The wild, wild wilderness…

Namibia-desert

I felt like I needed to capture some thoughts bouncing around before I lose them, especially in regards to the recent “wilderness” assignment I have been loathing…

Yea I know good Christians are always cheerful about what the Lord is doing in their life…but I’m to honest to be a good Christian, sorry you can live with it and love me, or not.

Anyway for longer than I want to think about (many, many months now) I have been on a journey and the best descriptor available is “map-less in the wilderness”.

In the first few months I literally saw (for real, even killed a couple , one with my sandal) more vipers/poisoness snakes than in the previous 20 years combined…

The wilderness is wild, by definition.

Anyway I have discovered the fastest way to get here is let the Holy Spirit drive, hand Him the keys and then buckle up because He likes to go fast (mighty RUSHING wind)…and frankly I am not seeing a whole lot of the church doing this, so the wilderness is kinda vacant…probably by design.

The Bible says the Holy Spirit “drove” Jesus into the wilderness…and David was driven to exile in the wilderness by a mad king and the demise of his empire on the looming horizon.

At fist glance it seems kind of sadistic, morbid, “angry-God-like” to assume that the wilderness is to test you…but I am beginning to adjust my perspective a little and I no longer see it that way.

The testing comes AFTER a season in the wilderness, the actual test is probably near the end of the journey, and if you do a little study of ALL the guys God drove out here you will find in every case the major test came after the season of isolation and exile…

So that got me thinking…whats the point? Why send every one of your major movers into the wilderness? (Moses, Paul, Jesus, David, Elijah, etc…) Even the nation of Israel was first led to the wilderness before they came to the land of promise…and it was that thought that opened up a new paradigm for me…

I am beginning to understand that the wilderness is a huge isolated place of exile intentionally, and the intention is to open you up on the inside…its to get you ready for the promised land…God wants your internal environment to match the external one so that you are enlarged to receive the promise.

If you look at the questions asked here they are all related to identity…Mo asked the bush “Who are You?, then “Who am I”? The devil challenged Jesus identity, “If you are”…David was the anointed King yet there he was wandering about the back side of the desert surely asking God who he was himself…

If you haven’t gotten down to those core questions about who He really is, and who you are as well, I suggest you’re to close to civilization…

The wilderness is where God reshapes our identity, giving us a new name, and releasing us into an entirely different landscape with Him, He wants to know you in a different way which means you have to meet Him in a new environment.

The painful side of it is letting go of old identities, releasing them back to Him, but the pain is only because we don’t trust Him, He gave us those identities to begin with, He can re-gift them at the right time, and many of those things go beyond labels  they are who we have become, so really you never truly leave them, you just leave the emphasis of them.

I will always be a worship leader because I will always lead worship as I have done for years, not on a stage somewhere, but instead in private, times of devotion and war, I am a worshiper its who I am, not a job description or title, I am Mark the worshiper and I have a distinct identity in heaven as Mark the worshiper, they know me there and I know it…but I am no longer “dutified” with the responsibility of leading a congregation each week and planning/training/whatever…that goes with it.

Jesus was able to multiply the bread because He had become the living bread and had denied the shortcut of doing it from the wrong identity in the wilderness…it was no big deal to multiply something he was because in the wilderness He had given that to the Father…

So this is a bit of a meandering pre-able to the “Joy of Wilderness wildness”

Just a final thought that challenges me…I think the wilderness is supposed to be a place of joy…it is an upgrade from the identity of who you have been, what that means is God is “adding to” your identity not “taking away”, remember Jesus is “The Door”, “The Way”, “The Good Shepherd”,”The Son of Man”, “The Lamb of God”, “Emmanuel”, “Etc…ad infinitum” Jesus as our example has multiple identities as do we all, most of us though…get caught up in one or two and stop there, how bored God must be with all that, so He sends us to the wilderness to enlarge our identity.

Israel missed the lesson and remained stuck in a small identity until a generation died off, so apparently the maximum velocity allowed is the speed of generations…selah.

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2 thoughts on “The wild, wild wilderness…

  1. “God wants your internal environment to match the external one so that you are enlarged to receive the promise.” Profound. This whole writing is profound. Thank you for sharing the journey, Mark. You give new context to the unfamilar and unknown… that God-called place outside our comfort zone… a sense of the “why” and the ultimate outcome makes it less scary…

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