Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Reflections on the Tree of Life: Living our Lives as Shekinah Glory

Two themes run through the Bible: relationship and meaningful partnership. God created us to be in a covenant relationship with himself, and he desires to have a meaningful partnership with us as we live into kingdom with him.

Last week we explored the concept of Shekinah Glory. The word “Shekinah” means a dwelling place for God and glory, the presence of God so literally Shekinah Glory is a dwelling place for the presence of God.

It’s easy to imagine that Jesus was a “dwelling place for the presence of God,” it’s a bigger stretch to believe it for ourselves. One of the reasons for this is our constant question, “Do I measure up?”

This is the question that the Serpent put in the minds of Adam and Eve and he finds that the strategy continues to be quite effective even today. The interesting thing about the question is that the Snake got Adam and Eve to question what they already possessed. They already lived as Shekinah Glory because of their relationship to God.

We need to start living in the truth regarding our status as Shekinah Glory as well.

Remember the Tabernacle and the Temple? Both times that the work on them was completely finished, the Shekinah Glory came upon them. The glory was so great that even Moses and the Priests couldn’t do anything but fall down and worship.

Do you remember what Jesus’ last words on earth were before he died? John 19 tells us “Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, ‘It is finished!’ Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.”

Those words are key to unlocking the question of our worthiness to live as Shekinah Glory. When everything was finished for the Tabernacle, the Shekinah Glory came. When everything was finished for the Temple, the Shekinah Glory came. When Jesus had finished everything, he shined as Shekinah Glory, even as he took his last earthly breath.

Imagine that. The moment of his greatest glory on earth was not when he was transfigured on the mountain, or when he raised Lazarus from the dead, or when he calmed the storm, or when he fed thousands for lunch.

The moment of his greatest glory was when he hung mangled, broken and bloody on a cross with criminals.

Why? Because he finished the work so the Shekinah Glory could be released to all who follow him.

I wonder if we don’t shine brightest when we are most out of our element of comfort.

Sitting in a comfortable church pew worshipping probably doesn’t compare to when we are up to our elbows in spaghetti feeding it to the poor. Or, writing a check and sending it to an African country probably doesn’t compare to when we go to visit sick and dying children in a hospital. Putting money in the Salvation Army bucket probably doesn’t compare to going out on Christmas morning to look for the homeless to invite to a hearty breakfast.

I am not discounting the activities mentioned above; they are important, but I think it thrills the Lord’s heart when we take risks in our faith and do things that make us more than a bit uncomfortable. When we live this way, we are making a declaration that we believe Shekinah Glory is in us and it will change the atmosphere that we are in.

Light always penetrates darkness. Have you ever gone into a dark room and lit a match? The darkness becomes lighter. We may think that our light is only “match like” but it still penetrates darkness and brings hope.

Faith is not a feeling, it is an action.

I encourage you to spend time meditating on the Scripture where Jesus tells us that “It is finished.” Consider how his finished work on the cross has paved a way for you to live into everything he meant for you. Pray about what his specific partnership with you is to be. When an idea comes, then act on it! Don’t think it to death and talk yourself out of it. Act on it!

As you begin to act on the ideas that you receive in prayer, your sense of identity will increase more and more. You will begin to walk with a “knowing” that you are carry the light of Jesus and that wherever you go, darkness will flee and light will come.

As we step into the time of year when generosity is more prevalent, consider how you can be generous with your faith. Where will you step out and take risks because you know that the Lord is with you and that you carry the Shekinah Glory that will change whole atmospheres to bring God’s love and purposes from heaven to earth?

No comments: