The Christian Divide

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  I see a division that develops between people who were ‘raised in the church’ and people who found their Savior through a life of sinfulness. I’ve seen both sides view the other with a little longing for the other’s kind of testimony. The converted wish they could have avoided the mistakes they made in the absence of God and the ‘Christian raised’ people wish they could find the passion for Jesus they see in the other group.

                People who were raised in church know all about God. They were raised with stories of His abilities and what He is. They learned to identify with God the way their parents or church elders did. They see God as a set of stories and rules that should be followed because that’s what God said. They see God as a legalistic God with requirements for the proper Christian life. The problem surfaces where the child either follows all of the rules then grows up to become even more legalistic (un-relatable to the fallen) or fails in following all of the rules and has no idea how to walk in redemption (loved by God regardless). Neither is spiritually healthy. This lawful view of God pushes those who came to the Lord broken away from church communities.

                The people who find their Savior in their depravity have to deal with an initial onslaught of shame. From that shame, and proper knowledge of who God is, they find relationship with The Father. They can identify with His love and how a broken rule only magnifies His grace. They wish there wasn’t a resume of sin in their past because they fail to see what God was doing in their life. He has made them relatable and accepting of the lost and broken. The passion found in true relationship scares those who live on bible stories and rule following.

                We see this exact premise play out in the Bible as well. The Jews were called by God to live in the law as they awaited the Messiah to come and rule over the earth. They became too focused on the law and missed the relationship with God and the love that was continually poured out for them. When Jesus came to reconcile the people and was rejected by the ‘law focused Jews’, Jesus came to Saul (Paul) and sent him to preach the Gospel to the gentiles. The gentiles then found God in there depravity and saw their need for a Savior in Jesus. They became the church that focused on the need for Jesus and the love of God over laws.

                Next time you pick up the word of God and see the disciples of Jesus trying to speak into the Jews and trying to explain what the plan of God looks like in Jesus, realize this divide still exists today in the church. Although it isn’t a battle, it does cause division. But it doesn’t have to! We should see this as the opportunity for the ‘church raised’ to accept all who come into the community of Jesus, and for the passion found in relationship to spur their growth based on their repeated stories. The people in relationship should have patience as habitual views of a ruler God are replaced with an awareness of His steadfast acceptance and love.  It should also serve as a lesson to parents to teach their children to have a real relationship with their Heavenly Father and to be an example to them of what that kind of relationship looks like in the flesh. Our Heavenly Father did the same for us, God’s earthly example was Jesus Christ.

 

Secret Wisdom

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                In reading today I had a thought. What if God’s timing is based on defeating the deceiver as he tries to destroy God’s creation? 1 Corinthians talks about the secret wisdom of God that moves for His purpose without giving full knowledge of His way. (1 Corinthians 2:6-8) Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. If God made all things known, the sinfulness of His people would allow the deceiver to have a foothold in breaking His plan. I love that God could easily squash the deceiver but instead chooses to show is power in repeated defeats on the deceiver’s feeble attempts to compete in a game that he lost at the cross. If the deceiver would have known that Jesus was the sacrificial lamb, the methods would have focused on making God look fallible. Instead God let the deceiver use Judas to betray Jesus to Pharisee who were caught up with the religious concerns created by man, which are not of God.

                Jesus says that He came to fulfill the law and to give us truth, which is grace and love. God foretold of the coming Messiah through the prophets, but the hearts that didn’t belong to God could not understand His plan. Peter tells the people that their ignorance was expected and thus forgiven. (Acts 3:17)  “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.

                Being in relationship with God allows you to receive the Spirit of God and the wisdom He bestows upon His people. You may not always understand what God puts on your heart which is why we are called to be faithful and obedient. We are to walk a path designed by God and to be led by His light on our journey. Have ears to hear the calling of God, and let your steps lead to a depth where your dependence is solely with God and not on your own power. It is then that you will see the Lord moving in you, in your life, and in this world. Ask and receive His secret wisdom. He is willing to give it, but only if you are willing to be led by Him. The word of God will not return to Him empty or without fulfilling its purpose. (Isaiah 55:11) so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.