Monthly Archives: June 2014

Living with a transcendent purpose

6/28/2014

Learning to live with uncertainty and ambiguity about our “tomorrows” is essential to our commitment to God’s calling. If we must know what tomorrow will bring then we will live a worried self-centered existence bringing very little glory to God.

Tomorrow belongs to God just as today and yesterday did. We can trust Him with this because He is everywhere that we are not. He is the God “who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8)

I’d say He’s got it covered.

Advertisements

Loving with disciplined sympathy

6/23/2014

Sometimes, withholding active pity and compassion for the persistent sinner can increase their opportunities for spiritual and emotional maturity. Saving them from themselves sometimes means that we must stop trying to save them ourselves.

Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

A spiritual perspective regarding mental health

According to his nature, God is perfectly holy. Because he is perfectly holy, he has perfect mental health. If holiness is the standard for perfect mental health; isn’t every sin that a person commits essentially an expression of mental “illness?”

A woman in her 60’s came to me for the first time and expressed how she had suffered the stigma of “mental illness” placed upon her since she was a child. As a young child she had been placed in several institutions where she had undergone multiple shock treatment therapies. This was how she now thought of herself every minute of every day; mentally ill. Most of the time, she felt isolated, lonely, different from everyone else. Not worthy to be loved; a burden to her husband.

I communicated to her that she was not really so different from everyone else. Since God who created us all in His image is perfectly holy, then every sin that people commit is actually a sign of mental illness. In fact, we were all born into a type of mental illness because of the sin nature. She laughed and clapped her hands and said, “Well, isn’t THAT the truth! Ha!”

A couple of months later she indicated that since that first day that we had met she no longer felt isolated and “different” and celebrated every day that Jesus had saved, forgiven, and was in the process of transforming her (and every other believer) from the mental illness of sin!

1 Peter 1:15-16 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

The Victim Mentality

If we are continually examining how we are the victim of other people’s sins we will eventually come to believe that we are not really responsible for our own sins.  Instead of welcoming self-conviction we will bask in self-pity, blaming others for our behavior and minimizing the magnitude of our own shortcomings.  Inevitably, we will create new victims who will spend much of their time examining how they are the victims of our sins.

A faith-filled life requires a willing heart

6/14/2014

We cannot see what we are not willing to look at. We will not hear what we are not willing to listen to. And faith cannot guide us to where we will not go.

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (Hebrews 11:6)

Separation of church and state?

6/10/2014

Separation of church and state was never God’s approach in the Bible. Leaders of Israel were expected to worship and serve God.  Whenever the biblical nation of Judah or Israel tried to separate spirituality from government there was national disaster.

Has this nation’s spirituality so eroded from the norm set by God through the early church as to make continued national existence impossible?

Luke 4:5-8 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

How and why does God love us if it is not based on our good or bad behavior?

6/7/2014

First of all, we base too much of our sense of positive or negative personal identity in our performance and other people’s opinions of us. And where we believe we have not or are not living up to their expectations, we judge ourselves critically. But this is not how God thinks or feels.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The point is this: If Christ dying for us while we were yet sinners is God’s example of demonstrating His love for us, then God is loving us unconditionally. His love is not based on our performance, even though it is bad enough to warrant eternity in hell! So then we must ask, “How and why does God love us if it is not based on our good or bad behavior??”

God loves us not on the basis of performance but on the basis of the fact that we are created in His image. We are lovable to God even though we have tarnished the image of Him in us through sin. The image is tarnished but not completely destroyed. Therefore, though it may be vain for a human being to love the image of himself, God loves the image of Himself in us. In other words, we are inherently lovable. It’s not about what we do or don’t do, it is about what God has already done – created us from His perfection – in His image.

To be inherently lovable is vastly different than our common concept of love-worthiness. Our human conception of love-worthiness is based on things like how attractive someone looks, or how they treat us or how they are attracted to us, or how nice they are to us, etc. etc. None of this is unconditional love based on inherent value. The way people usually interpret love is almost always based on some sort of performance. God’s love for us has nothing at all to do with performance.

His holiness on the other hand, has much to do with our performance.  The fact is, we could never perform well enough to be found acceptable to God in regard to His holiness. He is perfectly holy, while we are perfect at nothing. So, in His perfect love He has made a way for us to bridge the gap between His perfect holiness and His perfect love – that way is Jesus.

Many of our issues with self-condemnation are centered upon an interpretation of our value based on our performance and other people’s opinions of us (which we naturally equate with love-worthiness). Those mistaken interpretations of our personal lovability initiate false judgments that often usher in self-condemnation, depression and feelings of hopelessness.