As I think back over this summer and specifically on the weeks spent on the Precept campus for EQUIP Boot Camp 2016, the word that keeps coming to my mind is CLASHING.
You might not think that a very nice word to choose. But let me explain:
There are so many coexisting beliefs and choices in the world. We see it everyday. We cannot escape it: not in our schools, neighborhoods, churches or computer screens. The clashing started right from the beginning of Ephesians and continued the whole way through.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. Ephesians 1:3-4
Blessed? We don’t always feel blessed. And certainly not with every spiritual blessing.
Chosen. Before the foundation of the world. Holy. Blameless.
It doesn’t matter how many times we read that statement. It’s crazy talk. Everything that Paul just said clashes with the human experience of time, not to mention our emotions of pain, worth, and purpose. There’s a blunt clash between physical reality (what we see) and spiritual reality (what we don’t see).
But while there may be coexistence of truth and lies in the world, there is none in Christ. Truth and lies may exist externally, but in Christ they will not be allowed to coexist internally. Truth and lies may appear to coexist temporarily, but they certainly do not coexist eternally. (These statements just make me want to say “Hallelujah!”)
OK, so what does any of this have to do with my summer?
Well. The truth is that God has been wrecking my heart. He has been exposing in me the areas where I have allowed truth and lies to coexist. If that wasn’t bad enough, He also has been exposing that I’ve allowed them to coexist for the purpose of being able to chose whichever one (truth or lie) comforts me the most in the moment.
Let’s go with an example: leading worship during EQUIP Boot Camp.
Emotional reality: I felt completely out of my depth. Under-skilled. Underprepared. Under-spiritual. EXPOSED.
Physical reality: I’m decent enough at piano to hold things together, have studied music actively for over 13 years, and God has given talents I neither asked for nor wanted to steward.
Spiritual reality: God called me to camp to actively pursue worshipping Him in a vulnerable and honest way as an example and encouragement to others.
In the moments before and after worship (and every moment in between) I had choices to make. Would I focus on how I performed, or would I focus on how I obeyed? Would I think about all the things I would do differently/better, or would I ask God to be glorified as people reflected on the truths we sung? Would I allow the enemy to fill me with so many arrows about worthlessness and inadequacy, or would I allow myself to be filled with the Spirit, lift the shield of faith, and stand firm? Clashing.
This clashing is good though. Not just fast-food-fries-good, but a nourishing and filling, life-giving and healing good.
Because it means that we come to God as we are, and He changes us.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
The clashing is continuing after camp, as I have new circumstances, thoughts, and emotions clashing in my soul and vying for my belief. But I hold fast to the hope of this promise: when I draw near to God, He draws near to me. I am not double-minded, impure, or dirty. I am His child.
Joy Knight was a 2014 intern, with degrees in English and Music. She of course loves good books and music, is a minor-league foodie and enjoys the outdoors. She has worked in various capacities on the Transform Student Ministries staff since September 2014, where she seeks opportunities to serve the students and users of Precept through writing and other projects.