Thursday, November 10, 2011

….Not Your Thoughts

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. – Isaiah 55:8
That’s the verse we started our last post with. Along with a question about church use of resources.  Exactly where we want to begin today.  If you recall, the question was why churches, with millions (or more) in resources didn’t do more for the poor and the hungry and less for their own decor.  And there are a whole series of answers.

  1. Jeremiah 17:9 has one answer: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  We tend to be self oriented, if left to our own resources.
  2. If we compare ourselves to each other and to ourselves, we will see ourselves as much worse or much better than we really are.
  3. Whether we give credit or assign blame, as often as not, it’s in the wrong direction.
Keep those in mind as we delve a little deeper.  We started with the most serious and ended with the least serious, but not by much.  As we look at them in more depth, we’re going from 3 to 1.

Consider that the corporate church and corporations are really mythical beings to allow the flesh of man to do what it wants with some level of impunity not allowed to individuals.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are times when a corporate legal entity is necessary and beneficial.  But the original question that led to the previous post and this one, along with the “Occupy ….” movement, misses the first sentence of this paragraph.  It’s people not corporate entities that are the heart of the issue.  That makes #3 a little messy, doesn’t it? 

When credit is due, it’s individuals.  And, when there’s blame, it’s individuals not some mythical legal entity.  So, fixing problems means fixing them on an individual level if the solutions are going to work on a corporate level.  Which brings us to #2.  When we look in the spiritual and psychological mirror, using ourselves and our viewpoint as the barometer, there are two possibilities.  We either think of ourselves as doing well or failing miserably.  And we’ll measure others in the same way.  Are we wrong?  Take a look at #1.

Jeremiah uses some interesting phrases.  Deceitful.  Desperately wicked.  The depth of depravity doesn’t have to be very much for that to be true.  It only requires leaving God out of the equation.  Because God is a standard and sets a standard that we know we can’t even come close to by ourselves.  And our deceitful heart will tell us that God expects us to reach unattainable goals without any assistance from Him.  Which is why we tend to reject church and God. 

We avoid accountability, even to our own lesser standards.  So, we put a false layer of protective bravado around us before we get the opportunity to find out how easy God wants to make things for us.  Because He loves us.  It’s simple.  By accepting a relationship with Him and what Jesus did at the Cross, we shift a major chunk of our accountability to Christ.  But don’t worry.  He doesn’t get it all.  We still have our free will and responsibility for that.  God doesn’t expect us to become gutless automatons.  And He doesn’t offer salvation to mythical corporate entities.  There is a way to put it all together.

If you’ve never had a personal relationship with God, let me make a suggestion.  Find a Bible or a New Testament.  Allow yourself some time to read and think about what you’ve read.  And read the Gospel of John.  Take your time to fully understand it and let it sink in.  As you read it, when you’re ready, ask Him to come into your heart.  When you do, it’ll be a life changing experience that will change how you think and act.  For some, it’s an immediately explosive kind of experience.  For others, it’s a quiet, gradual transformation.  Either way, you won’t regret it.

If you’re a Christian, but haven’t allowed God the freedom to fully work in your life, I’ll suggest the same reading.  Let God show you how blessed you can be.  Actually, you already are.  But there’s a way you can experience that now.  And this is one way to develop that experience.  Give yourself the benefit of God’s Grace growing in your life.

Finally, if you’re a Christian who’s blessed beyond belief, growing in the grace and knowledge of Him?  Yup.  Read it.  There’s always more than we saw the last time we read it.  And we get more blessed, gain more grace, are covered by more mercy.

What’s going to be your special passage in the Gospel of John?

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