As I was responding to a comment from a most excellent brother this morning, I realized that it would make for a good Spoonful. You can find the original conversation here: Obedience, Part 5
I remember being the one who used to look for those direct yes or no answers to my questions as I attempted to determine one's spiritual status. It took a while for me to break through to the realization that the fleshly mind was more than eager to prove itself by learning how to provide the right answers to any series of questions. Much is written in the Bible about how a man's words reveal his heart, but we sadly misunderstand the truth of this reality because we fall back upon the processes of the intellectual mind.
As I witnessed how often religious folks could provide a consistent set of answers to Biblically-based questions without any true connection to life, I also came to realize that I had been duped by the facade of the fleshly world. No doubt it was disturbing to discover that my former methods of spiritual examination and discernment gave me no real insight. However, in Christ, nothing is for naught. For in having my eyes opened to the vastness of the lie of man, my confidence in the facade of the world was also destroyed.
It's not that I gained any kind of super power or insight into the meanings of what people were saying, it's more that I came to recognize the questionable spirit behind it so much of it. Whereas, in my former perception, I may have been impressed with the speaker's insight or wisdom, I now often hear only a request for validation, aka. justification. I remember being blown away by the simplicity of the interaction between Jesus and a lawyer (as found in Luke 10:25-29):
And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. "And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE." But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Luke 10:25-29
I used to get caught up on the seeming works-based implications in Jesus' statement "Do this and you will live," but it was only the religious mind that had me running down a bogus rabbit trail (for according to the Law, his statement was correct). Now, the only thing that comes through to me in their discussion is the simple fact that the lawyer was able to correctly answer a Biblical question regarding the meaning of the Law based upon how it read to him. But what was behind the Law-man's question? His desire to justify himself.
You know what? It makes no difference what direction the response takes, the natural-minded man will always come up with some rational, arguable diversion ... just as this lawyer did by asking, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus didn't answer him in view of the correct or Biblical response, he spoke to him in view of the life that will not be contained by the fleshly, religious mind. He answered the lawyer according to the man's attempt to justify himself. When we who are born of God refuse to be intimidated by the voice of the world, we will hear the same simplicity, for those who are of the world speak according to the world. And when we're listening without the intimidation of the fleshly mind, we're also going to hear life coming from some of the most unexpected places.
Adam and have continued with the topic of obedience (which interrupted the series on Hebrews), and we now have 5 audios in this new series. While it may not fit the expectations that some may have regarding the subject of obedience, I can tell you that it digs behind the religious facade and destroys much of what we have come to accept as obedience. If our seeming lack of religious lingo and buzzwords bothers you, you may also want to consider that Jesus himself did not fit with the expectations of the world around him ... especially the religious expectations.
Come, check 'em out!