30 Oct 1999

Cold, Dead Fingers

Submitted by theshovel
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Here is a letter I received this past week: [guest]I was thinking the other day when someone was telling me to “let go of ….” and give it to God. That i was carrying a burden i needed to let go of. I thought about how cliched what she said was, and how for some reason it just didn’t make sense to me spiritually to do what she was telling me to do. My conclusion on the matter was this (and maybe I am wrong..) : That God doesn’t require or ask me to let go of things that I am carrying, that are burdening me. He tells me to COME TO HIM and He will give me rest, and a different yoke to carry. It sounds like my job is not to give up my burden, but to allow my burden to drive me to COME TO JESUS until *HE* exchanges it for His yoke instead. (Of course I am to cast my cares on Him, but this doesn’t mean they no longer burden me.) I am so tired of a gospel that tells me to “be happy” and forget all my troubles… How bout a gospel that has the power to FREE me from my troubles and I don’t have to do any emotional manipulation or positive thinking to get there. pass on to whoever you like. Heather[/guest] This letter is a fantastic segue into our formula-based mindsets. Thanx Heather! There is a bumper sticker that reads: [i]”I will give up my gun when they pry my cold dead fingers from it!”[/i] I’ll bet you’ve seen it, huh? This is a good commentary on forgiveness. No, no, I don’t mean learning how to forgive those who support things you think of as evil, for what I’m suggesting has nothing to do with guns. It has to do with the mindset that WILL NOT LET GO. (Now, if I receive any pro OR con gun control propaganda it will only get deleted … so don’t waste my time, okay?) Formulas. We come up with one after another (even those of us who don’t think they have any formulas). A formula is some kind of “how-to” … and even an easy “grace” formula is still a formula. The good news of Christ is the declaration of the miraculous. But herein lies the problem: it gives me no handles, no formulas! And this is why most preachers find themselves preaching practical how-to’s instead of simply preaching the good news itself … because it just doesn’t seem to speak to our life unless we MAKE it speak to our life. This was the “other” gospel that Paul referred to. The flesh cannot give anything over to God and that fact was proclaimed loudly when Christ condemned sin in the flesh. He didn’t change the old man … He killed him! * FACT: Forgiveness means not holding sin against another. * FORMULA: If I LET GO of sin toward someone, then I’m forgiving them. * REALITY: The gospel declares that the offense has been taken away. * FALLACY: My attempt to let go of the sin ignores the reality of it being taken away by Christ. Then, what do we do? I received another letter where the person came to this (EXCELLENT) conclusion: [guest]I had to respond to your Oct. 22 and 24 newsletter. Omygosh. Do you, by any chance know me? Did you know that I needed to read (not only read but absorb) every word you wrote? I have been struggling so hard the past few months to forgive my parents. It seems to only have gotten worse. All this time I believe God has been trying to tell me to “let it go.” To basically “drop it.” But instead I have been turning and twisting things over in my mind until they are so tangled up I can’t even figure out what’s real or not anymore. Forget the yardstick, I have gone way beyond measuring, I am examining and re-examining, and poking and prodding at things that the Lord has clearly told me to drop. As if I think that somehow I have the power to fix everything and make it all better. As if I ever could!!! And Jim, you hit the nail on the head when you said that if we look closer at where all of this is coming from, it has very little to do with the ones we need to forgive but more to do with ourselves. My anger is toward myself, for not making things better. For not being the “perfect” daughter who ALWAYS makes everyone happy. As if!! Now that I see - now that these blinders have been removed - I am willing (finally) to “drop it.” … So —- here goes. I am … giving up the idea that I can forgive - and I am willing to let Christ forgive through me. Just like He lives through me. Chris[/guest] Giving up the IDEA that I can forgive!!! Wow! (note: that’s a good ‘wow!’) All of us have struggled with the concept of “letting go”, and as long as we have it tied to this thing that we should be doing we will be living in a state of confusion (California or Florida, I think … hahaha!). Trying to let go of sin is an impossibility, for it took the death of the Son of God to do that! Coming to the realization of this impossibility and giving up on IT is not a struggle … it is the END of the struggle!! Now, to think that YOU can somehow bring yourself to this place is just as ridiculous as YOU being able to do away with sin. Do you know why the gospel is the power of God to salvation? Because this news of Christ and His work on the cross is what defines life and puts all things in order. Do you actually think that you can forgive … that you can let go? There is only one place where this reality holds true … and that is in Christ. And in Him there is no sin. And where there is no sin, there is no holding it against another, either. This is not to say that real offenses haven’t taken place, because they really have. The perception I learned in this world continually demands that I am DEFINED by these offenses … AND by my interaction with the offenses of others. In Christ, we have learned that the very real things that are NOW taking place have ALREADY BEEN DEALT WITH BY THE VERY REAL THING JESUS DID. It is really that black and white. That’s what the gospel has been telling us!!! As far as even considering your job to be “allowing” your burden to drive you to Him, I would suggest that that could become just as much a formula as the “let go” one. There are no formulas … there is only LIFE … and His name is Jesus. Jim
Shoveletter: 

Comments

Very cool. There is a lot here in this correspondence. We DO keep getting tripped up by the vein philosophy that there is something MORE to this life in Him and the state of things ‘in Him’ that the Gospel of the Good News declares to man. We skim right over it. In fact, I think just engaging in the modern day church will DRIVE you to pass right over this to get to the ‘something more’.[because they are desperately pushing this agenda for fleshly gain and reasons and mind] Of course it is the very same posture of that which is in the world. It is ALL tied to the elementary principals and formula based living found in the world and of the world. Formulas do not SEE. We ‘see’ by faith. The faith is all tied to the Good News. It is what defines faith. Just some encouragement to myself and to others and of course to say that I appreciate you bro and what you wrote here. Adam
theshovel's picture

Thanks Adam,

Some excellent thoughts you've added here. :)

Jim

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These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: October 31, 1999 by Mark

Jim,

Wow. I, too, had defined forgiveness by the human process I went through in attempting to "let go of" my hurt feelings or anger. But you're right...in Christ, these offenses do not exist. The spiritual reality destroys the human formula. Our desire is therefore not for the "how to," but rather to stay focused on Christ.

I'm passing your Shoveletters along to T. She and I have been wrestling with this very question and your writings have helped her, also.

Thanks. I love you, my brother.


Posted: October 31, 1999 by Bruce

Jim,

"There are no formulas ... there is only LIFE ... and His name is Jesus."...

To this I would like to add...

...AND HE IS "YOUR LIFE"...AND HE IS "MY LIFE"...and He is making His Appearing...IN US!!! The "Revelation of Jesus Christ" is becoming a Living Reality "in us"...HIS LIFE "in us" is being unveiled & revealed for all to see! That which has been hidden & obscured from the eyes of man is being made plain for all to see...for EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM!

Col 3:4 When Christ, WHO IS OUR LIFE, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (KJV)

Luke 12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. (KJV) (Think of this verse in a POSITIVE sense...not negative!) I used to think...OH GOD...everyone is going to know every secret thought and sin that I ever commited!!! I would rather die!

It is not GOD'S nature or intent to embarrass us. He loves us! However, most of our faults & sins are "self-evident" anyway. If we think others can't see our "faults" we are deceiving ourselves. Isn't it so often said that we are the last ones to discover our own "faults".

Furthermore...we are not to know each other..."after the flesh"...but after the Spirit! The Spirit of Christ...within!

What challenge is there in seeing each others "sins". They are obvious! The flesh in each of us is obvious! But...ohhh...what challenge there is in looking beyond the flesh...beyond the sin...beyond the obvious...to see the LIFE OF CHRIST...hidden and unseen and unknown...by most of creation. This indeed is a challenge! Only the "Son of God" can do this!

Only the Son of God "in us" can look at another man and call forth the LIGHT OF GOD to shine forth..

"LET THERE BE LIGHT!"

It takes the vision of God to call LIGHT to shine forth from the midst of darkness!

A man who is not "in Christ" cannot do this. All he can do is condemn sin in the sinner. He cannot forgive another or remit anothers "sins"...because he does not know Christ "within" himself. He is still bound up in his own sins.

How can a person who is "bound"... free another? He cannot. Only Christ can forgive. If Christ is "in you"... Christ can forgive through you...because then it is NOT YOU...but CHRIST!

If you cannot forgive...then you aren't really in CHRIST and CHRIST isn't really in you (as you think). You have a form of godliness and have a "false concept" of God and His power and where He dwells and where heaven is.

If He isn't dwelling "in you"... then you cannot forgive. You cannot truly love. You are deceiving yourself to think that you can DO anything for Him. The only thing any of us can do is allow CHRIST...WHO IS OUR LIFE...to live HIS LIFE in us, and through us, and AS US!

When we begin to develop Gods vision and see CHRIST IN OURSELVES then we might begin to see CHRIST IN EACH OTHER. We might begin to see every man created in the image of God.

When we quit ..."missing the mark" by seeing with our vision and develop Gods vision...then we will quit knowing ourselves ....after the flesh...and we can quit knowing each other ...after the flesh. We will instead ...develop Gods vision of the "hidden & unseen".

Most Christian's don't have "CHRIST" "in them"...but have Him a million miles away. This is the problem. HE IS really in them...but they don't acknowledge that as a living reality...otherwise they wouldn't keep waiting for Him to return. They don't really believe that CHRIST is their life. They retain control and dominion of "their" life.

So...the LIFE OF CHRIST "in us"...is what has been hidden and veiled and obscured.

CHRIST IN US...the Hope of Glory...is what has been hidden & covered & veiled...but HE SHALL NOT REMAIN hidden or covered or veiled... HE IS BEING REVEALED & UNVEILED!

He shall be revealed in EVERY man!

Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord...therefore bringing about GODS GLORY in their life...because God is not glorified unless JESUS CHRIST is lifted up in that persons life. He is not glorified in knowing a doctrine about Him...or reciting a creed about Him...not quoting scripture about Him...but in Spirit & Truth...HIS VERY LIFE...shining forth from an individual!

This is how GOD IS GLORIFIED!

HIS LIFE IS HIS GLORY ...and He will not "share" His GLORY with another unless they also have HIS LIFE! HIS GLORY shines forth from a soul that is ONE with Him and is worshipping Him in "spirit & truth". HIS GLORY and HIS LIFE flow forth from the place where He is seated...from His throne...over the life that He has conquered with His love. From this individual flows the River of Living Water...from the throne of God. This individual will be like a Tree planted by the rivers of Living Water that will put forth its fruit (the fruit of the Spirit) in due season. The leaves of this tree will be for the healing of the nations...for it is the TREE OF LIFE (CHRIST) in that individual that feeds the hungry, poor, sick, and naked who are still in darkness.

Isa 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (KJV)

Christ...(who has been hidden)...is what will be seen and known and revealed...and shouted from the rooftops! This is GOOD NEWS!

HE is the GLORY that shall be revealed IN US and not remain hidden... but also FLOW FORTH from out of us...for it was never Gods intent for LIGHT to remain hidden forever under a bushel...but to be revealed and LIFTED UP...from the earth of our temporal bodies.

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (KJV)

So...lets all quit condemning each other after the "flesh" and start knowing each other after the "spirit".

After all...there is no "good" in the flesh of any of us. The only "good" IN any of us is CHRIST. There is no "good" in any man...but CHRIST! ...and we know and preach that there is none good but GOD! The only good in any of us is GOD!

GOOD GOD! GOOD GOD! GOOD GOD! Could He be "in us"??? What a revelation! ...what an idea! ...Could He have always wanted to dwell in us but we just wouldn't "acknowledge Him" in this way? Could He have been there all the time...and we just refused to believe it because we didn't want to? ...because if we really believed this it would bring about a "change" in our life...and it also was "too good to be true".

Oh God! Please forgive us...for we knew not what we were doing!

We were making your temple "our bodies" desolate of YOUR GLORY...by being our own little "gods". We were keeping YOUR LIFE in us hidden and obscured by sitting on Your throne in our lives. We were not letting "YOUR LIGHT" shine because we were covering it over with a bushel basket of our own will. We were keeping YOU hidden and unseen and unveiled from the world and keeping ourselves blind by letting our FLESH be god. We were the ones that have commited the abomination of desolations...therefore leaving the temple (our body) desolate of Your GLORY.

But thank you Father...that You are opening our eyes...that You are making yourself known...that You are making Your voice heard to those who have an ear to hear.

Your still small voice within...is becoming like a trumpet sound...and You are rolling away the stone that has kept you as a prisoner within every man. You are KING of kings and LORD of lords. Your Voice is as the "voice of many waters" because You are taking dominion over every man and "as sons" they are only speaking the words they hear their Father say.

Even so...COME LORD JESUS!

Bruce


Posted: October 31, 1999 by Paul

Jim,

I appreciated your response to Chris, here's my take on it:

It's important to remember that feeling hurt, because someone has hurt me is not a sin. Just because I feel hurt, doesn't mean I'm being unforgiving. God gave me feelings for an important reason. If the stove burns my hand, it feels bad, and I pull back as a result of the pain. Anything else would be foolishness. At that point I will quickly change the way I relate to the stove, and I'll quickly change the way I behave while I'm around the stove. Should I condemn myself for not "forgiving" the stove?. Of course not!

I think we continue to miss the point when we say something like, "I can't forgive, so I must let Christ forgive, by living his life through me."

This still suggests that the forgiveness issue hasn't been resolved and the person "now" needs to be forgiven, because something requiring forgiveness has "now" happened. All of our sins were future sins when Jesus died on the cross.

The only "formula" that works is the faith formula. We don't forgive those who sin against us, nor to we let Christ forgive them through us. Have the knowledge that it was dealt with at the cross. Now we have to decide if we are willing to believe it. We simply come into agreement with what God has already done.

So then, what am I supposed to do with all this baggage I'm carrying around in my feelings? When we have the knowledge of forgiveness, we have understanding. The question is, "How will I respond now that a true knowledge of what's going on has broken in on the horizon of my circumstances?" When we become willing to believe what we now know to be true, we set aside our own opinion of what's going on and we make God's truth our truth. That's when we begin to see things from God's perspective, and we start feeling the same way about it that he does.

When I refuse to believe what I now know to be true, that's the moment I stop walking in the truth. So, is it surprising that I'm a basket case when I'm living in a fantasy world of my own making? How can I respond effectively to my circumstances and the people in my life when I'm not even it touch with reality?


Posted: October 31, 1999 by eric

Hey Jim.

Oh, yes. I'm back and with a vengeance! ok, just kidding.

Once again, I'm diggin' your newsletters. Great stuff.

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Random Shovelquote: The Word Received (view all shovelquotes)

The understanding of what it would be for the very word (expression) of God to be made flesh can only be received if that same Word is now within us. source