Angel food cake and demons part 1 of 2
We all have thoughts and ideas about the nature and character of God. That is to say that we all have some sort of framework that we’ve developed or that we’ve been taught about who he is and how he operates.
No matter how hard we try and no matter how open-minded we may be in our understanding of God. Our understanding of God will always end up in a box because we are finite beings attempting to wrap our tiny brains around an infinite being. It’s an impossible task to think we can know fully the extent of God.
Our human nature, especially when it comes to religion, is to want to label things and draw lines about what is and what isn’t. We like things to have nice neat categories. We thrive on knowing our place within society or knowing that we are with the “in” crowd.
The problem of course that God is not something we can put into a category. God is not containable in whatever kind of box we create for him regardless of how big our box is.
Unfortunately, many believers get so caught up in defining God and defining what he can and can’t do they miss the movement of God that is in front of them.
There’s a story in the book of Luke about this exact thought. Check this out.
“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
So the disciples find someone who is driving out demons in the name of Jesus and they tried to stop him.
What kind of sense does that make?
And what does Jesus say?
“Do not stop him.”
“Whoever is not against you is for you.”
Did you catch that?
The disciples have a particular understanding of how God works.
The disciples have a particular understanding about who’s allowed to have access to the power of Jesus.
The disciples have a particular understanding about the world they live in and about how the lines are drawn.
That guy can’t heal in Jesus name because he’s not one of us. We are the only ones who can do this. We should stop him.
How does Jesus respond?
Don’t stop him, whoever is not against you is for you.
Jesus has no problems with this guy or his work.
The attitude of Jesus is one of an understanding that the movement of God is always expanding.
The team is always getting bigger.
The attitude of the disciples is one of …. This isn’t how things work or God can’t do that because that is outside of my understanding.
Doesn’t it seem to be silly for us to be afraid of God working outside of the boundaries that WE’VE set for him?
It’s like when my kids tell me something I can’t do, which is usually based on what I’ve told them they can’t do.
Every single year for my birthday, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had an angel food cake with homemade cream cheese icing.
It’s the best.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve developed a post-birthday ritual where I save at least one slice of my angel food cake with homemade cream cheese icing for the next morning. So the day after my birthday I get up early, I get a fresh cup of coffee and I eat my cake for breakfast. I love it.
However, now that my kids have gotten older, the minute they catch me eating cake for breakfast they start to shout things like “daaaaaaaad, you can’t eat cake for breakfast.”
To which I reply “you’d shut your mouth if you knew what was good for you.” Ok, not really.
But I do get to throw out some dad cliche’s like “my house my rules.”
As silly as the whole thing is as the dad I’m not subject to their authority. Which means that it would be silly and a bit ridiculous for them to get upset at me when I do things that don’t line up with what they think I can or can not do.
And yet often this is exactly how we behave in our relationship with God.
God you can’t, or God doesn’t, really?
Is God limited by what you think is his or isn’t capable of?
What Jesus is trying to get us to see is that what God is up to is so much bigger than we could ever understand.
What Jesus is trying to get us to do is to be less worried about drawing lines and creating nice boxes and categories for us to define God and more focused on celebrating the movement of God where ever we may find it.
Affirm the Good