Here is a reply I received on the last Shoveletter:
Jim - to some degree I think you are wrong. I don't think that being regenerated means that every thing I do say or think from this point on is smack dab in the middle of God's will. Heather
I love getting stuff like this! It tells me that somebody is thinking. And guess what? Everybody stands to benefit when somebody makes an objection. Do I refer to the opportunity I have to tell you more? That's only part of it ... and it is NOT the first part. For the person who is being challenged - in this case, ME - is being presented an opportunity for real communication.
So, how do YOU handle these situations in YOUR life? Do you take it as an insult? Do you blow it off? Do you react irrationally in self-protection? Do you attack the one who challenges you? Do you seek out those who agree with you so as to fortify your position? Do you take a poll and then side with the most popular view? Do you gossip about and slander the one who challenges you? Do you label the objector so you can refer to him as one of "THEM"? Do you seek a feeling of peace so that your decision in the matter seems to be right?
I'm asking you to consider how you have learned to cope in these situations. Now, in case you are thinking to yourself that you don't get into these situations then you are missing the point ... because you get into them all day long! How so? Somebody tells you they don't agree with your choice of music or fast-food restaurant or clothes or advice, etc. Or someone claims THEIR way is the ONLY or BEST way to do it. You know, the same stupid stuff that that seems to trigger MOST of our arguments and fights all across the world all day long, every day. Don't strain to find an example from ten years ago ... you should be able to pick out a fresh one from earlier today.
Do you know what is really being presented to you all day long? The difference between LIFE and DEATH, that's what. There is a reason it doesn't appear that way to us: we get side-tracked into thinking that our life consists of making a series of right choices. Don't you realize that your real life is happening right under your nose even while you're trying to discover it?
You wanna know something? I have the same objection to what I'm teaching as in the opening objection. That's been MY question for years! I am the one who needs to hear of this reality of Christ in MY life. MY tendency is to look at what I'M doing and what I'M thinking and what I'M choosing and what I'M believing ... and to draw the obvious conclusion that WHATEVER God's will is, I'm not there. I am faced with the same stuff that every other believer is faced with. And I object because I'm looking at ME ... and MY performance (or lack of it). Believe me, I understand the objections. And the really interesting thing is that the truth of Christ never even suggested what I'm objecting to.
The passage I'm quoting below may appear to be totally off the issue, but I ask you to consider that it is EXACTLY the issue:
Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freeman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves OF MEN. Brethren, let each man remain with God in that condition in which he was called 1 Corinthians 7:20-24
Some have suggested that Paul approved of slavery ... or that he belittled women ... or that he had a poor view of marriage, etc. But he never said anything of the sort. Why would we think that? Simple ... we have become so caught up in the bondage of MEN that we miss the obvious freedom and reality of Christ he wrote about. Don't you see that almost all of the stuff we consider the will of God is in the same category as with the slave who spent his life trying to get free? Paul dismissed most of the stuff we struggle with by saying, Hey, if it's a real option, then go for it ... otherwise, stay in your present situation.
What was Paul's real message in all of that? It has to do with how you see yourself in whatever situation you are in. The slave was FREE IN CHRIST; the free man was ENSLAVED TO GOD. We are in HIM ... in His Will ... either way. Pursuing freedom from your slave issue will result in your living AS IF you are NOT free in Christ and your choices and viewpoints will all be found in SLAVERY TO MEN ... AND THEIR SYSTEMS. Yuck!
Until next time .....
the shovel (aka Jim)