Saturday, August 04, 2012

This ain't your momma's theology lecture

I have entitled this entry with a sense of humor, but please beware that this blog encompasses a very serious issue. The title was meant to, actually, be more of a warning. I don't claim to be some theologian saint, nor do I claim to have an abundance of answers (just an abundance of Grace). Sweetheart, this is merely me, sitting here with the next guy, discerning the will of God in my life today. Lord, have mercy on me!

I want to place my words very carefully, so please be patient with me. At the very heartbeat of this entry is the gentle chastising of my own foibles lately, as received from my Heavenly Father lately. 
I read something and feel one way, I watch a news clip and feel another. {Sometimes I have even felt lukewarm simply because I can't decide my stance on an "iffy" issue (don't misunderstand that please) I merely mean to say that some believers take one stance, and others take another and I find it hard to place my allegiance with one or the other} Yet, interestingly as both of these emotions have been fighting for my heart, I pray and I see much clearer. I fight to bring clarity to the bondage of emotional, mental, and spiritual calamity that is this world I am living in. "Stop the madness" my heart says..
Tolerance, intolerance, right, wrong, fair, equal rights, choice, love, hate, opinion, born that way, abomination, evil, neutral, bigotry, chick-fil-a, conscience rights...words, words, words. World, world, world (interesting isn't it?) 

So join me, if you like, to clarify where it is I need to be to line up under the word and authority of the Lord God Almighty. That's where I want to be. I have no hope of leading another to His Grace if I myself am not at the very center of it. And after all, that is what we are called to do...become fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)

"Dress down your pretty faith, give me something real
Leave out the Thee and Thou and speak to me now
Speak to my pain and confusionSpeak through my fears and my pride" 

Sara Groves - Awakening 

I'm so thankful for Greater Grace (James 4:6) , aren't you? the way, more on James 4 later. I'm so glad that all it takes is for us to get out of the way and let Him in for things to be made whole again. But alas, if it were just that simple we wouldn't have needed a spotless Lamb. We've been given a multi-faceted companion in His very legacy of defeat over the grave. Daily I find myself flying off the handle, judging, lying, coveting, gossipingfloundering in a pit of lost...but the single greatest thing has happened. I have been rescued. I have been given greater grace simply by the wholesome salvation that I have in Christ Jesus. 

Back on track,

To truly love someone as Jesus did - you must truly be concerned about the condition of their heart, their soul, their life. Love them, but disciple them. Society (all of it) only wants you to believe that this must be polarized. I say, enough. Love and Absolute Truth does, in fact, go hand in hand - because God created both concepts.

We are called to completely deny ourselves and this ole world...every day. Jesus says, "For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:36-38)...Bone chilling isn't it?

James 4: "Adulteresses! Don't you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world's friend becomes God's enemy. Or do you think it's without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously? But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, double-minded people!" (vs 4-8)

What is the purpose of this?? Christ can love us entirely while being made physically ill over the sin that we welcome through our blatant rejection of purity, truth, and fulfilling love only found in Him. "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth." - Jesus (Revelation 3:18)

Neutrality is the single most effective tool the enemy has over you.The Medieval poet, Dante Alleghieri (1265-15321), is supposed to have said that ‘the hottest places of hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.' (by the way, JFK was said to have quoted this)

What moral issue are we as the church remaining "neutral" about? Human trafficking, abortion, addictions? Sexual perversion: pornography, premarital sex, homosexuality? What will you do to stand up? Note, stand up does not mean HATE. But, standing up for God's Word and standing up for the purity of other's (whether they are lost in sin or saved in it) hearts, to truly love, to lay down our pious, righteous banners, tweets, and movements all to stand up with convicting selfless faith in Him. We are sorely out of turn if we point the finger...we are a merely here to represent Christ's open arms. We are called to live under the truth that by His stripes we are healed (from sin, disease, infestation of death...)

Oh, but, too often, we back Jesus Christ into this corner of being this soft, cuddly, pushover. He spent His time on earth doing many things (reaching out to sinners, like you and me, as well as portraying the manifest deity of God in and through His own hands via miracles)...but let's not overlook one GRAND SCHEME of His walk on earth. To be God on earth. FULLY GOD (as only God could rectify the "situation".... To expound, we often label Jesus the Son as the peace-loving hippie brother, and God the Father as the Righteous Father, and further the Spirit as the middle sibling that just wants to keep the peace in the household. Oh my. May we truly see them as a real tri-unified embodiment of Creator - Judge - Covenant Maker - Salvation Bringer - Soul lover - Messenger - Healer - Sovereign Lord over all. There is no separation where one ends and the other begins. Jesus will be the ultimate Judge according to the will of the Father - stay with me - See John 5 (vs 16-30).

This is why Jesus was the Worthy Lamb to come inhabit earth with the very sinners He would soon die to save. He is the very atonement of our sins. He is the very redeemer of our lies, murders, curses, condemnations...He pays for us to be His own because He knows what His judgment will mean. He knows, trust me, He new it all along - especially when He, who knew no sin, became sin - just so we could be His righteousness. 

Keep up...

Jesus didn't just spend time with sinners just to show that He loved them. He spent time with them to heal them, to deliver them, and to tell them to follow Him. He came into their lives so they would never be the same. But just like the rich young ruler, people rejected His truth. Just like the Pharisees, and Satan himself, people used political correctness to find him in fault. Be careful where we allow our allegiance to lie. We are called to love God (first) and to love people (which will come from the overflow), and to make disciples.  We must be careful we are not living with earthly eyes. We cannot judge the world for their "lostness," but we cannot allow the Word of God to be perverted. When we allow the world to mock God's Word and we do not hold fast to His Scriptures we defile the very covenant we claim to be a part of.

So why is all of this even important? Well, for starters...let's look at Isaiah 48..where the Lord has to explain to the Israelite just why they are in the predicament they are in..

I am Yahweh your God,
who teaches you for your benefit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
If only you had paid attention to My commands. 
Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. 
Your descendants would have been as countless as the sand, and the offspring of your body like its grains: their name would not be cut off or eliminated from My presence. 
(Isaiah 40:17-19 HCSB - my exaggeration) 


I know that everyone has their own passions on drives, but I also know that many people remain neutral on one of the most crucial topics that faces our world today. This is what I call, a passion for neutrality. We duck our heads and head for cover when the issues get too hard to sort out. Or when they get too hard to stand up for what we know is right.

Jesus blood never fails to stand up for what is right. If we are covered in His lavished Grace than we will truly be able to conceptualize loving others all the way to the cross where we find that His sacrifice calls us to repentance (to turn away from or sin. to deny ourselves. to take up our cross and to follow Him.)

Only Jesus can make beauty out of our ashes. But we have to give him our ashes in order for him to transform them. The world doesn't know that...this is why are called to preach Him to the ends of the earth. In spirit and in truth with the over abundance of love that He has implanted inside our very beating heart. 

"For when the Pharisees saw Jesus dining with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked "Why?!" When Jesus heard this He simply said," Those who are well don't need a doctor, but the sick do." Matthew 9:16-17

1 comment:

Laura Prater said...

Beautiful, thought provoking, inspiring, and a better way of putting into words what has been in my heart, too. I am trying to seek God in this public dispute, let all the dust settle, but find opportunities to exalt Him holding on to Absolute Truth without having judgement in my heart. Loving, yet wanting to have a way to show Jesus and bring Him glory because He did come to restore and to heal us from all sin.