Wednesday, March 2, 2016
When The Dark Mirror Suddenly Become Clear And You See Yourself
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
Why is it we, as Americanized Christians, always see ourselves as being part of those who fall under the "free" category? We've been set free by the truth (isn't that what the verse says in John 8:32?).
Why is we never see ourselves as not being completely free from wrong concepts, ideas and world views that we have allowed to form in our minds and hearts. We tend to use ourselves as the measuring rod for all scripture. Heaven forbid that we should still have anything wrong with our ideas or understanding of Scripture, or who God is, or what His desire is for us. "It doesn't matter how flawed my stinking thinking is....I'm under grace." We would have a hard time admitting that maybe some of our thoughts about God...relationship with Christ....church and what it truly is suppose to be....may not be completely in the scope or territory of right. Just saying...
After all we have a study Bible (even though we don't really study it)...The complete Time/Life Worship series on CD...even though we don't listen to them.....And we put $5.00 in the offering plate every Sunday without fail. How could we ever see ourselves as not being free? I mean come on! We've been saved.
Well, salvation is not the end, but only the beginning. Jesus never called people to "take up your cross and sit down and figure all this stuff out on your own." Didn't happen. Life/relationship with Jesus was about movement and following Him. It was a life of obedience, and such translates into our time and space the same as when He spoke the words back in Luke 9:23. Maybe I should expend myself on learning to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.....and then do what He tells me to do.
Following Jesus isn't about me coming up with my own translation of what He said in Scripture. It's about me allowing God's Holy Spirit to translate it for me. Isn't it funny how we try to upgrade scripture? We try to move Scripture into the 21st Century and make it relevant. We take Scripture and place it under one of three categories.
1.) It's metaphorical / God didn't really mean what He said...He's just putting it into a symbolic gesture so we could know what's going on.
2.) It's an example / God is trying to show us a deeper truth (sometimes the deep things of God are really not that deep. We want them to be so we can claim ignorance.
3.) It's true/ He said it....now go live it. What's more relevant to all who have been saved, than the simple call to follow? What is more relevant than the standard of obedience that we all have been called to embrace.
Relationship with Christ is not a spiritual free-for-all where we get to pick and choose like ordering from a Chinese menu. It is a life of denying self in order to embrace a life found in Christ. Not popular, but none the less true. You see, I've been directed down a rabbit trail that I never really wanted to go down. I'm seeing the religious me, and it's not a pretty picture. First off, I never considered myself to be religious. Let's clarify that term....religion. Religion is humanity expending themselves in order to get to God. Rules are drafted on how to accomplish this closing of the chasm between God and us. Some how we have created an american version of the life of a pharisee we read about in the New Testament. Religious rules have a tendency to fall into a long list of "DO NOT'S".
Somehow, with all the "Do not's", we wind up thinking that if we act a certain way, talk a certain way, then we are Holy and therefore, by sheer deduction, worthy of God. I found that I had certain views of the Kingdom and of God that did not line up with what Scripture said. So for the better part of the last 48 hours, I have been undoing, reading, and re-thinking some of my belief's.
I have come to a conclusion:
The tug of religion upon a heart, is as bad as the tug of sin. Each one seems to pull you away and get you caught up in things that have no relevance to a real relationship with Jesus. To me, the scary part in all of this, is that religion could be the most dangerous of the two. Religion leaves one with a wrong impression that they are holy and godly. When in fact, all that has been learned is how to jump through the hoops that are placed in front of them. God help us all!......m.b.
What is the central focus and theme that should be found in every church?
The instruction and teaching of the Word of God.
The teaching and instruction of what it truly means to be a disciple.
How to live as Christ would have us do.
I'm not so sure that I have always allowed that to be central to what I do.
I think maybe the church is afraid to let the Word stand central to who God has called us to be, as a people of His possession.
It might be that we need a balance between Word and Spirit. Sometimes we allow the scales to be tipped one way or the other.
I'm not one who puts the Holy Spirit on the back burner at the expense of the Word. Nor am I going to be silent on the Word so we all can experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Both are yoked for the benefit of the church. The Spirit opens my heart to the truth of the Word. The Word validates the voice of the Holy Spirit. Can't really have one without the other. Was that clear, or did I muddy the waters? I don't know that I'll ever get this relationship thing right until I find that balance in my life.
Trying to live a life of the Word without the Spirit is a dry, dead existence.
Trying to live a life of the Spirit without the Word is living with no foundation. Everything is based on feelings. Pretty soon the "Feeling" replaces the daily discipline we are called to follow. Such will lead us into dangerous territory.
We all need to take a look at what we believe.
We need to know if it is true or not....
Then we need to be about the business of living under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks for letting me ramble this morning.
God on you....
This is a reprint from August 2013. Why this one? Because we need not ever forget the character and love that this man possessed. What h...