Note: I am re-reading Dallas Willard’s book, The Divine Conspiracy. Over the next several weeks I’ll be posting my reflections as I make my way through a book that changed my life nearly a decade ago.
Last week I said, What Jesus Knew: Our God-Bathed World, is one of the most important chapters in Willard’s book. Namely because he gives us a vision for putting our confidence in Jesus Christ—crucial for anyone who really wants to follow him. Here are further reasons why we can trust Jesus with our lives.
1. God Wants to be Seen
God isn’t hiding from us. He wants to be seen, but in the spiritual realm we don’t see things the same way we do with the naked eye. Part of seeing God is desiring to see him.
Persons rarely become present where they are not heartily wanted. Certainly that is true for you and me. We prefer to be wanted, warmly wanted, before we reveal our souls—or even come to a party. The ability to see and the practice of seeing God and God’s world comes through a process of seeking in intimacy with him. (p. 77)
2. God is Not in “Space”
If you go looking for God in “outer space” you won’t find him (e.g. the Orion Nebula). However that doesn’t mean God isn’t there. God operates in a realm that we can’t see with our finite vision.
… the air our body requires envelops us in every hand. To receive it we need only breathe. Likewise, “The air’ which our souls need also envelops all of us at all times and on all sides. God is round about us in Christ on every hand, with his many-sided and all-sufficient grace. All we need to do is to open our hearts. (p. 78)
3. We See with God
One of the reasons people reject Jesus’ teachings, is because they can’t see his world. In Jesus’ world things don’t work the same way the do in our world, e.g. the widow who gave all she had. Foolish to our world, not to God’s world.
It was of greater value. More value was done with the widow’s pennies than with the “large” gifts of others. The context of the Kingdom Among Us transforms the respective actions. Little is much,’ we say, “when God is in it.” And do it is. Really. (p. 88)
4. The Great Inversion
At the very heart of the Gospel is the “Great Inversion” where Jesus turns everything right side up, e.g. the Widow’s offering, Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard or the mustard seed.
To become a disciple of Jesus is to accept now that inversion of human distinction that will sooner or later be forced upon everyone by the irresistible reality of his kingdom. How must we think of him to see the inversion from our present viewpoint? We must, simply accept that he is the best and smartest man who ever lived in this world, that he is “even now” the prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5). Then we heartily join his cosmic conspiracy to overcome evil with good. (p. 90)
5. The Smartest Man
That last passage is one of my favorites. The truth is, we don’t think of Jesus as smart. According to Willard, failing to do so, limits our ability to put our confidence in Jesus.
He is not just nice, his is brilliant. He is the smartest man who ever lived. He is now supervising the entire course of world history (Rev. 1:5) while simultaneously preparing the rest of the universe for our future role in it (John 14:2). He always has the best information on everything and certainly also on the things that matter most in human life. (p. 95)