Is your robotic obedience to the statutes in the bible not bringing the desired result you expect? The problem may very well be that you are keeping the law instead of keeping the word. Have a listen!
Monthly Archives: November 2012
God stepped in and changed my life after eight years of spending my days in the futility of my own thinking and chasing after cleverly disguised foolishness. No more was He going to standby and allow me to waste all the ability and promise He had placed within me when He molded me. Instead, He used the veiled death trap of pride and fear I had unknowingly built around me to bring me to my knees. He gently and methodically unfolded the straight jacket that had constricted me, kept me in bondage, and restricted all freedom. I thought I was free but I was not; I thought I had the mind of Christ but I did not; any mind that is not the mind of Christ is the mind of bondage. Now that the shackles are gone, all I can do is give Him praise.
I caused death and destruction in my foolishness, but I know my Father who rescued me from myself is more than able to undo to the uttermost all the mess that my foolishness may have created in others.
He is God and so worthy to be praised. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Give it all to Him and He will turn your tragedy into a trajectory towards wholeness, beauty, and victory. He has and is doing it for me and will do it for you. He will not despise a broken and a contrite heart (Psalms 51:17).
My story is that of a Superchump – the state of a man who lives outside of Christ! But now, it has turned into that of living in Christ – thereby allowing Him to daily turn me into a champion for Him. I am not a good man but simply enjoying the goodness of God by daily crucifying myself so He may live in and through me.
The story begins with Diary of a Superchump, but I do not know where it ends! All I know is that the end of a matter is better than its beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8). I am walking a path that leads to nowhere I know but I am determined to walk it nonetheless for I know He who directs my path. I know the end is going to bring fame to my King. To Him belong all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise!
What is your story? What are you thankful for? What are you thanking Him for?
In life, while being offended is perhaps to some extent inevitable, holding onto offense is definitely avoidable and is a choice! If we are to neglect the fear-based folly of being easily offended, a deep look into why we hold onto offense reveals a prideful mind that thinks the world of ourselves or a mind that thinks the person who offended will get away with what they have done. So, many times we react in essence because deep down we think God’s justice is not quite just enough; we think that our justice is much more applicable and right, and we truly do not believe that the offender will reap whatever they sow! We tend to hold onto offense and act upon it when we cannot stand the thought of God being merciful to the person who has done us or our loved one’s wrong. Like Jonah, we would rather have the ‘Ninevites’ of our lives be judged and punished by our own measuring stick instead of God’s.
Our tendency to hold onto offense is born out of self-righteousness. When we say ‘I cannot believe this person did this to me; I must punish them by…’ we have become the judge. In becoming the judge, we have unconsciously taken the place of God and have unknowingly entered into pride. And because pride comes before destruction, it turns out that we punish ourselves by holding onto offense.
The bible warns of the folly of meting out our own justice in the story of Absalom (the son of David) and his brother Amnon. The scripture tells us that Absalom was bent on exacting the revenge he saw fitting on Amnon after Amnon had wickedly forced himself on Tamar (see 2 Samuel 13:32). Rather than wait on God’s justice to be done on Amnon, he determined after two years that he had waited long enough for the ‘just’ price of death to be paid by Amnon. Absalom simply could not wait on God’s timing nor was he willing to consider that death might not be the right price to pay.
While our human emotion and sentiment may tend to say that what Absalom did served Amnon right, the problem is that what he did also served him (Absalom) wrong. As a result of his justice, he broke the fellowship he had with his father (David), he caused division and turmoil within the family, he lost the good life he was enjoying in Jerusalem, and he had to flee in fear and live in fear of retribution. Yes, Absalom punished Amnon, but he also punished himself.
Conversely, David was a man whose heart was surrendered to God and so relied on God’s justice in God’s timing. Rather than take his opportunity to kill Saul (see 1 Samuel 26), David spared Saul who was a major source of offense to David and instead said in regards to Saul that ‘As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish’ (see 1 Samuel 26:10). Although David’s aide saw the opportunity to kill Saul as God’s diving intervention and blessing, David knew better. He knew exacting justice by his own means and in his own way would profit him nothing. Here is how things turned out: Saul did go out to battle and died as ordained by God – therefore, God’s justice was done in God’s way. Furthermore, David got the kingdom God he was promised by God without fear of retribution for Saul’s murder. Not bad eh?
Food for Thought: You do not like yourself too much if you hold onto offense
Every human being has a decision to make with regards to where he/she is going to live spiritually. We have to decide whether we are going to live in the world, in the law, or in the Spirit. Those that choose to live in the world are those that have chosen not to know about God and so live a life controlled by the river of this world which flows right towards the water fall of emptiness/deep spiritual void while bruising the individual with every inanimate object contained within the river. These are the people that have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For those of us that believe in Jesus Christ and have the Holy Spirit living in us, two options remain – whether to live in the law or live in the Spirit.
Wait you say! I thought that I am now living in the Spirit because I have accepted the Spirit. Not true! Paul tells us that if we have the Spirit, let us also walk (live) in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25). So there is a difference. Yes, we are given the Spirit upon believing with our hearts and confessing with our mouths (see Romans 10:9-10) but the glorious inheritance of the goodies of the kingdom of heaven which includes a life of love, joy, peace, self-control and much more are reserved for those who live in the Spirit. See, we do not miss the mark (sin) when we are walking in the Spirit for there is no sin in God; hence we only miss the mark when we are walking out of the Spirit. Note: Only Jesus was able to walk in the Spirit perfectly for He had no sin.
The snag today for too many of us is that we spend most of our time walking out of the Spirit and instead in the law. We think we are alright as long as we do not walk in the world. No! The law only condemns and brings death. We find that the incessant walking in the law results in the church body being very little different from the world – same lack of victory, same divorce rates, same lack of self-control, same fear projection and mongering! No wonder the influence of the church in many places seems to be dwindling. Part of the issue is our law-mongering which produces no tangible fruit for the world to be attracted towards!
Law mongering causes us to apply the word of God to our situation (most of the time based on our feelings) rather than allow God to speak His word to our circumstance. What is the difference you ask? The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness illustrates the difference: Although Satan and Jesus were both quoting from the scripture (law), only the scripture (law) that was given to Jesus by the Holy Spirit (Word) brought life. Conversely, the word spoken by the devil was obviously not from the Word (Holy Spirit). Thus, we see that the Holy Spirit speaks the ‘word of the law’ that brings life, but the devil speaks the ‘word of the law’ that brings death.
Likewise, we should not apply the word of the law as we ‘think’ it applies, but should allow the Holy Spirit to apply the word of the law that will bring liberty (instead of bondage). For example, we should not decide whether we are going to discipline our children (Proverbs 22:15) or pardon their offense (Colossians 3:21) but allow the Spirit of God to tell us which one we should do. See, both actions are scriptural, but only the one the Holy Spirit directs us to do for the specific situation brings life. If we are not living in the Spirit, we choose the word of the law to apply based on emotions, history, circumstance, and upbringing and so put ourselves into bondage when we invariably get it wrong.
So what is the point of the law? The law is useful for a myriad of reasons including testing of the spirits speaking to us. It lets us prove that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to us, for the Holy Spirit will not contradict what is contained within the bible. This is why Jesus says that He did not come to abolish the law! The law makes the nature of God tangible to us and allows us to choose Him.
In summary, to have life, we must be doers of the word instead of being doers of the law. We must allow the law to speak to us through the Holy Spirit rather than speaking and acting out the law to our circumstance. We must allow the Spirit to guide us through life and so enjoy the benefits of walking in the Spirit.
Food for Thought: Walking in the law is walking in the flesh; walking in the law makes us Pharisees.
What would a yo-yo say to us if it had a mind and could speak to us? I reckon five things it would say are as follows: (1) I spend all my time being a busy-body (doing one thing or the other) but I never get anywhere for I am bound by my string. (2) I am controlled by other people – mostly a young one who gratifies himself/herself with me and then dumps me as he/she grow up. (3) I am not a subject of interest for older and more mature folks. (4) I never build any long-lasting relationships. (5) I can’t make up my mind – one second I want to be up and the next I want to be down.
It is not good to be a yo-yo
Like a yo-yo, we can operate in indecision – continuing to dilly-dally in our thinking and so have no constancy of purpose in our lives. If we find that “God” continues to flood us with multiple, differing, and seemingly changing ideas that we do not have the time to bring to fruition, BE WARNED! This is not God (for our God is not flaky) but a god (an idol). This god has a name; it is called unbelief!
The scripture tells us that unbelief causes our days to be consumed by the futility of our minds (being bugged by everything, jumping from one idea to another, and relying on our own wisdom) and causes our years to be lived in fear (see Psalm 78:32 – 33). So what does this tell us? It says the following:
It tells us that instead of saying ‘I just can’t seem to focus’; we really ought to say ‘I just can’t seem to believe’. See, no one truly has a problem of focus. The problem we have is the span (length) of our focus and the number of things on which we tend to focus. Rather than focus on a myriad of things, the only thing God wants us to focus on is Him, for when we focus on Him, He focuses on us.
But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you – Matthew 6:33
When we focus on God, He focuses our mind on the good works to which He has called us; He simplifies our life; He shows us that our problems are miniscule to Him and gives us spiritual eyes to glimpse the future and hope He has for us through His Word. He rubs away our fear and futility
“…Lord, I believe, Help my unbelief…” – Luke 9:24
Challenge: Take a minute to focus on God today, and He will use that minute to change your day. Take a day to focus on God, and He will use that day to change your week. Take a few days to focus on God, and He will use those days to change the course of your life!