Thursday, November 15, 2007

Confusing the Goodly With The Godly?

This is a continuing reflection from the previous two posts...

Many of us grew up in church, and that's a good thing..... but.... many like us fall prey to problems. Probably the biggest danger that those brought up in church will experience is the belief that growing up in church makes us a Christian. In other words, our ticket got punched
after all those years of perfect Sunday school attendance and we're registered in the Book of Life automatically without actually having our own personal conversion experience and daily walk with the Savior.

In today's world, more people than not feel "good enough" to enter into God's heaven. Many are quick to say that they have never broken the commandments, always abided by the law... and,well, they've never really killed anyone. All that being said (and most likely true) that is NOT what God is looking for, and honestly if you understand Christ, it shouldn't be what you're looking for either. FATHER, GIVE ME THE WORDS.

If we are quizzed long enough we might be surprised to find that we all mostly agree with this statement: that we agree with the "spirit of the law" more so than with many of the actual laws.
That's because laws are of no value until they are broken. It is then that a price that must be paid. Actually, doing what is right usually protects us from the breaking of any laws. One reason why God gave us the law through Moses so that we could live together, amongst ourselves, with rules that steer us to live good-neighborly... but He never intended that law-keepers, or even those who grew up churched could, in that alone, be saved. Just because you haven't been caught breaking a law doesn't mean that you haven't broken the law.... remember that spirit of the law thing?

That point that I made about the danger of growing up in church..... We often times mistake living within the law ( i.e. the church attendance ticket punch) as the same thing as Christ living within us. The difference is an eternity apart.... and I’m afraid, that many have not dealt with it. Please do not be so foolish (and proud) enough to think that living a "goodly" life is the same thing as living a "Godly" life.

Don't you remember thinking on how "restrictive" all those 'Thou shalt nots..." sounded. Yet, almost every evangelist you ever heard would belt out the phrase....' the Truth will set you free'. RESTRICTIVE vs FREE !? Are we confused yet? (Point to remember: confusion is of the devil, not of God). But the Good News (did you know that is what the word “gospel” means) is that you can know the Person, also known as the Truth, also known as the Good News who is the "Spirit" of the law. The One and only Jesus Christ. His entire life, death and resurrection was prophesized centuries before His birth and His life exampled what living with God is all about.

So it can be said this way, if we live being good without knowing God personally, our good will not be good enough to have our name recorded in that Book of Life I mentioned earlier. Sadly, we live in a time where even the churched are not receiving from our pulpits the needed call for repentance because we don't like to hear or think that we've ever done anything wrong. We can't be sinners.... We haven't killed anyone.... right? We are quick to point at others to offer our lives in contrast to theirs. Our aim is too low! We are told to compare our lives with Christ, He is the standard..... not the Billy Grahams’of this world! Do churches really teach people how and why to “pick up your cross” and follow Him?

Anyone been crucified lately for loving others???

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's Personal for The Father & The Son

For years between my youth, when I was fully involved with church and my return to a life with faith, I would often tell anyone who asked that my faith was "personal". Of course that was my way of sidestepping any religious questions from inquiring minds. the funny thing is.... our faith
is personal, as in, a personal relationship with Jesus. That little thing, a personal relationship, is difficult for many to grasp, when in reality relationships are the one thing we do with ease..... "please Father give me the words".

You see, religious types are so often very much tied to being "religious"... which can be a very dogmatic and hard way to live. You've seen these folks, they don't smile and there appears to be no joy in their lives. I've heard a Christian comic (and yes there are some) say that when these dour-faced types proclaim to be Christians, he implores them to please not tell anyone because they could scare people away! Having said that let me also muddy the waters of understanding by saying there is a place for the law... but... for Christians IF one lives by the words accredited to and the life exampled by Jesus, Christians would not have a problem with breaking the law.... whether it be God's or man's.

Have you ever done anything that hurt someone who loves you? A parent, a grandparent, spouse, child......a close friend? Hopefully when you realized the hurt you inflicted on them you went to them and asked for their forgiveness. Having done so, you found joy in being reunited with that loved one. (Remember that Sunday school lesson of the prodigal son?) The father in that story was looking for that wayward son to return and when he saw him in the distance the father ran to meet him, embraced him and brought him back into the family... much to the chagrin of the "by the book", legalist, older brother.

I've often told others that our relationship with God is like that... that personal... and that close. Have you ever wondered why God would come to earth, subject Himself to the meanness of this world if He didn't need to?? That's the point....HE NEEDED TO, HE CAME TO MEET US!!! Yes for us... but also from the very beginning He created us to have a relationship with Him.... He desired to have a relationship with us! He loved us before we even knew Him. Isn't that how a family comes into being. I can remember thinking after the birth of our children.... this must be how God loves us.... one day I never knew my son or daughter then the next day,they meant the world to me.

We mean the world to Him.