Running my race. Sometimes I do well; too often I do not.
I have recently, again and again, fallen short of the Glory of God.
I am a sinner.
I have hurt others, and I have been hurt by Christians I look up to and admire. And I have used that as an excuse to sin even more.
How did all this happen, I wonder. Maybe you wonder, too. Well, it was all too easy.
A lot of it happened through social media. Through the news. And most terribly – in my own heart.
Friends I admire and look up to would send me jokes about democrats, and I would laugh – some of them were really funny. And some of these were not just funny, some were also quite nasty.
Other friends would send me descriptions of religious republicans and the twisted things some of them are encouraging, and I would agree.
Friends from different parties would send me news articles. Too often full of truths that make my heart recoil. And too often — one sided or twisted versions of events. And I would agree for a while, before I saw more broadly and inclusively.
Friends with high ideals and good reasons sending me twisted, one sided, soul shrinking propaganda. And I would read and agree for a while. Until….
Everybody has good reasons. Too often amplified beyond reason – the kind of thing that gives opportunity to unclean spirits. Too often twisted, to make a point. Too often so one-sided as to be sinful in themselves, yet very convincing.
And here I am, a well meaning feckless chameleon; first agreeing with this and seeing it clearly. Then agreeing with that, and seeing that clearly. Boy, talk about being double-minded. I’m an expert. A friend tells me the Greek literally means two-minded, a person with two minds – actually two souls.
I have lost all sense of proportion and of the larger picture: I am bound by love, previous repentance, and duty to a King and Kingdom that is at hand: Immanuel and his Kingdom. How often do I forget the Good News of the Kingdom? Too often.
I get caught up being for this or for that; or against this and against that. As though these were my first allegiance. I forget Whose I am.
I have sinned. Repeatedly. Forgetting Whose I am, forgetting the Kingdom and Immanuel. My first allegiance. I am ashamed.
So I again repent and ask for more of Holy Spirit. For help to live not for what I eat or drink but for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Putting the Kingdom first.
Lord, help me be a beneficial influence in the culture that surrounds me, influence, share and spread the Kingdom of God. And to do this first, before and more strongly and with more skill, love and determination – than any good thing I do in well intentioned and wordly politics. Help me follow Holy Spirit so well and so much that I am full of Fruit of the Spirit. Love, self-control, kindness, patience…and control my tongue.
The Untamable Tongue
3 My brethren, (A)let not many of you become teachers, (B)knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For (C)we all stumble in many things. (D)If anyone does not stumble in word, (E)he is a[a]perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 [b]Indeed, (F)we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.5 Even so (G)the tongue is a little member and (H)boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And (I)the tongue is a fire, a world of [c]iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it (J)defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of [d]nature; and it is set on fire by [e]hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, (K)full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made (L)in the [f]similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a (M)fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? [g]Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Heavenly Verses Demonic Wisdom
13 (N)Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have (O)bitter envy and [h]self-seeking in your hearts, (P)do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 (Q)This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For (R)where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But (S)the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, (T)without partiality (U)and without hypocrisy. 18 (V)Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
I’ve noticed several things that help me live out of my New Self, my New Person. So I make a list to help me remember and do this, especially when I am under pressure. (So read slowly & meditate, or even better, have a conversation with Jesus about these matters.)
Why is this important?
My Old Person has:
been marked by sin,
has wounds & is reactive (has trauma & PTSD) because of them,
is carnal and fleshly, selfish and mean. Feels smaller than I am.
does not please God.
Does not hear God except for audible voice, which is rare and something I personally have not yet heard.
Carries the curses of a broken world, including sin, sickness and disease. Feels bad.
Cannot minister effectively.
My New Person has:
always been free of sin – and has no marks of sin.
Has no wounds and so is not reactive to wounds (has no trauma or PTSD). Feels bigger than I am.
In the culture of the Old Testament, normally people were considered clean, unless they came into contact with the unclean, such as by touching a dead body.
(Various bible translations use “Holy” and “Clean” for the same word; and “Unholy” and “Unclean” for another word. For me, “Holy” is more powerful; and “Clean” is more clear. Which words do you prefer?)
There is an important key principle here:the Unclean is more contagious than the Clean.
There is an important and parallel principle: When the Unclean came into contact with the Holy of Holies, the Unclean became Clean.
This is a ceremonial lesson about Jesus: who is the Holy of Holies and who makes clean whatever he comes into contact with.
So there is another important key principle here:the Holy of Holies is more contagious than the Unclean.
Which has important implications in healing and other ministry.
Jesus, his Anointing, and the Holy of Holies are a great context for ministry, such as preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God, healing the sick or freeing the bound.
The Holy of Holies is a model of Jesus, who makes everything clean, who makes us whole, and who heals who has set us free. Jesus has overcome the world!
28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
As a coach, teacher, leader, father, husband – in many roles and ways, I have noticed that the context seems to limit and control what can happen. If what is happening is not sufficiently good, re-create the context.
Hope is the anchor you hold on to. It’s not just God’s Glory in heaven – as wonderful a hope to hold on to as this is.
It’s in you. Now! Christ in you, your hope of Glory.
Strong’s Concordance — doxa: opinion (always good in N.T.), hence praise, honor, glory Original Word: δόξα, ης, ἡ Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: doxa Phonetic Spelling: (dox’-ah) Definition: opinion (always good in NT), praise, honor, glory Usage: honor, renown; glory, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor. (https://biblehub.com/greek/1391.htm) (Emphasis is mine.)
“The unspoken manifestation of God, splendor“
Wow. That’s the Glory of Jesus. Jesus is in you. There is Glory in you.
Now let’s experience this somewhat differently, adding richness to your experience.
Your joy is already present. Has been. Is always here. If you look deeply with silent attention, you can notice and experience this more consciously. More on purpose.
Your joy is already present, is in you, for you to attend to, notice and… dare I say it? Enjoy!
Hiding in plain sight, it was. Already available to you.
So…what to do now? Attend to your joy deeply and with silent attention. Rejoice! Yes, that’s it. Rejoice!
You have found your joy. It’s always in you, always with you. Attend silently and deeply. Notice….
Then you discover that Jesus has actually already restored you. A wonderful discovery for you to make.
This is just a fact. But, for you to experience this as fully and completely as you can, there is a condition:
You trust, rely and really depend on your Restoration more than you trust and depend on old injuries. You trust Jesusmore than you trust the Adversary or in a horribly broken world. And more than you trust old injuries.
Will you do this? (You may have habits of trusting injuries and brokenness more than your Restoration to Wholeness and Joy.)
Want some hints on how to do this even better? I’m glad you asked. Here are some especially uncomplicated ways to accomplish this (life is easy when you are doing these things – hard when you do not). Try them one at a time and discover which you are best at, which is most easy and effective for you.
Follow or walk in line with Holy Spirit. You will experience Fruit of the Spirit, including love and joy. (See Galations 5:16-25.)
Be full of Holy Spirit. Ask for more and receive by faith.
Put the right standing with God and the Kingdom of God first. This will re-align all your values in the present moment, and you will be much more in tune with the Kingdom of God.
Love God with all your heart, soul and strength. Allow God’s love for you to spill over to others.
Trust God and resist evil. In fact, draw closer to God and resist evil: a simple two direction move that will give you freedom and joy!
When you are experiencing God – as Jesus, Holy Spirit, Father – or all of these Persons of the Trinity – and you realize that Jesus is near (that’s why one of his names is Immanuel – God with us), or realize that Holy Spirit actually already lives inside of you, or how much Father loves you and has had good plans for you before the beginning – when you realize and rejoice in the nearness of God or God’s life already in you — life is easier, joyful and you are whole.
Your New Person, created by God as you came into the Kingdom, is already whole and complete and fully restored. Experience this! It’s a glorious way to live.
It is your Old Self that has the wounds and injuries. (Not you.) This is who died when you were born again. Don’t you dare live out of your dead Old Self when you can live out of your resurrected New Person!
Your New Person has nowounds.Your New Person – the real and alive “you” already has Holy Spirit – your Comforter, Guide and your Advocate for when you are being accused.
You have been completely restored, and more. Rejoice! (It’s a choice. An outstanding choice! Don’t be tricked by habits or a broken world or by the devil into living out of injuries that aren’t even alive – aren’t even really yours any more.)