released forgiveness, mercy, grace. The woman caught in adultery is one of the most memorable. The religious people had every right to bring her to justice, and justice was granted, but not according to the letter of the law. Instead, it was according to the law of grace. I would much rather break the laws of men (religion) than to be found guilty of breaking the law of grace.
So once again, I would say, plant the seed of life in others, encourage, strengthen them, but let the Holy Spirit be with one to speak to them inwardly as to whether or not they’re not living up to their spiritual potential. Jesus preached of liberal things like, life, not just “life” but ABUNDANT life. And things like, easy yokes . . . trading our sorrows in for everlasting joy. Those who become weary at trying to live life according to the standards of others, come to where rest awaits. Not labor, but rest. Not warfare, but celebration. When we enter the Sabbath, the rules change from one of warning, to one of watering.