I love the spirit of adventure. The Sierra Nevada mountains are in my backyard. I see them everyday. I see the purple majesty of sunrise and the colossal sunsets when there are just a few clouds hugging the granite peaks. I find myself daydreaming about those who came before us. How did they find their way? How did they survive from water hole to water hole? How did they find enough food for the long journeys? How did they find their way through the mountains? Every canyon looks like a way across but very very few actually provide a passageway. I think that it took a special kind of person to navigate such a beautiful but treacherous landscape. That is the real spirit of adventure. That is often what we call the American Spirit. Over the years it has grown into a saying: “A Can-Do Attitude.” That phrase is actually in the dictionary.
Can-do: characterized by eager willingness to accept and meet challenges <a can–do attitude>
Employers will attempt to motivate us by calling forth our “can-do” like this poster which was actually displayed in the Westinghouse plants during WW II and over the last two decades has become an iconic symbol.
God actually gave us that desire. He would call it creativity, ingenuity, a survival instinct. The problem is when man ate from the wrong tree in the Garden of Eden everything got messed up. Our “can-do spirit” is a created part of us that is “in the image and likeness of God.” He gave it to us, however, intending a relationship, community, intimacy…total dependency on Him. Our creative spirit can see the impossible and imagine it as possible like crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains. In God’s reality all things are possible. When we are dependent and connected with Him, His life becomes our life. His reality becomes our reality. His possible becomes our possible. Our impossible becomes probable. Mountains get moved with a prayer. That is pretty awesome.
Apart from God however our can-do attitude is what gets us into trouble. When you apply the law to a creative spirit it will be met with rebellion. Think about it for a minute. The law (specifically the Law of Moses) is a measuring stick. The law has no power to do anything. The law is only a mirror to look into for evaluation. Also the law is a list of death, not life or creativity. It is a list of “don’t do this or this.” The creative spirit is stifled and will find another way to be satisfied.
Also when we don’t have God, His provision, His Grace, we are found wanting. We live from lack. We never have enough. We are empty in ourselves and selfishly find ways to satisfy our desires. That is called sin. Sin is a product of lack. Sin is a fruit. Sin is a result of trying to satisfy a hunger that God gave us with something of self and not of Him. Your creative spirit, your imagination, your dreams, your can-do was intended to be fueled with and co-labor with God. He is the ultimate creator. He is the ultimate provider. He created us to need Him for everything and create stuff out of nothing. I don’t know about you but that is really exciting.
Now can you see that when you take a human, a fallen Adam and you lay on some deception from the devil that says God hates us and religion wants to control us and bla bla bla…we are stuck in a very broken place. God calls it bondage to Sin. We are slaves to ourselves, our self-nature, our desires and the enemies’ deception. When we add some law on top of that…boom!!! In the end you have two choices, come to the end of yourself or claim self-righteous (deceived) victory in pride.
Now insert Jesus. All is made right. All is renewed. The captives are set free. Our original design is restored. We are reconciled. All the prices are paid. We are in a perfect, right relationship (righteousness) with God because of God and from God through Jesus. He does it all and finally we get to create again. Whew……. God is good. Our can-do becomes “we get to.” Our desire to create is His place for creation. Our spirit of adventure is His boldness to bring goodness. Our ingenuity is His way to change the planet. Come on! Us in Him and Him in us and…
Here are a couple of passages that illustrate this idea.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (ESV)
Paul understood this concept very well. He recognized that our lack was God’s opportunity. When we know that we know we can’t do it, He does it. Why? Because we let Him. It really is that simple.
Phil 3:¹ ² I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing , but I run with passion into His abundance so that I may reach the destiny which Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. ¹ ³ I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. ¹ ⁴ I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. (Passion Translation)
This is one of those great mysteries of God. We were always intended to be in Him and Him in us. We were intended to co-labor. We were intended to be inseparable. We have to get back to that understanding. We have to let Him transform our minds from lawyers to lovers.
Col 1:² ⁶ There is a divine mystery— a secret surprise that has been concealed from the world for generations, but now it’s being revealed, unfolded and manifested for every holy believer to experience. ² ⁷ Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory! This mystery of Christ, embedded within us, becomes a heavenly treasure chest filled with the riches of glory for His people, and God wants everyone to know it! (Passion Translation)
I’ll leave you with one last thought. I believe the “fear of the Lord” is our incompleteness in the presence of His completeness. I believe the fear of the Lord is recognition of our lack of trust in the presence of trustworthy. I believe the fear of the Lord is our total inadequacy, our lack in the presence of infinite abundance. The crazy thing is He intended for us to have all of Him in Him while He is in us. Jesus. Just like Jesus. Jesus had the right Can-Do Attitude.