YOU’RE SPECIAL, BUT NOT THAT SPECIAL
You are unique, just like everyone else in the world. It won’t help you if you think you are hot stuff. God will ignore you for someone who walks in humility. Daniel did, and God chose to honor him. Feeling special could mean that you are receiving the love of God with a healthy heart. It could also mean that you are thinking too much about yourself. Humility ranks higher in heaven than confidence. Going low is better than going high.
You have been given a holy calling, and it is to die to yourself so you can count others as more important than you (Phil.2:3). It is not about you. You live for others. Bonhoeffer rightly wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” So when we suffer, we don’t complain, because it is simply not about us. We don’t deserve anything better, and we don’t expect not to.
However, when parents and schoolteachers play the “you’re special” card so much that no one is allowed to stand out, we are misunderstanding the “all men are created equal” line. That should not keep some from excelling and being recognized. God honors character and achievement—we should too!
THE KINGDOM IS NOW, BUT NOT YET
The word of faith movement brought the gift of faith to center stage, for which we thank them. Some went too far, and their faith became the end-all, as if faith could do anything at any time. It can’t—only God can. We put faith in God, not in faith. The very concept made some feel ashamed when they were not healed or when they had to keep silent about marriage struggles. If faith makes us run from vulnerability, it is skewed. We don’t sacrifice integrity for theology.
When we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we recognize that God’s kingdom is here, but only in part. When His kingdom comes in full measure, no one will miss it. Now His kingdom is hidden within us (Luke 17:21). The reality of nation warring against nation indicates that the King is not yet fully ruling. “He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (I Cor. 15:25). Among those enemies are death, disease, and disobedience. Until then we live with tension. We pray for healing. When it happens, we rejoice. When it doesn’t, we wait. We don’t say that we are healed when we are not. Faith can overcome reality, but it doesn’t deny it either.
JUDGMENT AND MERCY
God is light and God is love. Light exposes; love embraces. God is a God of truth and grace. Some believe that because God poured out His judgment at the cross, there is none left until the end of the age. I differ. Sometimes “mercy triumphs over judgment,” and at other times judgment is visited upon an individual, as it was delivered to Herod for not giving God glory (Acts 12:23), or on cities, nations or people groups, to which the Bible testifies. Everything about God is good, even His judgments. They are “true and righteous altogether” (Ps. 19:9). Holding truth in tension does not mean walking the tightrope between two extremes. It means that we submit to the Holy Spirit who wields a double-edged sword, emphasizing each aspect of the truth according to His sovereign will. What a wise and wonderful God!