1 Sep 2001

Obsession

Submitted by theshovel
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I'm afraid that resting in God's grace may be the reason I haven't been obsessively reading my Bible in days or haven't talked to the Lord all week! SOURCE

Does this fear sound familiar? Has the too-good-to-be-true syndrome caused YOU to question a grace that seems to hinder good things? I sure hope so, because a grace that does not shake your religious mindset is NOT the grace of Christ.

"OBSESSIVELY" is a good word to describe perhaps most Bible reading, and the lack of OBSESSION sounds like real freedom to me. So, what is it that you haven't picked up in days, the Bible or the OBSESSION? Does one need the other?

I remember an old ad campaign that claimed, "A day with Florida orange juice is like a day without sunshine". Well, I'm a Floridian and I rarely drink Florida orange juice, and yet the sun still shines for me - from the inside! A day without Florida orange juice is simply a day without Florida orange juice.

A day without OBSESSIVE Bible reading is freedom, but a day without Bible reading is simply a day without Bible reading. The fact that you don't FEEL like reading it seems to indicate that you are reacting against the whole concept of a law-driven bondage. Ah, yes, resting in His grace might easily steer you clear of that law-bound OBSESSION!! And the panic? Panic doesn't come from God, but from a striving according to the flesh.

Regarding this lack of talking to the Lord, what if it's actually a PERCEPTION you are becoming aware of? Believe me, I know the fear, because I had developed a familiar pattern to gauge my communication with God. As God's grace caused my formulas to become irrelevant I was left with a sense of lack because my measuring stick was still telling me that I was missing something. But those perceptions had ALWAYS suggested I was missing something, but by adopting formulas I pacified those fears giving me the illusion I was doing the best I could (I won't try to convince you of this because you have beat yourself up over it too many times to deny it, huh?).

Rest assured that the Spirit within you KNOWS how to communicate with the Father because otherwise you and I haven't a clue!! And consider: if you could give a drink of water to the "least of these my brethren" and really be giving it to Christ, then is it at all possible that if you communicate to the least of these my brethren that you may actually be communicating with the Father? Hmmmm? :)

True communication with God happens in spite of our attempts to produce it by OBSESSIVE religious performance. It's a shame to be so unaware of the reality of HIS miraculous working because of our OBSESSIVE formulas.

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Comments

So many obsessions need to fade. Thanks for this reminder.
Tim

Wow yeah, thanks Tim. This is a solid reminder of reality in Christ. Adam
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These comments were all transferred over from the original website


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Elaine

« Hello you miraculous works of God!! »

[Note: this was part of the intro to this week's Shoveletter]

I just wanted to say when I read this line my heart soared. I knew it but hadn't gave it much thought. Miraculous work of God how wonderful. I think I'll make this into a sign and place in my flower gardens for people to read as they walk through. Love, Elaine


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Geir Offenberg

« I'm afraid that resting in God's grace may be the reason I haven't been obsessively reading my Bible in days or haven't talked to the Lord all week! »

- What a terrifice sentence!

Its great when one begins to make the shift from building life upon biblereading and prayer (read: set prayertime in the morning, on hour exactly after the pattern of certain books, won't mention which books), and start resting in him and in trust towards his grace. I have just began to discover what it means that the one who is much forgiven, loves much. When i find that God actually receives me with loving compassion, always, even when i, so called, haven't "done my part", i find that i can't look with a condemning eye towards other in the same way i used to. You just can't point fingers at people, christians and none christians, so much, even if you want to, because you know for real that God isn't pointing fingers at all, on me or any other, and he never did. So, in my opinion, we all need to put down the bible, and our scripture-memorizing, and all our prayerlists for a good while. And when it feels like we're doing something wrong and fall, let God pick us up again, instead of pulling our self together and try again. I wonder if that is the reason why we have experienced the grace of God at work so little: because we have trusted too much on our own efforts, prayers, abilities to be "good christians", and so it kept our trust in him at a very low level. Why on earth would we even try to be good christians one second even, when the truth is that we're dead with him. Every time we're trying, we're actually rising up against the gospel and say " the the cross is not enough, we have to do it ourself". Anyway, I'm ready to move more into this grace-led life. Oh, it's great to put all the worries on the Lord. We don't even have to worry about nothing at all. If we want to follow the bible strictly, lets stop worrying about not being good enough, not having read enough, not having prayed enough. That just ruins a perfectly wonderful relationship with the most perfectly wonderful person ever.
I was really blessed when i read the autobiography of David duPlessis. He moved in grace and power, but he said in the book, that christianity for him and his wife didn't really become wonderful, until they dared to stop their daily disipline of prayer (!) What a statement. That would be like cursing in the church to say that today. Well anyways: have a nice day :-D


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Gregg

Geir: Thanks for sharing! Your statement "...we have trusted too much on our own efforts..." helped me articulate in my heart and mind that we can be subtly tempted to have faith in our "obedience" rather than in Christ Himself. I suppose that is the evil one's objective...to tempt us to take our focus off of true Life. Have a special day.


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Dan

Hi Jim I thank God He is renewing our minds to the truth about His ways.He is teaching us to trust in Him and stop trying to earn What He has given .There was time in my life where I could not do anything not even pray and He brought a verse to me it was Ps. 46 ;10 where He say be still and know I am God. Thank God for His grace . Love your brother in Christ


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Heather

Hi Jim:

LOL ..yup its me the obsessive bible reader. Just one question now that I've starred in a Shovelletter can I claim celebrity status? : )

LOL

Actually, it was wonderful to read your response again. Just yesterday I got an email from a friend concerned about me because I decided not to attend a conference in St. John the end of Oct. and because i had mentioned that I was wishing I didn't have to teach Sunday school. Which is probably pretty selfish as I only have to teach every 5th week. Its just that right now I'm minding every hook that people have in me. I just want to pull back all the pieces of myself, and do things not because its expected of me, not because I'm trying to please other people, but to do it because its truly what my heart tells me to do. Does that make any sense?

I'm so sick of the distractions in my life. Church has been a huge one, If I concentrate on that I don't have to face the truth about my life and the problems that are there. I'm at a place where I'm realizing I have one life, and I'm not willing to throw it away any more. I'm not willing to settle for second best, constantly feeling like I have a mouthful of dirt because my head is so firmly stuck in the ground hiding.. If I'm miserable, I want to be miserable because I made choices that were my choices, that came out of my desires., not because I've turned myself inside out to get the approval of others. Okay...your probably scratching your head saying, What the....! LOL sorry

I"m just really craving reality. I feel my religion, my life, my world has been an illusion and I just want to be Me and allow Christ to show me what is real, and lead me, living His life through me. I can't believe anymore that accepting Christ meant a life time of trying to figure out what the Heck he wants from me. Yet at the same time, its so hard to have the faith to know that if I did nothing but get up in the morning, he would live his life through me and his will would be accomplished in my lfie. Does this make any sense?

Ahhhhh it really does sound too good to be true. I so want to belive and accept it. I started talking to some friends about how he has done it all and we can just rest and then I started receiving letters with subjects like; "WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR PASSION FOR GOD???, OR HEARING , "Heather I believe you are a great woman of God and that he is going to use you greatly in the kingdom, you can't just lay down", "Yes we can rest in his grace if we need it, but God needs something from us too. He needs men and women of action to make an impact for the Kingdom because these are the last days. Satan is a defeated foe but we need to stop the casulity list from getting higher." And so on.....

Anyway, its confusing and discouraging. So here I sit, typing to you, minutes before the Sunday morning stress begins with my 3 kids trying to get them fed and ready and to church by 10 am, to go and teach about 30 kids ranging in age from 2 years to 16 because the fall classes haven't started yet, the kids are all together. So its me and my stressed out husband, and both of us have thought about, just running away, but we know that we must meet this obligation. Have you ever wished for Chicken Pox to strike????.LOL I know being a Christian involves acts of Service, but I feel that if it was Christ prompting me to do this wouldn't I feel some measure of expectancy, or desire to do it?

Anyway forgive me for bending your ear, and thank ya Shovel guy for "making me a Staaaaaaaar"!!!!(last said in the Aladdin Genie's big booming voice)

have a nice day,


Posted: September 1, 2001 by the shovel

Heather, you are ALREADY a celebrity in my book!!! :)

« Okay...your probably scratching your head saying What the....! LOL sorry »

No, not SCRATCHING my head, but I sure am HOLDING it so that it doesn't explode while I'm getting blown away by such raw and living HONESTY that can only come from God Himself!!! :)

« I'm just really craving reality. »

The cry of the human heart is to find reality. We know this. Psychologists even have programs to help people find their "real self", and STILL humanity hasn't a clue. In a recent Disney movie, "The Kid", there is an incredible line spoken by 'the kid' when he figures out what an "Image Consultant" does. "You tell people how to lie about who they are so they can pretend to be somebody else." We are left with the impression that since we can figure out that we have done this we can REALLY find our true selves. But that internal "image consultant" merely teaches us another lie because the truth would absolutely destroy the "untrue" self. Thank God for HIS deliverance in destroying that old self that could only lie about itself, huh? :)

It REALLY DOES sound too good to be true!!

It is only natural that your friends would misinterpret the desire of a heart that cannot be understood by rules and principles. No, do not be confused by this, instead be overjoyed that it is so OBVIOUS to our "real selves" that the life that truly motivates us cannot be figured out by religious hypocrisy!!

« Anyway forgive me for bending your ear »

No, THANK you for bending my ear!!! :) And I am hoping you will allow me to post your email to the Shoveletter section on my site!!! Please, please, pretty please? :)

Love,
Jim


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Sherri

Heather,

Star Light, Star Bright .... you are the Star I speak with tonight ...

: )

I had a good chuckle and was relating with you immensely when Jim read your email to me. Specifically about the 'hooks'! I have used that description of how I feel a LOT of times ... being led around by hooks in the nose! Pulled and tugged and yanked and YIKES! One can only handle so many hooks, right!? And some times more than other times. And often times one gets rather raw, pained and tired of the bloody, ripped flesh and tissue from all that yanking, pulling, and tugging! HA! How descript is that?!

HA!

(Sometimes we discover that some hooks have need to be REMOVED ... and most times we are the only ones who can determine that for ourselves, everyone else be danged. ; ) We find the relief is soooo sweet and refreshing!!)

"I'm just really craving reality. I feel my religion, my life, my world has been an illusion and I just want to be Me and allow Christ to show me what is real, and lead me, living His life through me."

I sense that He is doing just that. : ) You are miraculously 'seeing' the separation and contrast between what is Real and True about Him as your Life, and the illusion of what our religious engrainings from life in the world have deceived and convinced us is reality.

You made perfect sense in your email! : ) All who are awakening to the Truth of who they are in the New Creation that GOD has made them can relate with you 100%!! We have all been caught and trapped in insidious religious and worldly stupors. We will probably be continually awakening from various subtle remains of misperceptions and misconceptions as we come to understand the Truth of Christ with more and more clarity.

You are so right about 'church' being such a distraction from the True Reality of ourselves in the New that we are now and forevermore! I am sure that most of us can relate quite well with you on that matter, as well.

; )

I am most encouraged when I once again realize that I no longer have to pursue or work to 'make' any difference in the world! We ARE the difference in the world. We are the ONLY true difference in the world! Our understanding of what this 'difference' is that everyone is always exhausting themselves in the flesh to attain, can only be found in Christ Himself. He was not recognized or accepted as Who He was and will forever be when He was here in the flesh, anymore than we can convince anyone of Who He is and/or who we really are. That is, once again, the work of the Spirit within us, Who can be and is trusted implicitly in the New that we are.

As far as 'what has happened to your passion for GOD'? I say that your passion for GOD has been replaced by the passion OF GOD, and that will never satisfy the world or any religious system, because it is not what they expect it to be or to look like, anymore than what HE or we look like or are indeed like satisfies them.

As far as always wondering and looking for that seemingly always elusive 'thing' that GOD is going to use you for someday ... YOU are HIS work! YOU are the Creation in Him that pleases Him completely! Your work to be what HE wants or desires is bogus. HE has made you exactly what pleases HIM for now and forever more. He is faithful to His work and will forever more be! His work in you is continual and perfect and trustworthy and miraculous, as only He can and does do it! : )

Reading about some of the things said to you is so typical of a very anemic, misunderstood and pathetic view of the True and Living GOD! Poor GOD. HIS hands are tied without the consent of deluded man! I am sooo thankful that is NOT the TRUTH!

This view of GOD is one of the many reasons that Christians are also so full of insecurity about themselves and their GOD. I know, I have been there, and I unfortunately continue to find my self visiting 'there' ... from time to time.

I am very thankful for GOD's continual awakening in us!! With man it is impossible, but with GOD ... only GOD ... is this possible!

: )

Therefore, no man can boast but in GOD HIMself!

: )

Enjoyed your post tremendously!! Thank you for sharing ... especially now that you are a 'SUper stahhhhhr'! ( I say it like the female comedian from Saturday Night Live who made a silly comedy movie about fulfilling her dream of becoming just that .... a SUper Stahhhr)

: )

Hugs,


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Neil

Being freed from all these obsessions, especially the "you gotta go to church" one, is such a great thing. I certainly feel for Heather. I was once that way but not nearly so as my own mother who was the DAUGHTER of a minister as well as the WIFE of a minister. She had to go no matter what. Now that my dad has passed away and she has discovered the freedom which was always hers had she accepted it, she is so much happier. Mom told me the other day that she can't remember enjoying a single Sunday in all those 80 years of attending church. She was always so obsessed with her performance and what she thought people expected of her that she never thought about Jesus or God at all. She couldn't even attend the services at another church where she was not known without this affecting her. All her time there would be spent in worrying if everything was going right for the pastor, the song leader, etc. She always put herself into their shoes as feeling the same as she did: wishing they were somewhere other than at this obligation. Now that she is free and hasn't attended church in over a year she has not one single regret.
This "we must make a difference for Christ and His Kingdom" thing is another great bondage. Was it a group effort that brought Him to us in the first place? If so, what group? Who agreed with God that the time and place He chose was right and that they would give of their all to see that it was done? Why, one of the most important aspects of it all, Christ's crucifiction, was attended by only one of His followers. Not even His resurrection, THE most important event in all history, was witnessed by Christ's people. God intended it this way in order to shut the mouths of any of us who would even begin to think we can "make a difference." But these arrogant you-know-whats won't be silenced nor humbled before their Lord. They want to be able to stand before Him and declare all the wondrous things they did in His name and for His Kingdom. How many will be shocked at Christ's declaration that He has no knowledge of who they are? I daresay quite a few.
The perfect understanding of this perfect grace is a rare thing indeed. Many is the one who thinks that a sloppy, loosey-goosey, "a little law won't hurt" gospel is acceptable. As long as the desired result is attained, His grace will cover the rest, is the attitude. It doesn't work that way. Paul stated that anyone -- ANYONE -- who changed this message of absolute grace and absolute freedom was also free to go to hell. Oh, my! Did Paul say that? What do you think he meant when he said that anyone with a message like that be "accursed" (Galatians 1:8,9)? Something to ponder, eh?


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Richard

The perfect understanding of this perfect grace is a rare thing indeed. Many is the one who thinks that a sloppy, loosey-goosey, "a little law won't hurt" gospel is acceptable. As long as the desired result is attained, His grace will cover the rest, is the attitude. It doesn't work that way. Paul stated that anyone -- ANYONE -- who changed this message of absolute grace and absolute freedom was also free to go to hell. Oh, my! Did Paul say that? What do you think he meant when he said that anyone with a message like that be "accursed" (Galatians 1:8,9)? Something to ponder, eh?

Come on now, mixing a little law with copious amounts of grace, what's the big deal?
It's like having some one pour you a glass of pure mountain spring water and saying, oh by the way, how about a drop of strychnine in it, who knows maybe it will give you a buzzzzzzzzz!
Religion, the opiate of the masses.........Jesus on the main line tell him what you want!!!!!!!!! What the???????????


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Sherri

"Religion, the opiate of the masses.........Jesus on the main line tell him what you want!!!!!!!!! What the???????????"

Quite descript, Richard! Passionately expressive!! And 'colorful'. I love colors! : )


Posted: September 1, 2001 by Sherri

"Was it a group effort that brought Him to us in the first place?"

Great question, Neil! Made me chuckle, and I can not stop smiling!

: )

Religion creates such absurdities, doesn't it?

Thanx for the smile!! I am reallly tired today! I was pleasantly surprised to find I have enough reserves for at least a smile! Thanx again.

: )

“As God’s grace caused my formulas to become irrelevant I was left with a sense of lack because my measuring stick was still telling me that I was missing something. But those perceptions had ALWAYS suggested I was missing something, but by adopting formulas I pacified those fears giving me the illusion I was doing the best I could…” - Jim Whoa … a keeper from the past- 2001. Great line, Jim. I can relate to this so well. Ya know, I have learned, and still learning, to say “well … whatever” to those formulas and perceptions. In the end they are so empty, leading to no where … no Real Life. I find myself instead turning to a REST and contentment that could come from no other than the grace and love of Christ that indwells me. Amazing Love! Thank you for sharing your heart Jim. Nergo

I agree, Nergo!  This is an awesome Shoveletter!  thumbs up  

“As God's grace caused my formulas to become irrelevant I was left with a sense of lack because my measuring stick was still telling me that I was missing something. But those perceptions had ALWAYS suggested I was missing something, but by adopting formulas I pacified those fears giving me the illusion I was doing the best I could…” - Jim

Damn those religious measuring sticks!  LOL   They should all be broken and burned!  :)   I praise
GOD that there are no religious measuring sticks in and with Christ Jesus our Lord.  :)  He is the end  of all that bondage!  Hallelujah!  :)  He has made us a new creation in Him.  The New Creation is made perfect in Him.  :)

heart

Thanks you two for your expressions of life in appreciating what Jim wrote! Love, Adam

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