God is a strange dude.
He is working something so deep within me, and it hurts so much, but I can’t see what He’s doing. I’ve never experienced this before, be it directly, or vicariously through someone else. It’s like a churning and burning deep deep within me and I can only see the fruits of it occasionally blip up into the natural world. I kinda see one’s relationship with God as a series of stairsteps; as you mature spiritually, you ascend the steps. I feel like right now, God has brought me to a step that is very tall and not as tall as any I have encountered before. In short, God is putting me through a spiritual maturation process that is so vital and so extensive, he has had to take it into His own hands. Does that make sense? (I’m sure it does to all of you good ol’ Charismatic Calvinists out there)
In any case, whenever God is doing something like this in one’s life, Satan takes this as a chance to bring upon someone His greatest attacks. Thus, this has resulted in making me once more what I seem to be more often than I would like to be: broken, weak, attacked, and (in a word) “unspiritual.” Now, don’t worry, I am not falling into that victim mindset that so many of us fall into. After that night at Church hill (see May 30, 2005 post “just read”), I don’t think I could ever feel so victimized by God and/or Satan as way too many Christians usually do. The American church seems to live in a world that thinks Satan is sovereign and God is fighting a losing battle! Most Christians wouldn’t actually say they believe this, but their actions (and their eschatology) scream this. There is NO condemnation in Christ. One truth that is very comforting but hard to accept that I’ve been dealing with a lot recently is the truth that upon accepting Christ into your life, you are both as close to and far away from God as you will ever be. If our “closeness” to God was based at all upon our actions, it would remove the necessity for his grace at all. I’ve said this before, but we as Christians no linger preach salvation by works, but we are obsessed by sanctification by works. Both are lies of the devil. They are BOTH workings of Christ and Christ alone, not contingent upon our actions, positive OR negative. I see so many people falling into this vicious cycle over and over again of condemnation, stumbling, failure, condemnation, stumbling, and so on and so forth. The issue is we still think it’s a work of our own. Sure we have a responsibility, but the power and ability to make us into Christ’s image falls on God, not us. He “molds us,” and “purges us,” and “causes us to walk in His statutes.”
The issue is Lordship; how much we accept the sovereignty, power, and authority of God in our lives so that He can mold us as he pleases. All we need to do is submit, and allow Him to work by staying in the Word, in worship, and in fellowship with other believers. If we focus on GOD, not our sin, HE does everything else. As stated above, the real issue is Lordship. In that case, I have arrived at my small little platform for the evening. I am convinced the primary reason we struggle with Lordship is that we think we began the process of it. A couple of unfortunate cliches show this:
“I made Jesus Lord of my life”
— Really? I am sure He appreciates YOU making HIM Lord over something as if it wasn’t His in the first place.
“I found Jesus”
— Really? He was lost?
“Make a decision for Jesus Christ today”
— 1 Corinthians 2:14; “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
We (before salvation) are not ABLE to choose to accept the things of God, including salvation. There must be an effectual change by God in our very wills that causes us to draw near to Him and accept His word which will then build faith within us. If you followed what I said, then you will see the great mystery of this: HE affects our wills to give us the ability to choose that which we could not choose before, but the very work that he does to give us the ability to choose compels us in such a way to choose Him, there is no way a human being can not choose him if He has worked upon them in this way.
On my last little note, This one truth, though I only spent a short time backing it up and explaining it is the foundation to all things in Scripture. Upon being asked his name, God said that his name was “Yahweh, the Lord” (Exodus 3). Of all his attributes, that which he chose to present as His proper personal name was that of LORD. This should not discourage but rather encourage us. The very fact that He is in Lordship over all things should be the one rock upon we which we build all other things. When we realize salvation, sanctification, evangelism, discipleship, worship, spiritual disciplines, etc. are all nothing more than the natural outflow of our extended realization of Christ’s Lordship in our lives, it makes the Christian life so much more confident, stable, and victorious. So here is my advice to all of broken, bereaved, downtrodden, weak brothers and sisters out there:
Focus on God, not your sin, and He will take care of the rest. We have the victory over every kind of sin and evil power on this earth, we just need to realize and take a hold of it. The fact that “all authority in heaven and earth has been given to [Jesus]” (Matthew 28:18) is the realization that will set us free to do his will and finally get out minds and focuses off of ourselves and on where Christ commissioned them to be: on the world and the nations therein. So, let’s come together, body of Christ, in unity and power to set the nations free and stop worrying about our own little bit of sanctification, because we are as close to God now as we will ever be.
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming our Lord Jesus Christ. he who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” – Jude 24-25
God Bless as always,
p.s. – I will expound on the events that transpired this evening that brought about these musings at a later time, for neither the length of this post nor the time allow me to do so at this time.
p.p.s. – I must say, squeezable jelly is one of the greatest inventions ever, but the grape is too runny, and the strawberry is not runny enough.
p.p.p.s. – “Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:26. hey, you can’t argue with the word of God.