This week we’ve had the privilege of hearing from Matt Whitlock: a leader at our YWAM University of the Nations campus; co-founder of The Tribe, a collective of lifestyle missionaries; forever student of the Bible, and active proponent of relationship over religion, to name a few.
Today he really blew my mind about who Jesus really was and is and how we portray him in Christian circles today.
Matt Whitlock on our authenticity and relationship:
Just as your closest friends are the most accepting of you, Jesus is even MORE accepting. You can show up and be COMPLETELY who you are all the time. We can be super amped, hooting and hollering and having a great time, and Jesus is like, ‘I’m right there with you.’
Studying the Word should happen in the context of being a friend to Jesus and then living it out as a friend to others.
Matt Whitlock exploding how Christianity looks today:
The prophets are a reminder that God is constantly patient with us. He’s never far away; His presence is always all around us. If He feels far away that could possibly be because you placed Him aside.
Are we awake to His presence? Or are we setting Him in a box to the side? He doesn’t only work in one way. The kingdom of God came near not so He could be put into one box, or one building, for our religious stuff, or we nullify the sacrifice of Jesus. We don’t feel comfortable with our sins so we DO things because we are not comfortable accepting His grace for us. This is what keeps us from the presence of God in every facet of our lives.
The worst thing we can do is look to a past experience and expect that for the future. When you’re stuck in a rut it’s time to make yourself uncomfortable. Maybe God wants to connect with you in a different way!
As for me, I’ve been struggling with the high of wanting to follow Him completely because this means entrusting Him with everything I have. Evverythiing. The following is my reflection on that:
“Are you all in?” I felt Him ask. “Or are you only willing to give me 10% of your life—the parts you’ve tucked neatly into the box you’ve labeled ‘Christian stuff’: Sunday sermons; bible studies; inspirational Facebook statuses and Instagram photos; the occasional community outreach to feel like you’re not just living for yourself—or will you let me into all of it?
Will you invite me into the double doors of your workplace? Invite me to teach you how to serve your employees with humility driven more by relationship and compassion than by ego and greed?
Will you ask me my thoughts on this guy/girl you’re eyeing?
And what about your finances?
No. Because you’re scared. Scared to lay it down on the line: your reputation. Your money.
But these things don’t just belong to you. I gave them to you. And I want to do so much more with you, because I love you. All I need is your trust.”
Do you only want to be a 10% Christian? Or do you truly want to walk out your faith and invite Him into every part of your life—to actually become the love we preach and to seek the Giver more than the gifts?
Our God is a gentleman. He’s not going to force your grip open, nor will He knock down your door to get close to you. But He will wait ever so patiently behind the door ’til you’re ready. He will touch your hands with gentleness as He receives whatever you’re willing to give Him. And the coolest part about surrender is this: when we hand something over to God, He is able to seal His fingerprint over ours, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. Just look at Moses and his staff, which turned from a piece of wood that herded sheep into a deadly snake and then a rod struck to split the sea and deliver an entire people group out of slavery.
There is no ending to this revelation because it’s something I’m still learning, and something we all learn over our entire lives. The good news is that God’s grace is so bountiful, He loves the process. As impatient as I am with myself and with others, the struggle of growth is how we learn to step out in faith and fall in love with Him as He catches us every step of the way.
So… To be continued, I guess 🙂