2 Feb 2005

Dealing with things that displease the Lord?

Submitted by theshovel
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When you become aware of an attitude or action that displeases the Lord, such as jealousy, covetousness, lying, lust, malice, slander, etc. what do you do? How do you handle it?

I very much understand what you’re asking for it was an integral part of my so-called Christian Life at one time. As you well know, my understanding has taken a radical turn. I wonder, however, if you have considered the demand of separation between us and God that is inherent in the questions you ask? Yeah, I know Paul wrote things that sounded similar, but his comments are so part of his insistent message of UNION in Christ that you cannot truly extricate - that is, separate - one from the other as you seem to want to do.

Somewhere along the line the meaning of “displeasing the Lord” (as written by Paul and the others) has lost its sense of Christ within us only to find its meaning tied up back in the very separation of those under law. In other words, we feel guilty from having transgressed a command and project the displeasure upon a God who must be — despite any professed doctrine to the contrary — on the outside looking in. In truth, such attitudes and actions taking place within me displease ME. For such things grate against my very being. For I am alive to God! He is in me as I am in him - not in theory or in position - but in reality.

Acceptance and love instead of jealousy, giving from the heart instead of covetousness, truth instead of lying, living as fulfilled instead of lusting, instead of malice, good-will words that build up instead of slander - THIS is all part and parcel of who we truly are. This is what our life truly is … which is why it all speaks to our hearts. But to ask, “What are we supposed to do about it?” or “How are we to handle it?” - all demanded with a view as to the correct “grace” solution to fix what’s wrong with us comes from the same mind that keeps demanding that our poor pathetic lives are in the most real way separate from Christ.

You can know that when your life is filled with such things, especially in view of a striving for the how-tos of dealing with sin, you are in fact struggling with the futile battle between flesh and law. You cannot win that fight, for all that can be produced is more flesh-works … religious flesh-works being the more subtle of the batch. Perhaps a more appropriate question to ask would be something like, “Did I really expect to get life out of the dead thing again?” This is the very core of Paul’s message to the Galatians (Galatians 5-6).

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

Contrary to popular teaching, this is not the how-to it’s been made out to be. It is a simple statement of fact. All things produce after their kind … you know, from Genesis. What comes from the flesh, what is appealed to through fleshly motivations (whether “good” or “bad”), what finds its substance in the flesh produces only more of the same. In view of the rest of the letter it is directly connected to the Galatians’ temptation to justify themselves according to legal performance. Don’t let anybody fool you into thinking you will please God by doing the “right” stuff according to formulas and principles because God is not going to be mocked by the “godliness” of one’s fleshly motivations.

Recognize the life that calls from within you!

Love, Jim


The Reader asks: “When you become aware of an attitude or action that displeases the Lord, such as jealousy, covetousness, lying, lust, malice, slander, etc. what do you do? How do you handle it? ” Jim, it is great how you point out that this above is describing life under the Law. At least, that is what I get out of it. For the separation you refer to has a real description in the writings of the Bible. In fact, I believe it was called the ‘dividing wall’ and in another place ‘the veil torn in two’. For life under the law IS living in separation. Life by the Spirit is living as joined. We were taught that living by faith [vs. law] was described as the above . The fact is that living by faith is actually quite different! As I look at it again, it seems that we were suckered into thinking that the condemnation of the law and the conviction of the law WAS the Holy Spirit! I mean it seemed[and seems] SO REAL to us that we think to ourselves this MUST be God! And IT IS. Only it is the LAW of God and not the Spirit. And in this case, it is not being used RIGHTLY. Not at all!!!!!!!!!!

Jim, I wanted to add too that I think a huge part of Christianity that confuses people[I know it confuses me] is the ‘grievance’ you refer to in your response to the reader. I think we feel real grievances in our hearts at times and wonder if it isn’t God Himself bringing guilt on us for some sin that we do not always have the ability to see, define or pluck out.[for there are too many!]That then causes us to want to examine ourselves, find the sin, route it out and then look for place to ‘dump’ it. Instead of turning our minds to the One who loves us perfectly, we are tricked into thinking it to be a BETTER idea to ‘take control’ by law and bring a focus on sin so as to dig it out of us. Then when we find it just wont come out, we turn again to the voice of the law and use it to condemn us out of the sinfulness. We forget though that the flesh is DEAD. It will never be anything but STIMULATED by the law. We are not the flesh, and the Only One who can produce the life of the Spirit is the same One who dealt with sin ALREADY. Yeah, there is something in us that we learned in the world that just is SO sneaky in finding ways AROUND the cross. We have in our flesh this insatiable desire to ignore the cross, work around it and not see it in any of our entanglements.[for this is what we are hearing in the world] The world tells us it[sin] is OUR problem, and it SOUNDS right, but, have we ever stopped to notice that the world DOES NOT KNOW GOD?! WE DO! We are not to follow again after the pattern we once learned in this world, which is following after laws and human effort in an attempt to keep from sin but, rather we are to RECKON ourselves as God Himself has made us to be in Christ[clean!]. The world or the natural mind can not ‘see’ or ‘reckon’ this to be true! For it is not found in the natural mind AT ALL. Hence the return to law again and again for them. For the empty mind only knows emptiness.

//Not to mention that we are often grieved by false guilt. We think that it is the NEW US that is grieved but, in many, many cases it is the law simply heaping guilt on us for something that may or may not be sin. Why would we think God in us is all about having a super, duper sensitivity to sinning when in fact HE REMOVED OUR SIN and remembers it NO MORE? just sayin…
theshovel's picture

Adam ... thanks for adding your insights here. This is excellent. Full of life!


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