The Origin of Our Convictions: 2. Convergence

And Elohim said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the livestock, and over all the earth and over all the creeping creatures that creep on the ground.” And Elohim created the man in His image, in the image of Elohim He created him – male and female He created them. And Elohim blessed them, and Elohim said to them, “Be fruitful and increase, and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over all creeping creatures on the earth.”

~ Genesis 1:26-28

I live on a foothill in the southern Appalachians, an untamed hard slope of rock shaded dark by towering trees. Even in winter as branches lay bare, the sun’s light is slow to creep in. I work the land. I tame the wildness that exists. I attempt to bring order to the chaos, cultivate gardens that yield beauty and herbs and foods to nourish. I imagine Adonai hovering over darkness and water, bringing order to chaos, life to a formless void, giving purpose and function to all His creation. Even me. I meditate much about the sixth day when He created man in His image and I pray His image is reflected in the choices I make.

And then I pull more weeds.

I desire to bask in His presence, soak up wisdom, put it to good use.

There are things I know: It is easy to live life categorically, to label and compartmentalize ourselves and everything around us. It is easier to follow than it is to lead because being an example leads to criticism and who really needs that.  Our circumstances often denote our behavior as do the people with whom we surround ourselves; it is rare people act in the same manner in a variety of situations – that dirty joke you told at work will never be told to your pastor. Obsequiousness skews our judgement because as A. W. Tozer said it best, “To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men.” And most people love the adoration of others.

It is a conundrum: I must care and I must not care. I must desire to please Adonai. I must not desire to conform and please people.

So I have lived in this space of disconnect between the physical and spiritual world; I have often acted as a chameleon fading into the world instead of being a set-apart creation reflecting the divine. But there is another space, a sacred space where these two worlds collide, the secular and the divine working in tandem flowing seamlessly and either can be an  influencer to the other; this is the place where choices are created, a crossroads in which I am moved to action. But it is the decision I make that defines me and to whom I belong. I claim discipleship of Yeshua and this is the only space I am designed to fit; my choice must always be to reflect the divine into the secular.

And this is how I walk with Yeshua, in the world and not of it, a perpetual road of choices that either reflect His attributes or they do not, a path of refinement, of sanctification. I must be humble enough to be moldable and conforming to His image, yet bold enough to live His truth.

And the introvert in me wants to hide away so no one sees how often I fail at this very thing.

I was created in the likeness and image of Adonai. And my actions must reflect the very essence of who He is. If my actions are not rooted in love and mercy and compassion and justice, then my actions are wrong. When Adonai created Adam, gave him dominion over the earth and the creation thereof, when He instructed him to to subdue it and rule over it, he was to rule on Adonai’s behalf in the likeness of His character. Adam was charged with keeping order within the bounds of Adonai’s character and never outside of it. And I am able to continue this work because I was imbued with His attributes at my creation.

I cannot act in ways that conflict with Adonai’s character otherwise the image I am bearing is not His, it is satan’s. I cannot act outside of what I say I believe otherwise I am a hypocrite. As a follower of Yeshua, my witness is who He is to the world. The example I live for others to see needs to always reflect Him. And there are many who claim no relationship with Yeshua that do a far better job of reflecting His attributes at times than I have myself.

So I exist in this convergence of choices: the world or Yeshua? Fade in or shine a light?

But what happens in those times, the world presents me with an idea or a choice? What do I do when what is presented grabs hold of me and refuses to release me? What do I do when I realize the view of the majority will be that I am wrong? Radical? Crazy even?

I go back to scripture and see what Adonai says. And when I find the passage that proves He just spoke to me through an atheist and gave me a truth I had long missed, I relax into that sacred space of convergence between the secular and the divine, that space I was meant to exist within.  I realize it is time for a line to be moved to be more in line with the image I am to bear and that wisdom sometimes comes from odd and seemingly random places. I rest in the knowledge that Yeshua is always there nudging me forward to be more like Him.

And then I pull some more weeds and watch finches eat coneflower seeds and hummingbirds drink nectar from the Rose of Sharon. I listen to owls hooting in the fading afternoon sunlight as honey bees collect the last bits of pollen and return home. I understand the choices I make must reflect the value Adonai places on every created thing because that value is of the highest order. Life is to be preserved, protected, treated with kindness and compassion, love and mercy and justice. And often times, the smallest action on my part can lead to the biggest change for another.

Be careful how you live; you will be the only Bible some people ever read. -William J. Toms

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