3.08.2017

Conversation #204: My Jesus...

Oh Facebook and social media of all kinds...we have a love hate/relationship.  Lately, these days, I feel it is more hate only because I allow myself to be depressed by things I see.  I recently told someone the other day that I had lost faith in humanity, and then it hit me, that is exactly where I should be.  We are a fallen people in a fallen world, and I should have NO faith in humanity.  Why did that take me 30 years to figure out?

So there has been a lot of political/social stuff swirling around, and division among Christians, and I hate it.  Like I said, I have no faith in humanity and realizing that was a good reminder it should ALL be in the Lord.  Even though there are definitely things going on in this world that reject the truth of the Gospel, Jesus, the thing that scares me the most these days is the phrase I alluded to in the title: "my Jesus wouldn't believe this" or "I can't follow a God that would say that" or "I just don't believe writers of the Bible would say that today because culture is different."

Those phrases terrify me, sadden me, anger me, but also enlighten me.  How can we reach a fallen world if we don't know where people stand on things, what they believe?

So here is what I say to that: there is only ONE Truth.  Yes, people have always interpreted the Bible differently, correctly and incorrectly I am sure, but the fact remains that my Jesus is your Jesus.  He doesn't change.  We may all have different relationships with Him because those are quite personal, but he is relational not relative.  His truth, the Bible, they don't change.  My faith and relationship has grown so much over the last few years especially, but Jesus didn't change.  He didn't used to tell me something I did was sin but now it isn't. He didn't tell me this was truth for me, but for that person it isn't.  Instead, He has revealed more of His truth to me, expanded it, not changed it.

Sin is sin.  We all do it...daily.  So I get scared when I start hearing people, especially people of influence, touting what their Jesus believes and what parts of the Bible they think He would change or leave out these days.  If that were true, then nothing is true...the very definition of truth would cease to exist because truth is fact not feeling.  It isn't relative.  Trust me, I struggle with fact versus feeling almost daily.

From 2 Timothy 3:10-17:
10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love,[g]perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is [h]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [i]training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Also, just so we are clear, I have no problem loving people who believe differently than me, being friends, sharing life together.  However, if someone is speaking falsely in accordance with the Bible, the inspired word of God that He left for us, then I can't remain silent because that could lead some one down a path far from Jesus and His saving grace.  That is why I care about any of this.

I have learned so much about the Holy Spirit and seeking Him daily and trying to be silent so I could hear Him speak, and I struggled with that.  How do I know I am hearing him?  How can I be sure of what He is telling me?  A mentor/friend told me, "you have to test it against the Word of God.  If it conflicts with that, then it isn't from Him."  For some reason, I feel like many things are being said in the context of Christianity that don't hold up against His word; we try to justify sins as not sins, and when we do that, we nullify the greatest gift and sacrifice ever given to us in Jesus Christ.  His death was in vain.  We reject him.  If I am not sinning, why then do I need a Savior?

Also, another thing I hear often is some simplified version of the greatest commands Jesus gave us:

Mark 12:30-31New International Version (NIV)
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”
Yes, we need more love in this world, but then my question is this: what is true love?  Another call to Christians I feel like I here right now is to just love people where they are.  And, first, absolutely.  I firmly believe God gave the call to Believers to care for the widowed, the orphaned, the marginalized (not our government).  We need to go and love; I need to go and love more.  However, I feel like that is being confused with going and condoning, meaning that there is a shying away of calling out sin and giving people the life-giving news that they don't have to live in the bondage of sin anymore because of Jesus.  Instead it seems there is a movement to go and just love people in their sin and leave them there. It feels to me that we are leaving out the rest of the Gospel...the part that brings freedom.  Why?

Life is hard and seems so very volatile these days.  There is a lot to wrestle with these days.  However, wrestling with the tough stuff is how we grow.  One thing I have learned over the years was that when I believed something incorrectly or was misguided, it wasn't because I read the Bible wrong but generally that I hadn't actually studied that part at all but rather listened to others.  So, my plea to you is not to let others be your only spiritual guide.  Sure, God rises up those with great insight, but we still need to dive into the Word and seek the truth ourselves because Satan also influences false teachers.

So again, let me clarify something, I do not want to be your spiritual guide or leader.  That is not why I wrote this.  I am not a well-studied student of Theology.  I am full of questions.  I just read my Bible and pray and ask and pray and wrestle and pray and try to understand the words of God more and more.  The point of this post is partially to get it out of my head because it helps me organize and work through my thoughts, but to plea to everyone to pick up the Bible and read it.

Therefore, I have been following a study this year of reading through the entire Bible.  The last few years in this world have left my mind spinning, and I honestly don't know what to think about a lot of issues anymore. I felt it was time I needed to go back to the one Truth and read it from the Bible from God and listen to what He is saying in His word.  I have to say, so far, it has been eye opening.  It has been so long since I have read some parts of the Bible that I find myself saying, "wait, what?!"  The amount of sticky notes now flooding the pages with more questions and thoughts I have is comical.

After reading the passages regarding Lot, his family, Sodom and Gomorrah, the study said this:

"As we grow spiritually, we should find ourselves developing a deeper respect for God because of his anger toward sin, and a deeper love for God because of his patience when we sin." (from The One Year Through the Bible Devotional by Dave Veerman, study day January 7th)

I couldn't highlight that enough and say "AMEN" enough.  I think that should be how we approach sin in ourselves and in others.  I hate it, I don't want to do it, and it should make me angry, BUT, boy am I glad that He never turns from me and His arms are always open to me every time my flesh gets in the away.  And because He has patience with me (and grace) I should be heaping that out to others, daily.

I leave you with this scripture from Paul, that I love...even though I am saved by grace through Jesus alone, I still sin, like Paul, but I hate when I do it.  Doesn't make me better or worse than anyone else.  It makes me a sinner who needs saving.  My sin isn't better than yours.  It is just sin.  So instead of trying to justify them to feel better, whole, accepted, why not reject our sin and turn to the one who makes us whole, who loves us unconditionally, and who washes it away, FOREVER.  It is finished.

Romans 7:14-25:

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[d]a slave to the law of sin.
Bible verses copied from BibleGateway.com

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