The Problem with “Instant” Perfection

false-holiness

When I was a newly born believer, I was so shocked that God did not instantly make me a perfect Christian. There was still this albatross around my neck called “the flesh,” even after experiencing the love and closeness of Christ in my life and even His healing miracles. Why didn’t He just do the “Tinker Bell” thing with His magic wand and make me an instant “super Christian’? I soon learned that the Christian life is a life chastened by trials and that God’s work of bringing forth His Son in us is a lifelong process.

Over the years I have asked Him why He chose this slow agonizing way to bring forth Christ in us. He has shown me that because of our Adamic roots, we have to learn obedience to the Father by the things that we suffer, often the consequences of doing it wrong. Even Christ chose to come in the form of a lowly servant.  We reason, “but wouldn’t God have made Him more useful for His purposes if He had come with the power of a Roman Emperor or High Priest?” No, He forsook that kind of power to show us that a man born of a woman in the lowest social position can overcome everything that is of Adam and learn obedience to the Father through suffering.

So why is it that God does not make us like the angels, perfectly obedient to Him? The answer can be found here in this description of Satan:

You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God… You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you… you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub… Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you. (Ezek 28:14-17, KJ2000)

How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the farthest sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet you shall be brought down to sheol, to the sides of the pit. (Isa 14:12-15, KJ2000)

If one of God’s perfectly created beings could be corrupted by his own beauty and wisdom, how much more we who have been born in the likeness of sinful Adam?

God has chosen to bring forth upon the earth–the very domain of Satan–a Son who was first a helpless baby and then a man who had “no form or beauty that any man should desire Him” (see Isaiah 53:2-3). He was the proto-type of many sons and daughters He would bring into full glory by overcoming trials and weakness through faith in His Son.

This life of weakness and living death, dear saints, is for one purpose—so we learn that except for the grace and mercy of God working in us, we would be our own worst devil, capable of the worst sins and pride. God has already lost a third of the angels to this delusion of worshiping their own greatness and perfection and He is making sure that we have the mind of Christ and not Lucifer in His kingdom. He is working by making us weak, humbling us so that we rightly assess our old natures, despise them, and call on Him to do whatever it takes to bring forth the spiritual maturity of His very own Son in us. He wants an unconditional surrender to His perfect will and for us to abide in His wonderful love. We love Him because He first loved us and gave everything He had to save us from ourselves.

So What Is “Perfect” for Us When it Comes to Fellowship?

As I was mulling this over this morning, it became evident that our idea of perfection and God’s idea of perfection are not be the same. Jesus was made perfectly obedient through the things that He suffered. He was also made perfect in love while surrounded by doubters, sinners and twelve disciples who often didn’t get what He was teaching them. To one of them He had to say, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” In all honesty, they ALL desired the things of the typical Jewish male — for Messiah to come and set up a worldly kingdom with them in charge — not so different from another one who said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God [the angels and the people of God]: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation”? Some of us have come across that delusion, first in bad church leadership, and finally having to admit that it was in us!

No, dear saints, God uses our imperfection and humanity so that our “iron” sharpens another saint’s “iron” and we call out for Him to form His perfectly forbearing love in our hearts. God puts us with other people (even in marriage) who are not perfect, but that have been made “perfect” in their imperfections to be used by His power to change us! Even Jesus cried out, “Oh you of such little faith. How long must I suffer you?”

In God’s wonderful plan He has been able to turn the tables on Satan by using our flesh to humble us and work forgiveness in our hearts for others just like us. Like Joseph said to his brothers when they came before him in Egypt, “But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.”

Body life in the body of Christ is not something perfect in our way of thinking, but it is perfect in His if we live in close enough proximity to one another and dwell together in transparency. Fellowship is designed to bring us into His perfection as we work through our own imperfections and those of our fellow saints. John wrote:

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:7-9, ESV2011)

Dear saints, may we look upon the imperfections in one another and see the hand of God working. It is easy to find fault with one another, but it is best to look for those things that are “…true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things… and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Phil 4:8-9, KJ2000)

Advertisements

45 comments on “The Problem with “Instant” Perfection

  1. I really love the title and the pic you chose, Michael! I see these three halos above the monks’ heads as representing the Trinity. So, all of them seem to have the Holy Spirit, but do they see HIM in one another, too? 😉

    Your article has been God-inspired, my brother. Excellent exposition! ⭐

    Regardless of all our imperfections, I believe that, first of all, God wants to make us love all our enemies. That is the divine perfection Jesus set an example of. Equipped with a new heart on which has been written God’s perfect law, HE will be able to do everything He wants through us without our old nature always rebelling against HIM. However, our spoiled Old Adam must die before this happens. Here is the Scripture I referred to.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:43-48 ESV)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, at first I cringed inside when I read your litmus test for whether Christ has overcome our flesh in us… “God wants to make us love all our enemies.” You are right, that is the Spirit of His Son. We must come to see that even our enemies are our friends for the thing that makes us hate and dislike them is what God wants to change in our hearts. If it is true that ALL things work together for the good of those who love God and are called by Him for His purpose, then those who persecute and malign us are being used by Him to humble us and bring us closer to Christ. Yes, dear sister, as this passage you quoted says, loving our enemies from the depth of our hearts is a sure sign that we are perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.

      Father change our hearts and conform us into the the image of your Son on this earth.

      Wow! He just put this verse in my mind, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matt 5:9, KJ2000)

      Thank you for your comment, dear heart. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are very welcome, my dear brother. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        A merciful, forgiving heart towards those who have hurt us the most… It has been there all along in our Bibles… Waiting to be applied.

        Micah 6:6-8
        With what shall I come before the Lord,
        And bow myself before the High God?
        Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
        With calves a year old?
        Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
        Ten thousand rivers of oil?
        Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
        The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
        He has shown you, O man, what is good;
        And what does the Lord require of you
        But to do justly,
        To love mercy,
        And to walk humbly with your God?

        Hosea 6:6
        For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
        And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

        Matthew 23:23
        Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.

        Matthew 5:7
        Blessed are the merciful,
        For they shall obtain mercy.

        All the sacrifices in the world will amount to nothing if we are not merciful, loving people. Sometimes you think you have forgiven a person, but when you meet them, you realize your heart is not quite clean of that old bitterness. I can bring myself to a point of being kind, friendly and helpful to the person, to have a disposition to be loving. But deep down, I know some of the old me says, Do you remember…? And no, I don’t want to remember.

        I prefer to focus on the good that came out of the bad. How God used that person to bring a Christ-awareness in me. How, for example, the bullying I suffered in the three schools I went to, in the end helped me realize my best friend was Jesus, the only one who truly understood rejection as I did. And it helped me realize many people suffer daily similar wounds, and perhaps I could somehow help. With prayers, with a word…

        When you’ve had not one but many Joseph experiences, you come to a point when you realize too many people are suffering to be licking your own wounds. Too many people are starving, like the people in Egypt. And God has given US the bread of life, Jesus, and now He’s saying, They don’t need to leave. YOU go feed them!

        I believe the road to perfection begins when you realize that, just like many people have hurt you deeply, YOU have inflicted serious wounds on other people. Perhaps without the intention to do so, but if we take Matthew 5:21-26 and 1 John 3:15 seriously, we’re all serial killers! At least I am… 😦

        So, knowing how much damage you’ve done with your thoughts, your tongue, your actions, you realize, oh, my, who am I to criticize ANYBODY?

        And when God changes your heart, He’s so good that He gives you the privilege of healing other people’s hearts with words that come out of His kindness. Not only empowered to forgive, but also to be ministers of reconciliation. Because not only does He give you a heart to love your enemies, but He empowers you to love His enemies. Those who don’t know Him yet. You can honestly think, if God could save a wretch like me, who am I to think He can’t save this person?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Thank you, Carina, this was very good. This was very soul searching, dear sister. I DO believe that Jesus requires us to forgive and love our enemies, but I am not sure that means we have to go running back to them and submit to their abusive ways (thinking of abusive church leaders here). Even David had enough of Saul and went with his men and hid in a cave for a season until God did something about it. Any input, dear sister?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        No, you’re right. Though there is a passage in Romans 12 that talks about a disposition to help, even our enemies, when they’re in need:

        Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore
        “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
        If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
        For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
        Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

        I would say the key here to seeking to reestablish a relationship with your enemy is “If your enemy is HUNGRY/THIRSTY.”

        I will give you a specific example. I have a cousin who is very dear to me who has been rejected and disowned by her own parents. Because she dared to tell her parents she disagreed with a horrible, unmerciful decision they’d made (putting her grandma into an old people’s home against the old lady’s wishes), they told her “You’re no longer our daughter.” For about 5 years, they’ve had basically no relationship, except for a few emails or phone calls. When she reaches out, she’s basically treated with coldness. Should she continue to seek a relationship her parents don’t really want? Probably not. They’re not hungry and thirsty for a relationship with her, and by seeking anything from them, she’s basically setting herself up to be hurt again. I think in that case, the best you can do is pray, and keep your distance until God tells you to reach out again. Like Jesus said, if you go to a house and they reject you, Leave!

        When I was talking about being used to heal others, I was thinking, basically, of people who have suffered basically the same kinds of wounds like we have.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Carina, thanks for your enlightening reply. You shared, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’” Yes, it is necessary that we pray for them and let God do the rest. Only HE knows what is in a man or woman’s heart and just how to deal with them. We are NOT God.

        This was a good point, Carina, “IF your enemy is hungry, feed him…” So many abusive pastors in the church are far from being “hungry” until God takes them down to size. Some never see their sin as it has been with one abusive cult leader we were under whom I tried many times to be restored, but some do. I have been restored to one of them that went through much hell after his wife left with the kids and sided with the cult leaders that he had naively brought into the church and caused a huge church split through which many of us suffered. He was finally left alone for years with no family and none of his former congregation trusted him. It took years, but God arranged it for us to meet and be restored. In fact he found me on the net and made the first move! Another abusive pastor was deposed by his board of directors six months after he drove us out of the church accusing me of the very sin he was to be found guilty of. I saw him a couple years later, but he was still bitter and did not want to be restored. I have not seen him since.

        Yes, like you, I also want to be used to heal others who have been victims of abuse, but I find that until we let go of our bitterness and forgive, that helping them is almost impossible. Not all want to forgive and they live terrible lives of bitterness that eats at their bodies and souls as a result. With these it is hard to get them to forgive and to counsel them this way make YOU are their enemy. I always say, “Just because God wants you to forgive and love that abusive person, does not mean that you have to submit to their abusive ways any longer. If we seek to obey God in this matter, eventually He gives us love for them and gets us to pray for them, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        Well, the passage I’ve just quoted includes “IF IT IS POSSIBLE, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

        In what depends on us, which is a disposition to forgive and restore, we can say Yes and Amen to God’s way. The other person’s reaction is beyond our control. If we can’t live peaceably with certain men, the best thing is to love them from a safe distance!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Well put, Carina. It is obvious you have prayed over this whole issue of forgiveness for some time.
        Thanks for your comments.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        Well, in the school of many stripes, it’s a lesson the Holy Spirit has had to repeat many, many times! The merit goes to the Teacher, not the student. 😉

        I guess when you’ve been hurt and rejected a zillion times, you get to a point where you say, Here we go again! Like a muscle you’ve HAD to exercise so often that over time, it became easier to use it.

        But I’ve experienced a supernatural empowerment to forgive and have compassion for the people who have hurt me when I dispose my heart to pray for my enemies. Many times I had to decide at first to die to my hurt and force myself to pray the prayers, pronounce the blessings over my enemies, and every time the Lord would bring the person I would choose to die, and continue to pray and ask for God’s full forgiveness of that person’s sin, His grace to cover the person’s sinfulness and provide a grace the person didn’t deserve. It didn’t happen overnight, but over time, as I persevered in the prayers for blessing for the offender, I experienced compassion and an earnest desire for that person to be really forgiven and blessed. And in some cases, that change in MY heart, over time, brought that person back to me, with at least enough change for at least some cordiality, if not friendliness.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Carina, I cannot say that I have had this kind of perseverance in my prayers for abusive people in my life. I tend to forgive them with His help and keep a safe distance after that. Though there are a few that He made sure I was confronted with until I DID really pray for them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        Well, I’m going to sound a little selfish here. I hate being bitter, because of how destructive it is to MY heart, my life, the relationships I have with the people I love. Praying for my enemies is what I found works best, at least for me, if I want to make sure to forgive them completely and remove bitterness from my heart. In a sense, I’m doing it for myself, to keep my soul clean from any hindrance to fellowship with God and other people.

        It’s not that I put my enemies on my prayer list (I don’t have a prayer list, for that matter!) but when I’m praying, if I remember a person who has hurt me, I know it’s because the Lord wants me to pray for that person. If I don’t pray for that person, I find forgiveness is more difficult, perhaps even impossible.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Good advise, Carina.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Don Merideth says:

    Michael, I want to die right now, that is to die to all the wretched things in the deep recesses of my heart. Just this week the Lord revealed to me that I was putting too much emphasis on the reckoning part, as Paul said, “reckon yourself dead to sin” and not on the yielding and surrendering to allow Him to transform. Who shall deliver me from this body of sin……. I thank God for Christ Jesus my Lord Who will deliver and transform me. I’m learning to rest and when He touches the right button that needs to transform that wretched part of me that I hate, I throw up my hands and surrender, saying, Lord, deliver me from myself!!! I’m realizing more and more that I can do absolutely nothing apart from Jesus doing it for me. I hold fast to a definition of Grace that the Lord gave me a long time ago and means more now than ever. “Grace is the empowering Presence of God that enables me to do what I can’t do for myself”.
    Love in Christ, Don

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Don, you wrote, “I want to die right now, that is to die to all the wretched things in the deep recesses of my heart.” That reminds me of what one pastor said one time, “Dealing with the flesh in Christians would be easy if we could immerse them three times during their baptism and only bring them up twice!” 🙂

      ” Who shall deliver me from this body of sin……. I thank God for Christ Jesus my Lord.” Yes, He is up to what it takes to get us there, my brother.

      “I’m realizing more and more that I can do absolutely nothing apart from Jesus doing it for me.” This is so true. We finally have to become as desperate as He shows us how HE sees us that we are like that blind man who would not be silenced as He cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”

      I will never forget the time when He made His words to the lame man by the pool jump out at me, “Would you be made WHOLE?” At that time I wanted to only to be made to walk again so I could stretch forth my hand and go where I wanted and as added insurance I wanted to leave my cot beside the pool just in case I fell and needed to be healed again. It is one thing to be healed, but a frightful thing to be made whole and have to walk righteously before God when we still have more faith in our flesh than we do in the power of God to keep us.

      Some time or other we will be made to leave our Romans seven existence and start walking in all the truths of Romans eight, but it will be done totally by His grace and His power in us. Like He told Abraham, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be you perfect.” He is almighty and He has the power to change and perfect us. He just wants us to quit trying to do it ourselves. Sometimes that means we need to get our eyes off ourselves altogether, both our triumphs and failures. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

      Romans seven is filled with personal pronouns, I, I, me, me, my. But Romans eight shows a total change of focus by Paul and it is all about giving glory to God for what He has done and is doing. Like Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…” It is His life in us and His faith we live by if we are to live in the victory of Romans eight. The less I think about myself and the more I fix my eyes on Him, the happier I am.

      Love you, my brother,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “Over the years I have asked Him why He chose this slow agonizing way to bring forth Christ in us.”

    Hmm, I guess it really can be slow and agonizing, but I see it more as kindness, as gentle and delicate surgery. God is so kind to us, so respectful for lack of a better word, that He allows us to go slowly, that He builds us up precept by precept.

    I myself am often impatient with people, I want them fixed immediately, but a few times God has had to remind me that we can’t collapse people’s psyches, that change is a process. That collapsing our psyche thing, that would be a bit like dumping too much truth on us all at once. It’s traumatic. We’re like children, and so we are eased into it gently and carefully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Gabrielle, I think my experience with Him is more like “To the gentle He shows Himself gentle, but to the harsh He shows Himself to be harsh.” We tend to reap what we sow.

      “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt 5:7, KJ2000)

      You are right, though, He only tackles one thing that needs to be changed in us at a time and that is His mercy upon us for sure.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael and Gabrielle,

        I think the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ is an experience which we would have never chosen on our own and it is said that only a few people must go through it. As for me, I cannot call the pain suffered during this process a consequence of God’s gentle and delicate dealings with me, quite the contrary. 😦 It is indeed a horrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God Who is a Consuming Fire! But what I can say is that I always experience the gentleness of His hand after another dark and painful valley in which He enlightened more and more of the dark corners in my heart.

        Gabrielle, I recall one of your comments on my blog where you so aptly described that God deals differently with immature believers (little children) and mature believers (adults) – am paraphrasing you here. We know that a little child is not necessarily a new believer in Jesus. Today we have to do with carnal Christianity which is full of believers who never became spiritual for fear of suffering by avoiding the cross. In fact, it is suffering (with Christ) alone that will change us into mature spiritual believers at last.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Excellent! Well said, Susanne. This fits perfectly with my own experience in my wilderness and “dark night.”

        As for His ways with us as individuals, the Lord gave me this passage at the beginning of my own experience of the dark night. It took me many years to fully understand it in light of His individual working with each of His saints…

        “For his God does instruct him aright, and does teach him. For the dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, neither is a cart wheel rolled over the cummin; but the dill is beaten out with a stick, and the cummin with a rod. Bread grain is ground; therefore he will not forever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor crush it with his horsemen. This also comes forth from the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.” (Isa 28:26-29, KJ2000)

        Thank you, dear friend with whom I walk.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        There comes to a point when you have seen so much darkness in your old self that you cry out to Him and say, Oh, please, remove it all at once!!! Don’t bother with anesthaesia! I’m tired of the same old me! But then, it’s like being at the dentist’s office. The minute you hear the drill, you say, ok, perhaps it’s better if you extract just one tooth today. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Carina, this is an interesting analogy. Actually, when God showed me how HE saw me in my self-righteous state, it was so ugly that I said, “God this is terrible! Just kill it! You do not share your glory with any man of flesh.” Well, He started killing me by unplugging my soul from any sense of His love or presence until all was darkness, almost as dark as it was before He saved me. I never knew that dying to self could be SO dead and it lasted for twelve years before the light started to come on again, though very dimly for the next two years after that. For most that 12 years I had spent that time kicking against my prison cell, but finally one day I prayed, “God if this state of dead-ness is all that you have for me the rest of my life, I submit. You are God and I am not. It is yours to do with me as YOU will.”

        Does He still show me darkness in my heart? Yes He does and each time I have to give Him permission to do what it takes to be rid of it and it still hurts. This is a path with many heartaches, but the triumphs, when they finally come, are SO glorious!

        Thanks for sharing your walk with us dear sister,
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The blog and everyone’s comments on this is about the best words I’ve ever read. Seriously.

    Thoughts:
    Jesus always has the Glory and not ourselves.
    We will need his mercy on us all the way to the gates of Heaven.
    We know how desperately we need mercy, then we should have an idea how bad our enemies need it.
    We can’t do like we should so how can we expect other to.
    Even knowing these things, we can’t live it out in ourselves. We can only do it as he is the only life in us.

    Praise to his holy name. He gives mercy.

    I was crying in my heart one night over my inability to live like I thought I should and told the Lord that he told me I would have peace and love but it was not what I had. I told him that I needed to feel his arms around me. The next morning about ten o’clock in a Kechi Ks. storage parking lot the Lord said the following:

    I know how you are. Let me tell you about me. I am the creator of everything, including you and I love every speck of my creation to the extent I would die to save any piece of it, including you. My love for you is not based on your performance but it is based upon the fact that I am the Father that created you. Because I love this way I have made it to where my presence is literally with every speck of my creation 24/7. Nothing happens to my creation that I am not fully aware of.

    No audible voice, just pressed into my mind and heart. My heart cried again but it was from joy.

    FYI, I need his mercy every second of the day. He is slowly changing me and I think he is incredible.

    Love you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Russ, thanks for your comment.

      When Adam and Eve took of that forbidden fruit, the knowledge of good and evil, they elected to make decisions on their own and “be like God” without God not waiting upon and obeying His thoughts any longer. Paul said, “Be not conformed to this world, but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind.” He also said,“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” and “You have the mind of Christ.” If we have been born of the Spirit, we have the mind of the Spirit of Christ available to us for He dwells in us. As long as we are trying to follow our own minds we are in trouble. The mind of the flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit wars against the flesh. As long as our best “religious thoughts” are OUR THOUGHTS, we will fail.

      The hardest thing for us to do is to rest in HIM. The mind of the flesh is enmity against God. Our mind is “renewed” by being replaced by His. As long as our wheels are turning, the Spirit can’t get a word in edgewise. David understood the problem and said, “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. (Ps 131:2, KJ2000).

      Paul wrote,

      “To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory.” (Col 1:27, AMP)

      It is in this state of rest, our minds waiting on Him to engage them with HIS thoughts, that the glory of Christ can start being made manifest in and through us as we obey. I have this hope that we CAN mature IN Christ and not be subjugated to the vanity of our minds all our lives in rebellion against God. If not, the gospel has no power. We have hope of being transformed by His power into obedient sons and daughters of God and I do not mean “pie in the sky by and by.”

      “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1John 3:1-3, ESV2011)

      Our hope is IN Him and we have the hope of His glory abiding in us as we rest IN Him. YES! HE is incredible, my brother. It is incredible to us that HE would call us HIS children and even His mature sons for He knows our end from the beginning. He even calls those things which are not as though they are. Oh, what a great salvation is ours as we rest in Christ!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As a young woman, I struggled w/ perfectionism, one of many after-effects of abuse. Perfection, I thought, would make me acceptable…would cover my scars. Perfectionism and perfection are, however, distinct. Perfectionism is the pursuit of a chimera. It allows no rest. Only when my own efforts to achieve perfection were exhausted did God’s love set me free.

    As you’ve set forth more eloquently than I can, this amazing God of ours loves us, imperfect as we are. Perfection belongs to Him alone. But He covers us w/ the blood of His Son. By His stripes we are healed (Isa. 53: 5).

    We err daily, yet God in His great mercy, both forgives and transforms us.

    Thank you, Michael. ❤

    With love,

    Your friend A.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Anna, This is a wonderful distinction to finally see. I would have driven myself into an early grave if God had not stepped in and shown me the idolatry that was in me to be a perfectionist. I was born as a Type “A” personality it seems and I am sure my parenting had something to do with it, too, as I was always trying to “be good enough” to get approval. It is good to be delivered from this by the grace of God. It makes our friendship and fellowship much more relaxing. 🙂
      Thank you for sharing your live with us, too, Anna. ❤
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        Michael and Anna,

        I think I know a little about Type A. 😉 I don’t know if this is partly genetic, but surely upbringing has a lot of influence. I was raised by a Type A dad, have been a perfectionist most of my life, and my husband has been raised by another Type A dad.

        I see a lot of that in my son, that’s why I wonder if genes are partly to blame. Samuel (7) can beat himself up when he loses, and gets extremely frustrated when he can’t do something or when he doesn’t understand his homework. We’re daily praying that God will help us teach him to pursue excellence, but understand that what matters the most is the fact we’re making progress, not the current stage we’re at. Honestly, I see my not-so-old self reflected in some of his capricious, self-willed, rebellious attitudes.

        We certainly don’t want to transmit our own frustrations, our anger, our unresolved issues, our desires to have the perfectly obedient son from the idyllic Christian model. I have already come to terms with the fact that I’m not and can’t be the perfect mum. Ouch! Big crush to my ego! Hopefully, I’m improving. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Carina, I find that if we really are seeking to walk in the holiness of Christ, He shows us through others we walk in the light with as He bids them to speak what they have seen. At this point we can be defensive or we can humble ourselves and ask God to change us. I was also shown myself in the actions of another that from the outside seemed quite obtuse. Then He showed me how I had done the same things in a similar setting in the past. One thing I have learned, pride is not worth hanging onto and humbling ourselves and asking forgiveness is always good.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        You’re very right. I cannot tell you how many times the Lord has used little Samuel to point at our inconsistencies and the sins we might be tempted to minimize!

        Just the other day, he told me, Why were you cursing? And I said, Why? I didn’t curse! He replied, You said “God!”. He had instinctively discerned, though we hadn’t taught him that yet, that I had used the Lord’s name in vain to express my frustration! Sometimes little children have more wisdom than adults!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Yes, Carina, we can learn so much from our kids, especially when they are young and not defiled by the world of pretense and dishonesty we have grown so accustomed to and often been defile by ourselves. This gives more meaning to what Jesus was talking about when He said, “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for the blog. I have just read the blog and all the replies.

    Father God, thank you for your ways. Help us to walk in them and to love them.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. terryswigart says:

    Forgiveness is a concept that I’ve wrestled with for a number of years. Not long ago I googled, “Is forgiveness unconditional?” I spent the better part of the afternoon reading various ideas on forgiveness. From what I gathered there are two main camps – those who believe in unconditional forgiveness and those who believe in conditional forgiveness.

    At this point in my journey, I lean toward conditional forgiveness. I believe God’s love is unconditional but His forgiveness is conditional.

    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse of of all unrighteousness.

    This verse hinges our forgiveness on our confession of sin. In Ephesian 4:32 it says to forgive one another just as in Christ God forgave you. This seems to me to indicate that we need to discern how God has forgiven us. I believe God loved me long before He ever forgave me. And it was only after I acknowledged sin in my life and repented that He forgave. His love and sacrifice made forgiveness possible.

    If forgiveness was unconditional wouldn’t everybody go to heaven?

    I believe we can love someone and not forgive them. But we demonstrate our love by making forgiveness and reconciliation available to them.

    Jesus did tell us to love our enemies, but I’m unaware of any verse that tells us to forgive our enemies.

    In Matthew 18 Jesus outlines a 3 step process to follow if your brother sins against you. If the process makes it to the last step, and he refuses to listen, Jesus says to regard him as a pagan. That doesn’t sound like forgiveness to me.

    I think forgiveness can sometimes be a cop-out or an excuse to avoid the uncomfortable situation of confronting sin in our brother, when actually the confronting may be an act of love, giving the offender the opportunity be get right with God and others. Because all sin, ultimately, is an offense against God. And I believe He is eager to have the relationship restored (think prodigal son) and wants us to know how serious it is if it isn’t restored.

    I think giving and forgiving have some things in common. Both should be done cheerfully. God loves a cheerful giver. Does He also love a cheerful forgiver? I think so. Grace is free but it didn’t come cheap. We should also forgive freely, but not unconditionally.

    There are depths of love and forgiveness I cannot fathom. The comments to this blog are insightful and seem refined compared to mine. Perhaps I’ve not been through the refiner’s fire as much as others. But I am trying to get this forgiveness thing right. There is much I need to learn any input, insight, or correction is welcome.

    Thanks Michael, for the helpful website.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carina says:

      Hi Terry,

      Just a few thoughts. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not synonymous. When it comes to human relationships, you can choose to forgive someone who has deeply offended you, while choosing NOT to come back to that person to get hurt again. Unless there is repentance on the part of the offender, it is usually safer to keep your distance or even cut off the relationship when the hurt has been serious.

      We are asked to forgive always for our own good. Bitterness can destroy our spiritual lives, according to Hebrews 12:15.
      We CAN forgive because ultimately, God is God, so we can leave all judgment to Him. Vengeance is mine, He says. He will decide if He will bring judgment on that person, or in His mercy bring that person to a place of true repentance so (some of) the consequences of that sin can be avoided. We can rest assured that He will set all things right!
      Our part is to make sure to request His forgiveness AND forgive everyone.

      There’s a serious warning after the Lord’s Prayer on the consequences of choosing NOT to forgive. If WE ourselves choose to be the “judge” of the offender in our unforgiveness and do not “refer the case” to the Ultimate, All-knowing Judge (by “referring the case” I mean casting on Him your burden of deep hurt, anger, and all other negative feelings and argument and bringing it to the Cross), according to Jesus, God will NOT forgive us.

      There are other passages that speak about God’s forgiveness tied to our own forgiveness of others. The parable of the two debtors comes to mind.

      Again, you may choose to forsake the relationship with the offender because he or she is a “toxic” person. That’s perfectly right! Jesus didn’t “hang out” with the Pharisees who hated Him! He didn’t cast His pearls before swine!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. terryswigart says:

    Hi Carina,

    Thank you for sharing. I agree forgiveness and reconciliation are not synonymous. I believe the purpose of forgiveness is reconciliation. Instead of demanding our pound of flesh (eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth) before we feel justice is served, we freely give what we have freely received and mercy triumphs over justice.

    In Luke 17:3,4 (Amplified) Jesus says, “…if your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him. And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent (I am sorry), you must forgive him – [that is], give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled.

    “if he repents, forgive him.” Jesus makes no mention of what to do in this passage if the brother doesn’t repent. In Matthew 18 that I referenced in my first comment, Jesus sheds more light on the subject by giving us a 3-step process to prompt repentance.

    Many years ago during an adult Sunday school class the pastor who was leading the class made a statement to the effect that there was a payday coming for Christians who didn’t tithe. It wasn’t a good payday that he was alluding to. I spoke up and said that I didn’t think the New Testament taught that tithing was a requirement for Christians. His response was that he didn’t think that was the place to discuss the issue. What? He is the one who brought it up and where better to discuss the topic? Anyway he was trying to intimidate those in the class into tithing. At that time of knew of no one who held my view on tithing. Some years later I ran across the Truth for Free website where I learned their were many that agreed with that view. It is also where I found a link to this site.I said all that to say that I appreciate the warning that God will not forgive me if I don’t forgive everyone no matter what. But God knows my heart, He knows I am seeking the truth and forgiving the best my understanding will allow.

    Some give out of fear, they have been deceived into believing they are robbing God if they don’t tithe. Some give to get, they think If they give $100 God is obligated to give them $1,000 or $10,000. Some give out of love, cheerfully. I Cor 13, says, “… if I give all I possess to the poor and have not love it profits me nothing.”

    Giving to the poor is a good thing, forgiveness is also a good thing but motive and attitude matter.

    You mentioned that forgiveness and reconciliation are not synonymous. I would have you consider bitterness and not forgiving are not the same. I would also suggest that an attitude of unforgiveness and not forgiving are not the same. In my understanding an unforgiving attitude means you are unwilling to forgive not matter what, or until the pound of flesh is delivered to your door. Not forgiving doesn’t mean the person is unwilling to forgive they are just waiting for the proper time – when the person asks for it. Why give or forgive when someone doesn’t want iwhat is offered?

    I agree some Scriptures seem to require unconditional forgiveness, but there are others that seem to indicate otherwise. I’m just hoping to sharpen my understanding of it all by commenting here and considering others comments. Thanks again.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. terryswigart says:

    I read an article by Nancy Missler, a proponent of unconditional forgiveness, titled “Unconditionally Forgiving Others”. In it she teaches that we should forgive others (because God commands it), then, after that God will give us the love we needed for them. Later on in the article she tells of a friend who spread some gossip about her. Then God revealed the reason why this incident caused so much pain. She still had unforgiveness and bitterness in her heart from many years ago when she and her husband went through bankruptcy and other Christians had maliciously gossiped and slandered them.

    I don’t know when she started believing in unconditional forgiveness. Perhaps it was after bankruptcy. In Luke 17:3,4 Jesus says forgiveness comes after repentance. It just seems as if she gets the cart before the horse. Perhaps if she would work on the heart issues first, getting love for the person back, then be willing to forgive maybe it would work better. Saying you forgive with the mind when the heart is’nt in agreement seems unprofitable. “If I give all I possess to the poor and have not love it profits me nothing”. If we forgive and have not love does it profit us? I guess if we believe God requires unconditional forgiveness for everybody before He will forgive us – we get forgiveness. In her case it seems maybe her heart and mind were not in agreement so her heart buried the unforgiveness and bitterness to be resurrected at a more suitable time.

    I’m just walking though though this trying to make some sense.

    Are there right and wrong ways to give and forgive? 2Cor. 9:7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Paul said to not give under compulsion so apparently there ways to do it (giving) wrong. I don’t know if there are wrong ways to forgive or not. Nancy Missler’s teaching to me seems to be lacking but maybe I’m missing something.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Terry and Carina,

      Thank you for your comments. I am not sure how this thread got on “forgiveness” and away from the heart of the article where I wrote about drawing close to our Father, but I can see how it fits. Jesus said,

      “You have heard that it has been said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them who love you, what reward have you? do not even the tax collectors the same?” (Matt 5:43-46, KJ2000)

      Here He seems to put forgiving our enemies, those who curse us, spitefully use us and persecute us also with loving them. THIS act of loving and forgiving them truly is a gift that God has put in our hearts. It usually starts out with us being willing to pray for them and then the love for them comes flooding in later. I have seen this happen in the lives of many Christians whom I have know over the years as well in my own life.

      Jesus said, “offenses must come.” It is a fact of living by the Spirit. This world, the prince of this world with his minions and those under them hate Christ wherever He is found. Many people do not know that they are being used by the devil. Even the ones who were crucifying Christ were clueless for He prayed for them, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

      Jesus said that when we pray for and love our enemies from our hearts we will know, “That you [we] may be the children of your Father who is in heaven.” I thank the Father for the forgiveness He has shown me and the love of His Son and the grace He gives us as we seek Him that we may walk in the Light as HE is in the Light as children of our Father IN Christ.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        Well, Michael, if I remember correctly Susanne mentioned the fact that when Jesus talks about “be perfect as the Father is perfect”, the context is forgiveness. We replied on that aspect of “perfection” and Terry found this significant, it seems. 🙂

        Terry, I am glad you are being challenged. You don’t have to agree with what we’re saying… We’re all fellow learners who are in a process. I know I don’t have all the answers, and the more I learn, the more dependent I am on God’s teaching for He keeps revealing areas of blindness in my life. Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking on Heaven’s door! The Holy Spirit is a MUCH better teacher than any of us can be!

        Anyway, you said something about forgiveness that has love as its source. That is SO important! And it’s not just any love. It’s “agape” love, 1 Corinthians 13 love. It’s not an emotional love, though God will definitely change your emotions towards your enemies during the process.

        Our focus is always God. Our focus is to get to know Jesus, receive His salvation and submit to His Lordship.

        If we want to be holy, if we want to be perfect (and we do), we look at Christ. Christ said, Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing. Consider this: whenever someone offends you, that person doesn’t know what he or she is doing. Yes, they may be doing it on purpose, yes, they may in a natural sense be aware that they are hurting you and how, but ultimately, the person is blinded. The person doesn’t discern the evil inside him or her. The person is captive to sin. Sin justifies and rationalizes its existence. They may think, “Yes, I’m saying these hurtful words, but only because I want her to open her eyes!” Sin can take a “The end justifies the means approach.” Sin is the result of self-deceit.

        Though I can see a lot of evil around me, and it hurts!, God has taught me to use what I see as prayer points for intercession, and for soul-searching. When I see someone doing something wrong to me or others, I’ve learned to ask the Holy Spirit, Am I guilty of this too? More often than not, the answer is YES!

        So I focus on Jesus, who is perfectly Righteous, and with His Holiness as my measure I judge, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the evil in me. I see so much darkness in me, that if I hadn’t experienced God’s grace and love in abundance, I would despair! But I know He’s showing me such things not to condemn me, but to heal me!

        I pray for you, dear sister, that He will daily teach you to walk closer and closer to our Heavenly Teacher. He is faithful to complete the good work He began in you!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. terryswigart says:

    Michael and Carina thank you for your input. I sense you both may be weary of this subject and ready to move on.

    Michael, you mention you don’t know how this thread got on “forgiveness”. I wasn’t the first one to bring up the subject. You and others referred to it in your posts. I feel somewhat guarded and ill-at-ease like I am going to be deemed out of line for speaking on the subject. Like the pastor I mentioned earlier who brought up a subject then quickly declared it wasn’t the time or place to discuss that subject. He wasn’t seeking discussion, he was seeking compliance to his view. May I speak freely? Or is this not the place? Must I justify talking about forgiveness or the lack thereof? I am not real familiar with internet etiquette, so please forgive me if I’m out of line. I think, Carina aptly explained how the subject fits ‘perfectly’ with the theme of your article. Thank you Carina for coming to my defense.

    Carina, I agree the Holy Spirit is a better teacher than any of us can possibly be. But the gift of the Holy Spirit isn’t the only gift God has bestowed on us. Ephesian 4:8, “This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” Just what those gifts are is described in Ephesians 4:11, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,” So Jesus in his infinite wisdom gave God’s people human teachers. What was his reason for giving us this gift of teachers, apostles, etc.? Verse 12, ” For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” What is the fruit of this work? Verse 13 “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’

    In His infinite wisdom and plan for His body, Jesus gave us human teachers for our perfection (see vs. 12). To attempt to attain perfection on our own, just me and the Holy Spirit, is an exercise in futility I believe. He made us a body, individual members but still one body. If some do happen to attain perfection apart from others perhaps (since we haven’t all reached unity in the faith), they should become teachers and help others to attain that lofty goal. But I fear those who think they have arrived may be to proud to stoop so low.

    Carina you mention that you don’t have all the answers. Well none of us do but God. But you do have some answers. Yes? In the Gospels is the story of Jesus and his disciples in a remote area and it is getting late. There is a multitude there and the disciples want Jesus to dismiss the crowd so they can go fend for themselves in finding food. But Jesus said the crowd didn’t need to go away. “You give them something to eat”, He told them. But we only have a few loaves and a couple fish (my paraphase) they respond. But God multiplied the little they had and fed thousands. I came not seeking physical food but spiritual. I think the little you have God can multiply – if you are willing.

    Some of your comments felt like preaching. I think I’ve had enough preaching for probably several lifetimes. But my comments probably seemed the same to you. I apologize. Tho, I have learned much from preaching, I learn much more from teaching. When I have the opportunity to ask questions it enriches my understanding immensely.

    Your prayer seems like a benediction. The message has been given, the service is over, I am dismissed.

    Oh, by the way, I’m a man not a woman. I don’t know why you thought I was a “sister”. You had a 50-50 chance of getting it right. Please don’t say I talk like a woman. But what other clues were there to my gender? Aarrrggg!!! (Pause) OK I’m over it.

    I was hoping there might be a teacher here. Not one who has all the answers. The denominations are full of those kind of teachers. But one who will honestly say, I don’t have all the answers, but I will walk with you and help you find what you are looking for.

    Peace

    Like

    • Carina says:

      Terry, I want to apologize to you for many reasons.
      First of all, oops, I’m really embarrassed I confused your gender. I don’t know why, but I *assumed* you were a she. This is totally “my bad”, not yours. A case in point that I don’t have perfect discernment.

      Second point, I didn’t mean to dismiss you and say, Case closed. Not at all. Sorry if my comment could be construed to feel that way. What I meant to say is, Really, the wisdom I have received on this subject only goes that far, and I cannot give you answers I don’t have yet. I was only pointing to the one who does have ALL the answers, because I could mislead you, but the Holy Spirit can’t.

      Third, I didn’t mean to sound preachy. If I somehow expressed myself in a prideful manner, I apologize. I’m still learning in the middle of a process where God has challenged me like He did with Jeremiah: “If you take out the precious from the vile, You shall be as My mouth.” I appreciate correction and stripes, because I know sometimes I deserve just that! Sorry!

      You have mentioned a verse the Lord has deeply impressed in my heart: “YOU feed them!”. That’s the number one reason I comment on blogs, keep my own blog, and reach out to people at any level. Even though I don’t have *all* the answers, after seeking God for basically half my life (it’s actually all my life but it’s been a “hide and seek” game. Half of the time seeking God, the other half hiding from Him and Him still speaking though I tried hard to drown out His voice!), I know the Lord has given me some very personal revelations, and He has been very clear that what I’ve received freely, I have to share freely! Otherwise I would be hiding my talent.

      You’ve mentioned Ephesians 4 and yes, in that passage it’s clear that God has given certain people to *help* us reach Christ-likeness. Therein lies the danger, brother. I have found a 50-50 (numbers approximate) here. About half of the teaching I’ve been led to listen has fulfilled the purpose mentioned in that passage, and the other half, sadly, has led me to be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”

      It seems to me that more false doctrine than true doctrine is being preached and taught today. That’s the main reason I pointed at the Holy Spirit as perfect teacher, and as someone who definitely can and will lead you to good human teachers. Only pray for discernment, because even the best human teachers can get it wrong sometimes.

      Since I talk too much (another reason why I may have sounded abrupt in my previous post, I’m trying to refrain from endless blabber, hard because I AM a woman).

      Just a few passages that have helped me lots:
      Jeremiah 17:5-13, Psalms 118:8-9, Proverbs 3:5-8, 1 Jn 2:20,27 and my life motto, John 8:30-36.

      I will share more if the Lord allows me to, now I need to go because I have a husband and son. Enough said! 🙂

      Like

  11. terryswigart says:

    “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

    This verse just came to mind as I contemplated walking with someone to help them find answers we may not have. Imagine that, if we gather with even one other in Jesus name there He is. Jesus the Light of the World!!! The Bread of Heaven!!! The Lamb of God!!! The Great I AM!!!! Thank you Jesus for your promises!!!!

    Like

  12. terryswigart says:

    Carina, just as you said, the Holy Spirit is a much better teacher than any of us. He told me where to to find Jesus. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

    Now to find that one other who will walk down that Emmaus road with me.

    Like

  13. terryswigart says:

    Carina, thank you again for your comments. All is forgiven, if there was anything to forgive

    Forgive me for jumping to the conclusion that you were dismissing me.

    Though I was in the IC for many years, and heard many sermons, I probably still need to be preached at at times.

    I agree with you about the many false teachers. There Is a quote, “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing”. I believe there is truth in that statement. I think unconditional forgiveness contributes to evil if sin is not confronted in ourselves and in others.

    Anyway, I appreciate you willingness to help, and your humility in admitting you don’t have all the answers.

    I will be leaving now, I have found the one other to help further explore this subject.

    Thanks Michael, for allowing God to use you and your website for His purposes.

    Perhaps I will be back in the future. I just don’t know where this road leads.

    Peace

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carina says:

      Thanks for accepting my apologies, dear brother.
      I hope the Lord will bring you back to this blog for more shared Emmaus road walk!
      We are fellow travelers, and hopefully we can help each other find more and more of Jesus.
      And thank you Michael for allowing open discussion in your blog. Sometimes we cannot quite see the same things, for we are at different points in our journey. But we look forward to the time when we will know as we are known.
      Love you brother, and I hope you had a good day yesterday. 🙂

      Like

      • Michael says:

        Carina, you are so welcome! In the Spirit who abides in us we can each bring our portion to the table and all be made richer by it. This IS the way the Body of Christ is supposed to work. No more “pastors” with a death grip on the microphone while no one else is allowed to share what the Spirit has taught them. I love small group discussions because of it opens the “floor” to all who are there. But we do have one admonition from Peter that is important, “If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man ministers [serves], let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1Pet 4:11, KJ2000). What we do should always be glorifying to the Father through the Spirit of Christ working in us. Amen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        Amen, Michael!

        I hope and pray the Lord will keep bringing us to a place of fulfilling that verse in 1 Peter. Never to “preach ourselves” again, but only Christ and Him crucified. For it is Him who deserves all the glory, not us. And when we preach and teach, my prayer is that all of our words will flow from our new heart, not the unrenewed mind that “knows” too much and actually knows nothing.

        This is the spirit in which I want to live. This is my goal:
        Philippians 2:3-4 Let NOTHING be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

        For it is more blessed to give than to receive. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s