Engagement

 Above Aspen by Gillham

Above Aspen by Gillham

It hurts to be dismissed, discounted, or ignored. When this occurs, the person doing the belittling is disrespecting you. 

To be disrespected is to be cast as less than, inferior, not worth attention, and suited only to a lesser task than the one at hand or the one in keeping with your destiny. There are big dismissals and smaller ones but each involves a turning away, a condescension, an ignoring of who you are, and what you bring to the table. 

I spoke recently on the passage in Isaiah 1:18 where Isaiah quotes God saying, "Come. Let us reason together." The grammar of the verse is written such that the probability of a reasonable conversation occurring is doubtful. Even though God states His intention--"come"--the chances of a genuine exchange occurring are questionable. 

The speculation in the verse is not to be laid at God's feet. He has shown up and is expressing His full intent. He is clear: He wants us to come and reason with Him*. 

The reason the passage is doubtful is because Isaiah doesn't know if we will engage or not. Isaiah does not presume to know, or even anticipate, that we will come as God requests. And while God knows whether we are going to show up and engage with Him or not, He doesn't force us to do what He requests. He respects us enough, in other words, to not force us, but rather leave engagement in our hands. 

More often than not, when passages of Scripture request something of us--either implied or directly--the grammar is subjective and the clue that this doubt exists are the words, "let us."

What is best may be apparent. What God wants may be evident. But this doesn't mean we who are in full possession of a free and unencumbered willfulness to do as we please will engage. 

"Come. Let us reason..." but there is no guarantee we will believe God and step up to reason with Him. 

"If we live by the Spirit, let us keep step with the Spirit," Paul writes in Galatians 5:25. That we live by the Spirit is a fact. That we will keep step with Him is speculative waiting on our decision to step out, in step, or not. 

"The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light" (Rm. 13:12). The night is not only gone, it is way gone, and a new day has dawned. What we will do in response to this fact remains to be seen. 

If God didn't respect us, He would require that we approach Him as though He was King and we were serfs awaiting His expressed wishes. If He didn't intend a partnership, the Spirit would be under orders to take over regardless, irrespective of our complicity and without regard for questions. If God did not respect us, He would blind us with the light instead of illuminating our options. If God did not respect us, there would be no option for communication, relationship, or the mutual respect indicative of family and friendship. 

God has paved the way to Him through the extravagant and completed work of Jesus Christ. As a result of our reconciliation, He invites us to engage with Him. Any time. Any place. Any occasion. Just come on, He indicates, and so without hesitation. 

Where God is and what He expects is known.

What remains is whether or not you will engage with Him or not. 

* If you want to see what conversation, or reasoning, or even disputing with God looks like, I suggest the book, No Mercy