By David Faust
Do you ever experience déjà vu—the eerie feeling that you have seen or experienced something before? Here’s a provocative idea: Have you ever experienced vuja de? That’s the ability to look at something familiar as though you have never seen it before.
In his book Seize the Vuja De (Missio Nexus, 2012), mission strategist Steve Moore advocates nurturing fresh ideas, engaging mavericks, venturing into new fields, and looking at familiar things in new ways.
A Fresh Look at Our Surroundings
Most of us could use a good dose of vuja de. With the passing of time, we grow accustomed to our surroundings and comfortable with the status quo. In the process we miss lessons we need to learn and changes we need to make.
Perhaps your workplace seems commonplace. Every day you see the same people, sit at the same desk, face the same set of problems. What might happen if you pray for the Lord to give you new insight into those familiar surroundings? How could you bring freshness, creativity, and a new attitude to the daily grind?
Perhaps your church building and your worship services seem familiar and comfortable to you. But what do first-time visitors notice? Is it easy for them to find their way around? Are they greeted warmly and sincerely? Is the physical setting free from litter, clutter, and out-of-date literature? Does your church need to discover new avenues for people to hear God’s Word and experience his grace?
A Fresh Look at Others
Jesus stirred vuja de in the people he encountered. He infused his teaching with fresh insights and challenged his followers to look at things in new ways. A mustard seed became an object lesson about faith. A farmer planting his crop in different kinds of soil became a tutorial about how the human heart responds to God’s Word. Lilies and birds became visual reminders of the worry-free life. A little child served as a seminar in spiritual maturity, a poor widow became a role model of generosity, simple bread and juice became enduring symbols of sacrifice and fellowship.
Jesus doled out unexpected blessings at every turn. He welcomed prostitutes, dined with tax collectors, befriended Samaritans, and showed kindness to those afflicted with leprosy and demon possession.
It shouldn’t surprise us, then, when Jesus calls his disciples to dole out unexpected blessings too. “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. . . . Give to everyone who asks you” (Luke 6:27-30).
Why would anyone do such things? Why go the extra mile, give the extra effort, endure the extra slight, suffer the extra pain, give the extra tip, bestow the extra blessing? Because of grace! We are saved by grace—“not by works,” but “to do good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10). When we see people, possessions, and problems through the lens of grace, everything changes.
Jesus asks, “If you love those who love you, what credit [literally in the original Greek, charis—“grace”] is that to you? . . . And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit [charis—“grace”] is that to you?” (Luke 6:32, 33).
The Hebrew prophet praised God and said, “You did awesome things that we did not expect” (Isaiah 64:3). When grace is more than merely a doctrine we believe and it becomes a lifestyle we follow, unexpected blessings are always the result.
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of The Lookout.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for June 30, 2013
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
2 Kings 16, 17
2 Kings 18, 19
2 Kings 20, 21
2 Kings 22, 23
2 Kings 24, 25