Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chapter 10.5 The Careless Jesus

This new chapter is written by one of my great friends Tom Broyles. He is a great man of God who has a heart to share Jesus with all. Thank you Tom for being a part of this!

I was so honored when Pastor Eddie asked me to write a chapter in his blog. I have known Eddie for several years. He was a faithful mentor and friend through many challenging seasons of my high school career. Anyone who knows the guy knows he is a genuine lover- of God and people. So I first just want to say, thank you, Pastor Eddie, for allowing God to use you as a tool to shape my walk with Him. I have a deep respect for you.

I have heard it stated by various ministers, church leaders, and brothers and sisters in Christ, “There is a call to holiness upon this generation.” And I could not agree more with this statement. We live in an evil world plagued with distractions, temptations, and sin, and our world is waiting for a model of what heaven looks like. However, this is NOT a new problem facing this specific generation. So I believe a more accurate statement would be, “There is a call to holiness upon EVERY generation.” God does not show favoritism, and His invitation for us to be like Him or “To be holy as He is holy” (Leviticus 19:2 and 1 Peter 1:16) is for everyone in the body of Christ. Father wants us to experience the joy and fullness of His holiness- His character and nature- and NO ONE is excluded from that invite! In this chapter we will be talking about the “Careless Jesus” or the Jesus who just doesn't really care how we live.. err..um.. is that right?

Over the past year of my life, but especially the last few months, I have had some of the most humbling encounters with the Lord. The more I encounter the Lord’s holiness- His character and nature- the more I find myself longing to experience more of Him. I am well aware of the fact that I have just scratched the surface of Father’s goodness, and I can’t seem to shake that desire inside for more! God says about Himself in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” I believe if there is anything we can underestimate or fail to understand as followers of Jesus, it is His goodness, His kindness, and His gentleness- all of which make up His holiness. His attributes are what separate Him from us. We aren't good like He is good. We aren't kind like He is kind. We aren't gentle like He is gentle. However, these attributes are the very thing which He has called and invited His body to live in and become.

The Lord deeply cares about how you live your life. If He didn't then He would not have called you to partake in His holiness. I enjoy reading in the New Testament how Jesus speaks to the disciples versus how He speaks to the Pharisees. I think Jesus would put anyone to shame when it comes to name-calling, and He definitely let the Pharisees have it on more than one occasion. But honestly, one of the biggest differences between the disciples and the Pharisees were that the disciples’ hearts were positioned to receive from Jesus, and the Pharisees’ hearts were not. If we are not living holy as he is holy, it is because we are not receiving from Him. And if we are not receiving from Him it is for one of two reasons- lack of seeking, or unbelief. God calls unto us, but we as His children must believe and respond to Him!

Don’t be fooled! The enemy loves to blow us around by waves of doctrine and teaching. It’s one of his favorite tactics. A common one I have seen that comes up around the topic of God’s grace and holiness is this idea- “God loves you and has abounding grace over you, but expects you to turn by your own strength from your evil behavior.” This type of teaching puts the focus back on self and back on works. It’s the mentality that as a believer, God expects me to do more. He expects me to be more. And He expects me to live up to a standard that I’m never sure I will attain. This is NOT the Gospel. The good news of Jesus is that He changes us so that we can have new life through Him!- “If the spirit who raised Christ from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His spirit living in you.” (Romans 8:11)He isn't searching for you to do more- because “apart from Him we can do nothing.” (John 15:5) He is not looking for your good works- “It’s by grace you have been saved through faith.” (Ephesians 2:8) He doesn't really care about a bowed head and closed eyes. He cares about a bowed heart- “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 55:10). If we say that our faith is in His abounding grace, yet we try to become like Him by our own will, then how is that a testimony to the grace of God? And if He has given us his spirit to put to death our flesh (Romans 8:13), then how could we possibly, once called into His fullness, perfect ourselves by our own will- our flesh? It is impossible. Jesus came so that we might have life right now, and living in the fullness of that life doesn't mean we are perfect, it means we are satisfied in His perfection because our hearts are yielded to His character and nature.

You were designed to commune with Father. In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve had communion with God ‘s presence and were given a promise of eternal life. They were innocent like new born babies in the sense that they did not know right from wrong, all they knew was the presence of Father and His promise of life to them. It says in Genesis 3:8 that God walked beside them in the cool of the day. However, their promise of eternal life was based upon their obedience to God’s command, “You shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17) And this truth of receiving eternal life through our obedience still stands today. However, our obedience is not to the first Adam who willfully disobeyed in the the Garden of Eden, but to the second who yielded His will in the Garden of Gethsemane. Likewise, the first Adam disobeyed God’s command by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the face of much temptation, but the second obeyed God’s command by dying on a tree and yielding his will to Father in the face of much persecution. Therefore, if the children of Israel who were born under the law, “Thou shalt not..” as the first Adam was and had a communion with Father that was so intense that it split the Red Sea in Half, caused Moses’ face to shine with glory, and anyone who opposed them to fall to their knees in submission (the list could go on), how much more and greater is our communion with Father being born under the law of grace through the second Adam, Jesus Christ!

Jesus came because He cares about the way you live your life. As humans we naturally live our lives contrary to the way God intended us to live. However, through personal, intimate communion with Father we can become holy as He is holy and live a life that is pleasing to Him. All of heaven bows before His throne and shouts, “Holy!” If we obey the work he has for us we can come in and find out what they mean. He has already paid the way. Do you want to go?

“And this is the work God has for you: believe in the one he has sent.”

-Jesus in John 6:29

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