The reason the world is turned off by Christianity isn’t because we, as Christians, aren’t good enough. It’s because we are very flawed but we present ourselves as if we are perfect, so we are fake. Glorified actors, who really have no idea who they are or what they really have to offer. Going through the motions. Doing what we believe looks like what a good Christian should be doing, what is acceptable in the religious community but to the world looks like fakery. Religion has essentially bound us to expectations and perfectionism. In some cases since early childhood. So much so, that our creativity and individual expression havent been allowed to blossom. The problem is that the world sees through it, teenagers see through it and anyone who thinks sees straight through this act. How are we as believers freed from expectations, preconceived ideas, perfectionism and being fake? Actually the message of the New Covenant authenticates the reality of our Christian walk. Grace frees you to be very real, because you see that it’s all about Jesus anyway, and now you can relax. Then you are faced with “now what” because for so long your actions have been determined by religion and now you are free to be you. All that you are left with is the expression of life that Christ can live through you and only you. Are you good with that if it looks different or if it sounds foreign to the religious ear? You are His workmanship, not the the religious establishment. What would that even look like? It’s a great big surprise but I can promise you that He will be seen. This is what the world groans for, not our fake smiles and politics. The world craves Jesus.
As a little girl I remember so well the desire to please my dad. I did everything I could to gain his attention and his trust. I craved that validation. Then in high school I did something I wasn’t supposed to do. He was so angry that he looked me in the eyes and told me that he was disappointed in me and could not trust me. It was a crushing blow. To lose something that I had worked so hard for and craved so much was devastating.
As a believers we sometimes view our relationship with our heavenly Father with this same kind of delicate frailty. We believe that those who pray the most and who stay the busiest “working” for the Lord have a better relationship with Him. He has to love them more. So we strive and we press in and we strive some more and we press in some more until we are burned out, spent, and anxious because enough is never really enough.
Then when you come to the end of the striving and you stop trying to be so perfect and work so hard you are finally introduced to your real Dad. Not the father of your particular religion, not the father of your interpretation of the scripture, but the God who is Love, that is your real Father. It is then, and only then, that you are able to relax because you realize that He isn’t waiting on you to get your work done. He has been waiting on you to realize that He already did all the work so He could spend His time with you. You see, it’s not about getting Him to love you. He IS love. Its really about you accepting that you are lovable because of Him. And in knowing that love, you are fulfilled in life instead of anxious. Enjoying Him and He you. That is relationship. That is love.
Ephesians 3:14-21; I John 4:9-10, 19; Romans 8:38-39; John 15:13; Romans 5:8
On this day darkness met light
Sin met righteousness
Life met death
A reconciliation of all things and all people into One
Not a sin forgotten
not a nationality left out
For God so loved the whole world
For God’s plan included the whole world
And into His Son would be placed all sin
In Him would be the final seperation
In Him would be all law exacted
In Him would justice meet love
In Him would the blood make its final payment
Darkness fell and the earth shook
The wages of sin were deposited into the bank of eternity
Making way for the gift of God to be withdrawn
Unto all and upon all them that believe
Days later Light broke through
Righteousness came forth
and eternal Life conquered death
What was without was placed within
What is now within is being seen
Out of death came Life eternal
and it’s exceedingly, abundantly above anything we could ask or think.
Heaven on earth, Heaven in earth
It is finished!
Wynema Clark 4/3/2015
The majority of my Christian walk has been riddled with wild and exciting expectations. With every new revelation came a fresh sense of revival or rapture. Every unveiling brought a goal of something dramatic and big. I remember sitting at the edge of my seat as a young woman thinking that I could be one revelation away from walking right into Heaven. I’m serious. These expectations kept me hungry, in fact I think they were even a little addicting. But it wasn’t really a hunger for Jesus it was a hunger for something more. The promise of a big event, a big feeling, something more and something better. That was where the excitement was found.
Even in practical life there was an expectation of more. More money, more health, more happiness. I had been conditioned to expect it. But what I’ve learned is that more is never enough. The more you have, the more you want. And that mentality is exhausting. In it there is no contentment. In fact, contentment, is a bad word. But it’s not.
For me this New Covenant understanding has been something completely new, fresh and exciting, because it shines such a blinding light on the biggest event of all time, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It actually completely disarms my need for drama, because I can’t think of anything more dramatic than what has already been done. I mean God will do what He is going to do regardless of my expecting it or not, but if I don’t know what He has already done I am robbed of the joy of completion in that work, the understanding of the deepest kind of love possible, and the total freedom in who I am today.
If God never did anything else (and I am not saying He won’t) I could spend a lifetime utilizing what He already did. I believe we have only experienced the tip of the iceberg, the cherry on the top of the chocolate cake of redemption.
I am so thankful for what He did and this new covenant of grace that I am able to walk in every day. I am thankful for the freedom and peace that it has brought. For the surety of a love that is bigger than my mind could ever grasp.
Have you ever studied christianity as a way to live? If you’ve gone to church I’m sure you have. Often we hear ministers quote great educators and speak of social change. We have learned positive thinking techniques that are designed to lead us to health and wealth. Although all of these are interesting and have a degree of truth to them they are not really any different than any of the world religions. You can choose your philosophy or political view in the confines of your own head, but none of these are the gospel. Some of these are good news but they are NOT the gospel.
What sets the gospel a part from the religions of the world is that Jesus came to give us LIFE. He came to restore the missing part. No message of self improvement, social justice, or philosophy can put life into a human spirit. We stand as believers in possession of a treasure. A shining light of life to offer a world full of darkness yet we spend our time focused on self improvement, social justice and how to make and keep wealth. This leaves the believer without the basic understanding of the very treasure that now lives within them, LIFE. It also fails to offer the world the only cure for their darkness.
Life isn’t what you do, it isn’t how you live, it is Who lives within you. It is what makes this gospel unique. If the believing body knew what they actually possess now, which is the very life of Christ, their lives would be transformed from earthly minded bits and pieces of self improvement to a Heavenly rest within whatever social, political, financial situation they face. The indwelling Christ is the hope of glory. I feel like we haven’t even begun to touch on this Life that lies within and yet it is the greatest single revelation for social justice, self improvement and world change possible.
Have you ever tried to bake a cake with the wrong ingredients? It just never quite turns out. This example has been used by church leadership and ministries many times to evoke a need to re-evaluate what we are doing to see a desired end result in our lives. The other day I woke up thinking about this. As I lay in bed meditating on what that means from a new covenant paradigm I thought the most logical thing: If I am the cook then all this cake needs is Jesus to be perfectly perfect. Then the Holy Spirit stopped me and said why do you suppose that you are the cook in the equation? I had never thought that way before. I had always assumed that I had the major role in what goes in. But as I lay there in bed I realized that everything I need for life and Godliness has already been placed within me in Christ, so the ingredients are already there. Then as I rest in Him, He is cooking up His life and His nature through me that is as fragrant to a hurting world as baked cake is to a hungry nose. Neither the cook nor the ingredients are up to me the only thing I do is put myself in His hands and believe that He is cooking up more through my life than I could ever cook up on my own. I yield to His life within me, rest in what He has already done and then taste and see that the Lord is good. And when I say good, I mean Jesus, He is the “good” that will be seen in me and He is the fragrance that will be smelled on me. God really does have it in our lives.
2 Peter 1:3-8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; Hebrews 4; Colossians 1:27; Romans 6:13; Psalm 34:8
Do you realize that you are perfectly compatible to be the dwelling place of Christ on this earth? Did you know that we are called the temple of the living God, as well as the temple of the Holy Ghost?
To be called a temple is a big deal. Have you ever read the specifications for the tabernacle in the old covenant? I don’t recommend it unless you like lots and lots of details because God was amazingly detailed. I mean he was pretty clear with Moses that every little stitch had to be perfect or He wouldn’t move in. Amazingly Moses built everything to scale and God indeed moved in. Of course that still meant that only the High Priest could talk with Him and that is another story for another day.
I think we have had that same kind of idea about God’s presence. That we need to make everything ready for Him to come, like our heart, our attitude and we certainly can’t have any un-forgiveness, that’s a deal breaker for sure. If you have all of these things just right and the mood is properly set you could get a visitation from God. And some people go from conference to camp-meeting just to be present for one of these visitations.
News flash!! In the new covenant, on this side of the cross you do not go to a location to meet with God. In the new covenant, because of Christ and His finished work He made you the temple so that God could move into YOU. You are His temple. Where Moses was the builder in the first house, Jesus in the builder of God’s house today and you are that house!
Remember that I said, everything in the first tabernacle had to be perfect on every level and every detail or God would not move in. Well, Jesus the builder of the last house got every detail right, He finished His job with perfection so that God could indeed move in. You are that house he finished, every detail of your heart was made perfectly right. All of your old stuff was moved out and all of God’s stuff was moved in when you believed. There is no need for visitation because God moved in!
So the next time you are feeling less than right, remember that you are His workmanship, his craftsmanship, that the builder who is Jesus got all the points right, God inspected it and said well done good and faithful servant and then He moved in. He got rid of all your stuff and brought all of His stuff therefore you must be A-OK!
Reference: Exodus 25, I Cor. 6:16-20, I Cor. 3:16, Hebrews 3:4, Ps. 127:1, Gal. 2:20, Eph. 2:10
When I was dating my now husband it was no secret that my dad did not like him. Dad was convinced that any young man who played college football and belonged to a fraternity could be after only one thing. He also hated that Jeremy was from a different denomination than us. I was always told that I should not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. Jeremy was a believer, by the way, he just wasn’t of the same persuasion as us. Because my dad was a Pastor of a charismatic church we often had ministers in and out and they often took notice of me because I was the eager and active daughter. One particular set of traveling “Prophets” came through and proceeded to point me out of the crowd and tell me that I was making a huge mistake dating Jeremy. That I would be choosing the wrong path if I continued this way. Because I was terrified of disappointing God and ruining my life by choosing the wrong path I was devastated and confused. I was in love but also, apparently outside the will of God, because the “prophet” said so. I had to break up with him, I couldn’t possibly choose Jeremy over the will of God. My heart was broken. I knew that Jeremy loved the Lord and that he was just raised different. After what seemed like weeks (maybe it was days that felt like weeks) I found out that my dad had lunch with these “so called” prophets and that he had mentioned his distain for Jeremy so this man had done my dad a favor. I was furious but relieved and ran straight back to what I knew was true regardless of the false prophets and the manipulative effort to maintain control of my life.
I say this because so many people are manipulated and controlled by men with fancy religious labels who are nothing more than peddlers of snake oil. If what you are listening to isn’t pointing you to Jesus and His finished work then run like the wind. If your Pastor or anyone with a fancy religious label tries to “thus say the Lord” be sure and check it at the door. If it’s not Jesus and the goodness of what He already did and who He is in you today then click delete and move on down the road. And if you are a minister and you use that office to manipulate and control by beginning statements with “thus says the Lord” you better be careful you may end up with a daughter who knows better and a son-in-law that will take her far away:) By the way we had a great 23rd anniversary yesterday!
In response to a ministers attempt to tackle the issue of sin:
Thank God that in Christ God dealt with our sin. Not just the sins prior to Christ but all of them. He even dealt with the nature of sin that was left to us from Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22) and the sin that is a result of the weakness of our flesh (Romans 7:24-25).
The old covenant dealt with each individual sin through the law, but this could never bring righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:22) we now live our lives in a perpetual state of forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7) and in eternal righteousness with God because we are In Christ.
James 4:17 says simply “sin is knowing what you should do and refusing to do it”. In our American culture there are certain sins that repulse people and the church has a hard time loving people in that kind of sin. But it is those very people that Christ died for (Romans 5:8). I heard someone say, but once they come to Christ then they have to change. Ideally yea, but not everyone will and if they don’t does Christ forgiveness stop? Does the blood payment get returned as insufficient? The answer is “No”.
As a brother or sister in Christ begins to grow in grace and an understanding of who they are in Christ the natural progress will be change. When that time comes there are counselors and teachers that are there to help. But if that change were to never ever happen Christ blood is still sufficient, and the forgiveness that he bought continues forever.
Rather than focusing on how the broken people need to be set straight. Perhaps we should ask ourselves how can we see the broken from the eyes of mercy and grace. To bind their wounds and give them a place to heal. Instead of being repulsed by their sin we need to love them as Christ said in John 15:12 “My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you”.
There is a beautiful story in 2 Samuel 9 about a boy named Mephibosheth. He was the only son of David’s blood brother Jonathan. David had a covenant with Jonathan and I believe David is a type of Christ. After the death of Saul (the king) and Jonathan David ascended to the throne and Vs3 of 2 Samuel says this “is there not someone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the (unfailing, unsought, unlimited) mercy and kindness of God? Ziba replied, Jonathan has a son who is lame in his feet (in other words he cannot walk this out). David immediately went out to get this boy, brought him back to his house, set him at his table and he lives forever as a child of the King. Vs 13 says “so Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the Kings table, even though he was lame in both feet.
I tell you this story to say that the covenant that we have today is sufficient for all even those who may never walk it out. That is the heart of our loving God. That is how much greater the work of Christ is than that of Adam, than the work of Moses and greater than your finest effort to clean up people’s mess.
That is why we don’t need to worry about sin…
For by the death He died, He died to sin[ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life He lives, He lives to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].