Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jesus and Freedom

I was listening to a YouTube video the other day of a guy speaking on freedom from sin.

One sentence in particular spoke volumes to me:

"Do NOT seek freedom (from sin); seek Jesus instead."

Wow! You know, it's never about resolve or law-keeping; it is always about setting your mind on God.

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."

We need to look for the Cause rather than the effect.

In fact, you could say that looking for freedom is the core issue with the law-keepers. They are searching for the effects of union with God rather than searching for God, and because of this, they never experience the union, thus never experiencing the fruit of the union. The law-keepers basically want to have children without first having a "union" with their partner. Not possible.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Know, Thyself.

You can't let people, no matter who they are, fashion for you an image of God. He is someone you have to see for yourself before you can fall nauseatingly in love with Him. Prior to my conversion to Christ, I hated church and Christianity all together. I let the country-style hymns, stained glass windows, and endless sermons on good behavior create for me an image of God. In the late winter or early spring of 2006, for whatever reason, I found myself sitting alone in my room, thinking. Thinking about God and heaven. What were they really like? There was no call for me from a preacher to come down the aisle and no resolve to dedicate myself or turn a new leaf over on life and begin to live as a good person (In that, I have failed miserably). Rather, for the first time, I thought of God in a new light. I really can't describe my train of thought at that time other than having the sudden idea that maybe God is something so much higher than what I had seen in church or from church-goers.

God will hold each person accountable for what they believe. You can't claim ignorance or play the victim of false or misleading teaching (though people who teach falsely will bear their own judgement). It will be every man's own fault for what he or she has allowed to shape their view of God.

If I could just get every man and woman to sit and to think for themselves for once in his or her life, I could convert millions. It doesn't matter so much as what I say but Who I point you towards. As Morpheus told Neo, "I can only show you the door; you're the one who has to walk through it." It's fitting in this case that Jesus refers to Himself in the Gospel of John as "The Door".

I don't think there is a man or woman, alive or dead, who, when presented with God in His true form, would not fall utterly in love with Him.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Two Options

I lament of my behavior quite often, but today is one of those days I came to myself. I am not esteemed by the Lord for my behavior, but by my faith.

Faith in Christ is the one and only thing you have as a believer that separates you from those outside. It's what God admires and loves about you; it's what pleases Him about you. He doesn't regard you according to your performance, but your faith. Faith is all you have, so be person of impeccable faith. Your behavior and your mood will rise and fall in this life. That is why the promise of eternal life is not granted to you through the currency of good behavior and generosity, but is freely given through placing your trust in Christ.

Mankind has two options with God:

1. Being a law-man


2. Being a faith-man

The law-man lives a life of ceaseless labor and doubt. You could say his good behavior locks him out from the kingdom. He lives only to glorify himself, while the person of faith lives to glorify God in Christ. And more than that...he also receives glory from God. Why? Because he dared to take the risk of escaping hell through something that seems like utter folly to the natural mind: simple trust.

Faith is the only obedience you have that merits anything with God.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Being Dead Feels Great

Having read about half of Ralph Harris' book, "God's Astounding Opinion of You", I've been reminded of truths I already knew, and have also been able to view already familiar scriptures in a new light. The chapter that Ralph used to give me new insight was the very beginning of Romans 7. Paul, in this letter is addressing both Jew and Gentile within one assembly and then speaks directly to the Jews who knew the law:

"Or do you not know, brothers...for I am speaking to those who know the law...that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?"

This simple verse amazed me. It's so simple that I can't believe I've overlooked it in the past. Or maybe I knew it before but had forgotten. Or...it could be I knew it and still required further persuasion from the scriptures to really believe it.

The law only has power over me if I am alive. If I die, the law ceases to mean anything to me because I'm dead. What use has the law in condemning a dead man? Paul says this is literally true for the Christian. The Christian literally died with Christ on that cross so that the law could no longer have a right to judge him.

It apparently pleases God to make it so that I do not have to keep the commandments. It pleased Him! If it were not pleasing to Him, He would not have done it. What!? Are you advocating my sin, God!? Nope. He's advocating ME.

It pleases God that I don't need to worry about being good anymore. It pleases Him that He doesn't need to worry about me being good anymore. He did this so that He could have a relationship with me. If I were under the law, even just a little, so that I could try to be somewhat good, He could not justly allow me to partake of Him.

This seems so irresponsible of God. You're going to make me free? ME? I think you may be a bit too trusting, God. I'm liable to tear this place apart. But apparently it's not as big a concern to Him as it is to me. Why? Because He has already dealt with sin and judgement.

Up until now, I would shun well-intended encouragement from other Christians who would tell me "God's not as concerned about your sin as you think." This was an offense to me. Of course He is! I thought this was just some way to lie, to make me feel better and give an excuse to my sin. Now I understand what they mean. It's God's desire not to hold my sins against me. He enjoys it because that means I can be entirely devoted to Him without the fear of being cast off.

This may not be a big revelation to you, but it was to me. And it's good for me to think on this and write about it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Downton Abbey

I've recently finished the first season of Downton Abbey and I have to say that it's the best television series I've ever watched. The setting, the stories, the characters, the acting, all of it. I love it. It inspires you to hope and to embrace humility. It gives you those genuine feel-good moments. For this reason, I intend on picking up my first blu-ray player along with the series. I HIGHLY recommend it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I had real joy and contentment.

Not because of what I had, but because of where my mind was set. I was not addicted to anything, nor did I crave anything but I was free to enjoy anything. I remember I was making a lot of progress in my attitude and my relationships. If I was addicted to anything, it was a cup of hot tea or coffee, and those I had learned to enjoy thoroughly. I was accustomed to setting my mind on good things; things that were honorable and beautiful.

One night, by obligation and fear of saying no, I left it all in misplaced faith; I thought the doctrine was good, though I had my reasons to question.  The outside looked so healthy. I was enticed by the promise of godliness but I was wrong. IT was wrong. It was the first time I remember letting my anger rise up in a long, long time. The former things that had become like distant dreams were now resurfacing. I was lied to. I was told to let go and let God. But I'm not a puppet, and the presence of sin will always remain in this body until the resurrection. There is another principle at work that is opposed to good and to let your guard down is a lie from Satan. I should have listened to the words from scripture:

"Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."