I have received some responses that say "Wonderful, I love it" and some that say, "Yeah, but you're leaving out 'responsibility'!" Thank you all for your replies ... I really mean that. :)
I will be continuing my thoughts on the will of God, but I wanted to address something that has been stirred up by what I've written so far.
By the way, the letters I received were very respectful ... so this is not in response to those who wrote, for I am answering those individually. :) This is about that mindset that we STILL hold in our everyday thinking: "Yeah, but there's more to the Christian life than the gospel." You know which one I mean ... it's the way you and I view it MOST of our day.
No, I don't think you think it in those particular words, because I don't either. But when I'm dealing with a normal, everyday situation, for example, my thoughts and reactions to the jerk who almost hit me in traffic ... WHERE DO I GO FOR MY DELIVERANCE? If ... no, WHEN I turn to what my responsibility is supposed to be I have gone to the wrong place. A response is a RESPONSE, and not an initiation. There is a big difference and it's called law vs. grace. The problem is that we have learned to categorize this stuff so that even though we find ourselves focusing on our responsibility we have in effect made IT the cause of our deliverance.
Think not? Listen carefully to how believers call attention to their obedience or their yieldedness or their brokenness. Or maybe just listen to your own. :) Geez, sometimes I am impacted with a slam-bang when the sound of my own praises or my own justification spews forth from my own mouth. Wow! Do you know what I'm talking about? What comes out of your mouth will be the main indicator ... listen carefully. When you hear it in the next few minutes, don't condemn yourself, but thank Him each and every time that you can hear it.
So, where do you go with it? Where do you take it? What are YOU going to do when you are at the regular place in your life where you know that SOMETHING other than S.O.P. (standard operating procedures) is needed?
Know this: THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE!
If you're not making the connection with that, then you are limiting what it is that the GOOD NEWS is. For it was the hand-in-glove-effect that brought Paul to say what he said in the latter portion of many of his letters. Every time someone approaches me with a 'responsibility' verse it has been carefully separated from the gospel in how it is presented. I don't suggest that anyone is thinking, "Let me separate this verse from context of the gospel", but that this is an automatic thing we do because we have been so conformed to this world's philosophy.
Here are your options:
* Focus on your obedience and fail (which brings EITHER self-condemnation for the obvious failure OR self-commendation for the supposed victory).
* Focus on Christ who has already brought the victory and expect the very REAL working of God in your life in the particular areas that you are hit with during your day.
What I have been writing to you about The Will of God is all in view of focusing on Christ, and not on yourself. Though it may appear that it is anti-responsibility nothing could be further from the truth ... for it is all about our RESPONSE to Christ who is our life. But as long as the religious definitions are so firmly planted in our thought-processes we will find ourselves clinging to the concept that my salvation (daily living in view of that will of God) is the result of what I do.
How do we live?
Love one another John 15:12
A statement commanding the miraculous life of God. Regardless how you have tried to compare this with how you used to live, or how the unbelievers appear, LOVE is a miracle ... and it had nothing to do with your life BEFORE Christ. Discover the difference between TRYING to love and simply LOVING. The gospel is the power of love. Don't settle for being nice ... or for ATTEMPTING to do something out of love.
Forgive one another Ephesians 4:32
Another statement commanding us to live the life of God! "Only God can forgive sin" ... so, why do we TRY to do what ONLY God can do? If you hear this, and then push your will to the forefront so that you can be obedient to the commands of God, then you are dipping into the old well that will not produce life. Oh, sure, you may achieve the temporary appearance of it, but you know as well as I do that it goes away about as fast as the veil of Moses lost it's shine! Is the life of God within you? Then this is a reality waiting to be stepped into and lived corresponding to the miraculous creation you are! For He took the sins out of the way and doesn't hold them against you or your brother. When you view your brother in the reality of Christ, who forgave you, YOU HAVE FORGIVEN YOUR BROTHER. We perpetuate the FEELINGS of unforgiveness by insisting that OUR perception is more accurate than HIS perception.
To be continued (before moving on with the will of God ...
Until next time .....
the shovel (aka Jim)