If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

the Path - Pot Holes

Well, I need to fix some pot holes in "the Path".  I put them there, so I need to fill them, or hopefully remove them.  If you drive the streets of Jackson for very long, you will find that pot holes make for a bumpy ride. They also knock your vehicle out of alignment. Some streets are so bad that you will avoid driving them altogether if you can.  So it is with pot holes on our spiritual path.  None of us want to see our progress disappear down a hole in the road!  It is God's path, and He doesn't install potholes along the way.

In my blog, "the Path - Mile Markers", I talked about God's spiritual assignments for us, things to do, and how those are the steps that make up God's path for us. Even as I was writing that, I didn't feel just right about how some of what I said was worded.

"God is now guiding us from within to Himself and all that He has for us and for us to do," I said.  BUT, God is not so much concerned with what we do as He is who we are.  Because if we are, then we're gonna do. In other words, God doesn't want us to do, He wants us to be.

If all of our doing springs from a desire to be, we have missed the mark.  That's the difference Jesus makes in our lives. I spent so many years doing in order that I might be. I saw other people who had close relationships with Jesus - real relationships.  And I knew that I didn't have that relationship.  So, I began to emulate what I saw as their behavior, their doing, in hopes that I, too, could build that kind of relationship with Him.  It didn't work, and it never works.  Works undertaken to achieve an end never work.  Works don't work!  (OK, have we got that? Or do I need to think of yet another way to put it?)  

What I saw in those others was not their doing, it was being, and that not their own!  And there is a big difference in being and doing.

Galatians 2:19-20 (NIV)  “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

If we are doing the doing then we are doing.  If we are fully surrendered to Jesus then Jesus is doing the doing and we are being.  (If you could see my hand gestures this might be a lot clearer.)

Isaiah 64:5-6 (NLT)  You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. but you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly.  We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved?  We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.

So, from the moment we decide that we are going to go out and perform some kind of righteous work on our own, we are in trouble.  Our own so-called righteousness has no value before God. In fact, it is sinful.  We are not and cannot not be righteous in and of ourselves.

If you are a Christian you have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  

Only when our doing springs from who we are, our being in Christ, will those acts be counted as truly righteous.  If we are trying to do these things under our own power then our doing is not of God.  If the doing is appointed, directed and powered by God, then it is a righteous act before Him. It is Jesus living in us and through us.

Those things that I talked about doing in my previous blog, those assignments God gives us?  He doesn't want you to "just do" those things.  He wants you to be those things. Instead of give, help, encourage, love . . . be giving, be helpful, be encouraging, be loving.  You see, our way, it is all a decision we make to do or not to do and to what extent. Jesus' way, you simply are, and it gets done to the fullest extent because that is who you are, no decision involved.  And who you really are is the person God has made you to be.  When we fall short of being who we are,  we know it and we know it very well.  It cannot be explained away or justified as can a decision to do or not to do.

"But aren't we told in the Word, to be doers of the word and not hearers only?" Yes, and we are also told that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh. As Christians, the Word, Jesus, dwells within us in the person of the Holy Spirit.  If we truly take up our cross (die to ourselves) and follow Jesus, move out of the way, and allow Jesus, the Word, to live in and through us, then we are being, not doing.  To be a doer of the Word is to live (be) the Word.  Not that we are Jesus, but that Jesus is at the center of our being.

This may be a shallow creek for some of you , but it is a deep river for me and I am struggling to put this into words. ("Can you tell?" I say dripping with sarcasm.)  I'm kind of hoping my next blog won't be titled "Uh-Oh . . . Fell In The Well"!

What it comes down to is this:  We cannot work/earn our way into Heaven.  That comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. So, our lives are not about the things we do.  When Jesus comes into our lives He changes us. He makes us a new person. Our lives are about being that new person.  Again, " . . . it is not I who live, but Christ who lives within me."

When asked His name, God said, "I Am That I Am".  God simply is. God is love, so He loves.  He doesn't "do" loving things. God doing loving things might indicate that there are times when God does not love, but God loves all the time!  So it is with us, as much as it can be. Trying to do godly things does not make us godly.  If we are godly people, we will do godly things.

Getting back to "the Path", God leads us down a path of being, not doing. All along the way He is teaching us how to be.

OK. I'm done re-repeating myself over again now. (You should see what all I deleted.)

"To be, or not to be."  That truly is the question.

"Be!" That is the answer.

How else are we going to sign His name at the end of each day?

Here's your video.