Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Steps to Spiritual Healing

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo by Harold W. Becker, from Flickr
Titus 2:11-12 (NKJV)  For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

We closed our last post with that verse.  Those are the things that eliminate all the problems we discussed previously.  It also is how our illustration becomes true.  Because it's our relationship with God that creates that inner peace.  Mr Becker is actually quoting Elizabeth Gilbert from her book Eat, Pray, Love.  Live life, connect to God, love both God and people.

When we had the rioting in Baltimore, after the death of Freddie Gray,  there was a lot of news coverage and opinion pieces.  WJZ-TV is our local CBS affiliate.  And WJZ's Jessica Kartalija interviewed Ray Lewis, the famous retired Baltimore Ravens player.  He said a couple of things that really resonated with me.

Ray said, "Check your resume on the inside."  He was talking about attitudes and thinking.  I'll take that a step further to include our relationship with the Almighty.  Right thinking starts with being rightly related to God.  Our internal check list has to include our relationship with God, whether we're maintaining our end of it, if we're trusting Him or something else, etc.

Ray said something else, along with that -- "What makes you special enough to quit?".  Think about our previous posts in this series.  Much of the arguing, blame placing, finger pointing, etc. comes out of a combination of insecurity and pride.  Insecurity in lacking the perfection that God has and and pride because we want that perfection in ourselves, without God.  We must be right.  That's a toxic combination.  It takes our humanity, minimizes its importance, then tells us that's all we have to rely on.  Think about what God says.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV)  The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

John 3:14-17 (NKJV)  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 15:12 (NKJV)  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 

There's a whole lesson in those four passages, regardless of the sequence we read them in.  But let's stick to the present order.

  1. God wants to replace our fear with His power and love.  We just need to accept it.
  2. The love that makes that possible isn't dependent on what we do.  It's based on who He is. So, it's unending, eternal, and infinite.
  3. What God's love does and is can only be possible if there are no limitations, just like He has no limitations.
  4. That love is supposed to spill over from what we receive, through us, to others.
  5. If we take the two passages from John together, becoming Christ-like means we can't limit the love we display just to other believers.  God "so loved the world".  We must, too.  Not in the sense of attaching ourselves to the things of the world.  Rather, by being the bridge to allow those in the world to attach to the things of God.
The moment we take on the likeness of the Lord, all of those things happen, from Him within.  There is no judging.  Which means we love the believer, the transvestite, the pastor, the pauper, the drunk or druggie, the self righteous all equally.  Our privilege is to show all of them Jesus Christ.  From the racially prejudiced (any flavor) to the one worlder.

As our starting verse points out, God's grace is what gets us to the right place.  We'll talk about getting to the right place, on Monday.  Are you there or is there still a ways to go?

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