What is happening? Seriously, what is going on in our “Bible-believing” churches today?

Yahweh God, our Messiah Jesus… They are absolutely everything to us, or they are nothing. It has always been that way, always will be that way. And our daily life and actions clearly reveal the truth about this, about us, whether we care or not, whether we care to admit it or not. The Church of Jesus Christ, we have become increasingly adept at fudging all the lines. Content in our conservative doctrine, not much else bothers us, and we enjoy what we can, whatever we want, really.

We don’t seem to have a problem exposing our ears to just about anything, dumping just about everything into our eyes, our minds… We smugly say we have the freedom to watch… stuff… eyes slowly glazing, jaw slowly slack, mental functioning rapidly atrophying, spiritual sensitivities obliterated… Maybe it is TV, movies, radio… From the moment you sit down, you have no control over what you see, hear, and the multiple levels such communication works through… You liked the movie? Well, did Yahweh God have anything to do with it? And if He didn’t, who did? (Seriously?) And never mind that Scripture is pretty clear on what is good and bad for us… When pushed, some say “Oh, but there is good content out there!” Well, you need to eat the 99 other poison cookies to find the one that isn’t poison. And then the commercials…

And I don’t think satan had a hand in devil’s food cake. But our bodies can tell everyone around us a lot about who is the most important to us. We eat what we want, and don’t bother with exercise ‘cus it’s hard, or ‘cus stuff is already ruined… We end up over-weight, then whine to our doctor when things start to break… from abuse… But our bodies are the temple of… Well, we don’t seem too motivated to take care of His temple so much.

And God’s Word, the Bible… What role do we let it play? Aside from the fact that we seem to so easily pass off the threatening verses as cultural or, well, that text just couldn’t mean what it clearly says… The real problem is that we don’t seem to mind starving ourselves from what God Himself caused to be written. I mean, if we really love Him, we should jump at every and any opportunity to feed voraciously from His words, His truth, in both Old and New Testaments. Instead, we seem plenty content with starvation rations, like this is supposed to be ok, and we devote our time to other pursuits, pleasures, etc. Oh, we have plenty of Bibles, we are just really good at preventing them from affecting our daily lives, our choices… And we don’t supremely love the truth, so the truth doesn’t really matter, we say what we want, whatever the situation demands, and don’t even think twice as we lie through our teeth…Well, that thing called integrity, integrating God’s truth into all of life, it is just a hopelessly outdated myth, regardless what we say about it…

And prayer? Well, for many of us, this is not the outgrowth of continual absolute dependence, lived out on a daily basis. Oh we might gingerly step briefly into this scary place, but only if, and absolutely only if all of our other options, fixes, attempts have been exhausted, and frankly, God is the only hope we have left. Then, we might plead with Him, but just a little… And we only stay on this holy ground as long as we absolutely must, then we fly back to our usual support structures.

And there are other areas worth considering…

Seriously, what has happened? Doctrine is hugely important, and needs to align with what the Bible says. More practically, our theology, our understand about who God is, what He does (can do), that needs to agree not only with what the Bible says, but also how God Himself interacts with His children now (novel concept!) on a daily basis. And ministry is important too; Yahweh God wants us to be, needs us to be His hands, His feet, His mouth, and the world is full of hurting people headed for the lake of fire; do we even care? This list could go on, too.

Yahweh God, His precious, ‘perfect sacrifice’ Son, our Messiah Jesus… They NEED to be EVERYTHING, or… they really are nothing… some sort of appendage to our own lives… or maybe a badge we sometimes like to wear if it matches… or a hat we occasionally put on if it’s raining… or a heavenly insurance policy we save in the closet so we don’t lose it…

But this isn’t all. The brief post about the Agapao Watermark describes the Greek word for love that is used most often, and has by far the greatest significance for us — Agapao. This word for love basically means to put the object of our love first, and do everything we can to meet their needs. Of course we should put Yahweh God, Messiah Jesus first, far ahead of ourselves, far ahead of everything else. The discussion above should make that clear.

But the people around us, do we put them first? Do we put them ahead of ourselves? The most fundamental, foundational transformation that should take place when a person becomes a believer in and follower of Jesus is: putting others first, just like Yahweh God did for us. THIS TRANSFORMATION is the Agapao Watermark, and ‘should’ show in every believer! Paul even told us to do this specifically, explicitly (“consider others more important than yourselves…” I know we don’t like that verse). Paul didn’t really need to write this, because putting others first is the key concept embedded in Agapao, a word he uses often. That is the way Yahweh God treats us, and the Bible says we should treat others the same way. Do we? Are we willing, committed to loving others around us the way Yahweh God loves us — to give what they need regardless of the personal cost? Putting others first is a hard road; that has never changed. But, it is the narrow road, the right path.

The heart of the matter is this. We often use the picture of a throne; there is one in each of our hearts. Who do WE PUT on that throne? Well, as believers we only get two choices; there are only two possibilities. This thing the Bible calls the flesh or the word self, both refer to the same thing. I… I am the one on that throne, I… I am calling all the shots, every shot. And I… I can say anything, say I believe anything, do anything, even religious stuff… I… I can make myself look so good, I can say, do all the right things… But it is I… I, myself, I am firmly sitting on that throne. (Smoke and mirrors… The “I” amounts to putting satan there…)

But the essence of SIN is SELF RULE, putting the self on that throne! How can we not see that, after Yahweh God saved us, putting our own self, our flesh, that “I”, back on that throne even for a second is such a blinding, aggravating AFFRONT to Yahweh God, the King of the Universe who Himself holds every single atom in our body together.

He… He sent his OWN SON to die as our Sin Offering… Yes… It is He… He belongs on that throne, He should be the one calling EVERY shot. He should be the one to whom we bow in absolute dependence and utter obedience. It is His throne… HE and HE ALONE belongs at the very center of our lives, calling every shot, sourcing every aspiration, marking every goal… The Bible tells me so…

Ground zero…

Are you allowing Yahweh God to sit on His throne in your heart, forever banishing the rebel self? Are you willing to devote all your life, every breath, every step, every second… to obeying… no, to doing everything you can to PLEASE Yahweh our God? Are you then following that by consistently putting the people around you ahead of, more important than yourself, serving, helping them every way you can, according to their needs?

This is all Yahweh God has ever wanted, all He ever wants!

This is not legalism. It is giving Yahweh God everything(1), which is the only “logicane latreian” (Rom. 12:1), the only reasonable response to… HIS… infinite… grace… It is adoration, it is abandon. It is complete, utter abandon, but not reckless by any means. It is the safest place in the universe.

Giving Yahweh God everything… this is where I am trying to stand, and have been for decades.  This should tell you a lot about me. Not much else matters, I don’t think, even if my family has…. Never mind…

Either you are giving Yahweh God everything, or you are just playing games with Him. I think He knows the difference.

— ACR, c2017

—–

(1) Ok, so let me get this straight…  You want Yahweh God to give YOU everything; He gave you His precious, priceless, perfect sacrifice Son, and now you want Him to take amazing care of you, your needs and wants, even as He holds together every single atom in your body preventing personal thermonuclear catastrophe… then… you give back… peanuts…  You want to go about your business, giving Him as little as possible (enough to look good) while you go your own way, do your own thing, praying for His blessing on top…  In the face of HIS eternal, infinite grace… such a response is eternally… disgusting…

 

 

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