“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…”
This past few months has felt especially significant for us as a team at 3DM (we’ll be unpacking this more in the coming weeks, so stay tuned). Like many of you, there have been lots of adventures, challenges, new frontiers, battles and breakthroughs. But in seeking to walk with the Lord in of all this, there has been the opportunity to be reminded of something important:
God doesn’t simply want to intervene in our lives from a distance. He’s not interested in just fixing the problems AROUND US and then waving us on our way. Rather, in the midst of battle, busyness, challenge and noise, He wants to draw near and incarnate His life IN US. Simply put, He wants to move in.
(A little while ago, we shared some thoughts from Paul Maconochie on why incarnation is better than intervention – click here for a quick reminder)
What we have noticed in our own lives and the lives of lots of leaders is the constant temptation to revert to an “intervention” mindset – This looks something like: “Lord, there are so many problems around me that I could do with you fixing. I’m too busy to really engage with you right now, but if you could get stuck in and help out a bit that would be great.”
Often we are desperate for God to intervene and fix all the problems we can see.
God is obviously able to do this, and in His grace He often does respond. But in Jesus we see a far greater and more fruitful solution:
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.”
Rather than simply intervene from a distance, the Son of God “moved in”. He was born in a dark, damp, messy backroom. Born into a displaced family and a world of problems. Instead of shouting from the clouds and moving us about like pieces on a chessboard, God set aside His glory, incarnated Himself in the flesh and became like man, in all his vulnerability, showing us The Way.
And just as He became like us, so we are now able to become like Him.
This is the greater solution that Jesus sees – Rather than simply intervene in the situation, He wants us to become like Him in the situation and see change through us, not just around us. The great thing about this is that we are changed forever, able to grow and overcome in ever greater measure. This process, of continually looking to Jesus, listening to him, learning from Him and then living it out is discipleship. And when disciples of Jesus become those who disciple others we get multiplication.
The problem is there is only one way to become like Jesus. And that is embracing the same process that Jesus embraced for us – Death and Resurrection – the Cross.
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me”
This is why intervention is often a much more tempting prayer. Intervention means we maybe still get what we want without the need to die to ourselves. But it also means that we miss the opportunity for the new life: Jesus moving in and us becoming more like Him.
An incarnation mindset says: “Lord, I want to become like you in this situation and be the person you would be, seeing you at work through me not just around me. I want Jesus to move in here and I’m prepared to die to myself in order to see that”
This movement is all about multiplication. It’s about seeing a worldwide epidemic of everyday people being transformed into the likeness of Jesus and doing the things Jesus did. We are convinced that you can’t see this just through intervention. It’s just not how God works.
Jesus wanted to move in 2000 years ago, and the plan hasn’t changed all that much
The message in Revelation 3 that we started with wasn’t written to the unsaved – rather, it was written to a church that knew who He was and claimed to be following Him. Yet there was still a question to be asked of them –
Will you let me move in?
As we think about our lives, families, churches and communities this Christmas, let’s pause for a moment to ask ourselves the same thing.