2 Jan 2013

The Proverbs Submission

Submitted by theshovel
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If you read Proverbs as if it is a handbook for the Christian life, then you will have to automatically adjust your perception to accept the basic premise that you have not really been made righteous in Christ. For let’s face it, if the Proverbs could have led us to true wisdom, would we have needed Christ to become wisdom to us?

ShovelAudio: The Proverbs Submission

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Comments

Jim I thoroughly enjoyed this audio.smiley

 

You did a fine job of editing for sure![I particularly noticed it in a specific spot or two]

 

Thanks my brother,

 

Adam

theshovel's picture

big smile

There are many things in the audio messages that I agree with, for they shed the light of the simplicity I never saw before. But there are also few that I am in disagreement with or at least unsure about. For when you speak of the deceptions we seem to fall prey to I almost always end up binding my mind to the attempt of not falling for such, which mindset is itself deceiving. On the other hand, I guess everything can be understood through the law and everything can be understood through Christ, each understanding resulting in and reaffirming its own framework of mind. So that it may in fact just be me perceiving things erroneously.

I wanted to point out however that if the life of Christ is what defines us, and that life is always creating conflicts and doubts in us in regards to the deceptions of the [fleshly, conceptual] mind, then are we justified in concluding that we ourselves can be deceived? For it only appears that way if we define ourselves by our perceptions which, at best, only control our behavior. But if the life of Christ is all that we are, then how can we be deceived? how can we not believe? For our doubts are the expression of faith, not the absence of such. So why then make reference to those deceptions as if we are able to fall prey to them, when in fact we aren't endowed with that ability? Yes, I would like for my behavior to proceed from the sincerity of my being, but that never once happened when I had occupied my mind by the continual taking upon myself the self-perception according to the assumption of the possibility of being deceived. So I don't suggest ignoring the fact of the deceptions that the mind fall for, but I'd rather concern my self, not with the possibility of being deceived, but with the impossibility of Christ to be deceived. For it is not we, but the fleshly mind that is deceived. Because, if we have died to the flesh, how can we be any longer deceived by it? It is excluded by virtue of our new life. So that the assumption of being able to be deceived reflects the fears of my former man, I reason, and not the confidence of the new.

For every time I hear that my mind can be deceived all joy and all freedom ceases to be reflected in my mind, consequently in my behavior too. But when I am occupied rather by the fact that I cannot be deceived then I do rejoice and do not end up laboring to reach the place of truth. There is some delicacy in what I said here, hard to be expressed, but I know you guys understand my point. Any thoughts? Am I making sense?

 

theshovel's picture

Hello my friend Georgi,

As the comments regarding deception were being made, I was pretty sure it would stir up a reaction of this nature. I’m only glad it was you who brought it up because of how well and how graciously you have expressed it. I love the fact that you jump in and share your heart and mind so openly. smiley

Let me just express my own thoughts and experiences as they come to me as I’m considering what you’ve written. As usual, please realize that much of what I’m writing may seem or may actually not have anything to do with what you’ve mentioned, but only with where my thoughts take me. LOL!

I, for one, thoroughly understand, and relate to, all that you have said in response. I have run through these very things in my own mind, especially in years past, as I sought to make sure that I was not believing or teaching anything but grace. In the process, I could get very technical and detailed as to what I thought that meant, not only what it meant to me but also to those who listened to me.

Now, having come from an evangelical background based upon what we called the “clear gospel,” I took that same care in trying to making sure that my grace message was likewise clear. Is it by grace or is it by law, by faith or by works? Does Christ do it … or do I? What I have discovered through all of it is that the more I examined the details in order to nail it all down, the more it became a formula. If there was anything said or written that referred to doing anything or believing, and there are numerous Bible verses to deal with in that respect, it all had to be explained in clear terms to make sure no one could possibly think that we were able to do it. One of the phrases that grace people often cling to is to say that “I can’t do anything, Jesus has to do it for me. I can’t even believe, Jesus has to believe for me.”

I am aware that such an approach seems to help believers understand the working of God in them, yet too often all it does is to create this grace bubble that only gives an appearance of understanding grace versus law, when in fact we’re often left in the same confusion as what it means to truly live. Let’s face it, how many of us have criticized some of Paul’s statements as being legalistic? Of course, you know that I have examined them based upon the assumption that we have learned to misread the man God chose to express the depths of grace. In the process, I’ve come to realize that no matter how I say something meant to encourage us in this grace that I might just as easily be misread.

Yes, I know many people have turned faith into nothing but a system of works, but I can’t let every possible misunderstanding of word or phrase keep me from using certain words. To the natural mind everything falls under suspicion, even the most rock-solid expressions of grace known to the church. However, I am speaking to those who have the mind of Christ, for he is the wisdom of God. And it is in this vein that I have often warned believers of deception … even though I know that an argument can be made to question any need to do so. Oh yeah, I’m very aware of that. :) Consider Paul’s words to the Colossians:

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.  For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.  Colossians 2:1-5 (NASB)

Was it an oversight on Paul’s part that had him express something that might cause us to lose our confidence and joy … or is it more likely that we have allowed a former fleshly-minded trigger to force a worst-case scenario? In saying so, did Paul question the stability of their faith, or did he bank upon its reality? You see, while I know that God is continually working all things together for our good, and that the reality of who we are in Christ does not change, it has been the constant awareness that the world around — especially the religious form of the world — would love nothing better than to pull one over on me that has kept my mind so focused upon the only truth and life: Christ. Do I have to get technical or overly detailed to steer clear of such deception? Not at all. And that is exactly the point.

For me, the very prospect that the spirit of this world always desires to delude or deceive declares my true separation from this world, and from its mind. I have been encouraged more and more to listen not with the reasoning of this world but with the Spirit of life that is within me. I hear the Spirit of Christ within me as it confirms that although everyone else may turn a dear ear, I hear him. To him who has ears to hear, let him hear the words of the Spirit. The nature of the warning regarding the deception of the natural religious mind pulls my mind out of that old playing field of confusion, for it tells me not to concern myself with those things that persuade anyone else. It does not come across to me as an attempt to confuse with its many possible technicalities as to what I could conclude through reasoning, rather it confirms the simplicity of Christ, and Christ alone.

I look forward to your response, my dear friend!

Jim

Hi Jim! First of all, I am very very thankful for your reply, for I perceive in it that you have noticed something underlying my concerns. I am rejoicing greatly in this.

You said:

“I've come to realize that no matter how I say something meant to encourage us in this grace that I might just as easily be misread.”

Exactly. For the same reason, in order to point out the same fact, I began my response, saying:  “..everything can be understood through the law and everything, [including the law,] can be understood through Christ, each understanding resulting in and reaffirming its own framework of mind, so that it may just be me perceiving erroneously..”

And Paul also noticed that no matter what he said there were those who perceived grace and reaped life, and there were those who reaped death from him, always seeking to reaffirm the dead constructs of the fleshly mind that controlled them. And in doing that they were seen for what they were. For the deadness of words fits the tendencies of the natural mind that cannot perceive beyond appearance. Simply said, that mind cannot see anything but the law in everything that it sets its attention upon. Through the many struggles I became aware of the bondage resulting from hanging on words, for such hanging comes not from the reality of the absence of death, but rather from the dead mind that seeks strife and division.

But note that it was not for the sake of technicalities that I said those things, as in 'you should not use such and such phrases'. For if I said I am in disagreement with some things that only reflects upon my conflicts, not directly with what you meant, but rather with what I perceive what you say may come to mean, because I recall my own struggles over my confusion regarding words and references. It is in the same way, I reason, that you may be in conflict, not with what I meant, but what it may appear to enforce. And so what I said may be misunderstood (though I see you didn't misunderstand me at heart) to be enforcing the law, for which reason I felt compelled to note that '..There is some delicacy in what I said..,hard to be expressed..'. And I am well sure that you know exactly what I mean by that, for you experience the same sighs and sense of insufficiency to express the reality of Christ as it comes to your understanding, so as not to end up appearing as if promoting bondage. Its not the lack of words, its rather the understanding of their utter inadequacy to mediate the reality of that which isn't dead, thus coming to know the complete dependency on God to reveal these things to whoever can hear. Things such as “I can't do anything, Jesus has to do it for me. I can't even believe, Jesus has to believe for me.” come from the same bondage I wished to point out we are not under, for these words are by obligation to the mind that perceives Christ, not as life, but as fleshly and distant. In the same sense, when I see someone identifying themselves with the weakness of the mind of death that is the deception I am rather saddened, because the life of Christ is overlooked.

As you perceived Christ in my writings, so I have never been unable to perceive Christ in your expressions. It is that same perception that compelled me to refer to him through my concerns, desiring to point out certain things, which only ended up appearing as if what I said was pushing forth technicalities and restrictions. spin  It seems to me that we may have this tendency to wish to encompass everything in our expressions regarding our heart's ultimate concern, which is the reality of the love of the life of Christ, and yet it doesn't matter how much we encompass for it can always be misunderstood. Though we know that we nevertheless don't cease to desire for what we say to be understood as as the freedom we have come to understand. Perhaps it is in the same spirit that Paul and the others made such a great deal about not rationalizing grace, as if it was a mere concept. Does that make sense? 

I see that you know that I know you, because I know myself in the life that removed any differentiation between us. So that whenever I speak to you I am not aware of any separation at all, so that I am as if speaking and thinking to myself. This is where our sincerity and the absence of fear towards each other comes from. So, the sum of all that I said is that, despite appearance, we are not at all in disagreement , quite the opposite. For in Christ we don't relate to each other on the basis of words or appearances of any sort, but in that understanding of life that underlies and incorporates everything in itself. And that only we are allowed to taste from.

hug

*Note: I think the things Paul said are seen as imperatives because the underlying knowledge of the freedom of the inability to transgress is overlooked. It is that same freedom that I referred to in my desire to point out our separation from the fleshly mind that is in a state of utter deception. Because though we know it is, strictly speaking, unprofitable to live as if in that deception I nevertheless want to always refer to our inability by nature to be deceived so that through that freedom to relate even to the fleshly mind fearlessly we may rejoice. And so I also don't wish to sound as if I am laying out prescriptions for success when saying that I'd rather be occupied, not with the ability of my mind to be deceived, but with the impossibility to be deceived that we inherited by Christ. And in doing so, I do not seek to ignore facts, but instead to always point out to the life of Christ as the only underlying assurance through which a relation of fearlessness and consequent sincerity is always in effect.

- georgi
 

theshovel's picture

Like I said, I am glad it was you who brought this up, for I know your heart and mind. I knew you would see mine in whatever I wrote back. I am blessed in having your wonderful insight to stir up the truth of Christ. big smile

Jim

Thanks you Jim and Adam for continuing help me realize how Christ IS my life and some of the new agey concepts I’ve been into recently are not. Even though some of them can be very helpful at times. I’ve been on this freedom journey for several yrs now thanks to you mostly. As of late, at least for a time God has been sorting this out in me and I really enjoy listening to you 2! Louise
theshovel's picture

Thanks for your encouraging words, Louise. I am glad to know that what we share is a help to you. :)

Jim

I love you guys, I love listening to you! Mary

Thank you Mary! smiley

 

 

Adam

“…..holding to a form of godliness….” Did anybody say, Washington, DC…….

theshovel's picture

Yeah, for sure. It is everywhere, isn’t it? No wonder Paul referred to the principalities and powers of this world, for it’s not restricted to any specific person or group. Religious, political, intellectual, military … and the list goes on.

Jim

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