When Truth Meets Love

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“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’

And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

Rev. 3:17, NLT

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If you would come to me and speak this boldly, I’d run you off.  “You have no right speaking to me in this way!”  Our personal relationships are essentially based on “boundaries.”  My continuing friendship with you is based to a large degree on your respecting these social rules and restrictions. We look to social protocol to guide us.

God is the only one we would allow to speak to us so boldly and directly (and even then it’s still unwelcome).

Self-sufficiency has become the specific goal of the speaker, it is how he measures a respectable Christian life.  Respectability however, is a disturbing development for simple believers.  “I don’t need a thing.”  Within our hearts there is a hunger to be independent.  Self-sufficiency and pride are disturbing thought processes for simple disciples.

There is a delusion that is quite prevalent– we may feel that we have arrived.  We finally are capable of something important.  We have done all the necessary things, we have jumped through all the hoops, and have “made it.”  It somehow feels like we have accelerated the sanctification process.  Much of this comes from a feeling of being ‘spiritually exceptional.’

Jesus is confrontive.  He will not diminish the truth, to spare our feelings.  I think that that is quite remarkable.  We esteem and value honesty, but when it is focused on us it seems difficult.

“You don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17).

None of these five words would we use to describe ourselves. Let’s consider them anyway:

  1. wretched– terrible, very bad
  2. miserable– unhappy, depressed
  3. poor– lacking sufficient resources
  4. blind– sightless, without vision
  5. naked– bare, without covering

These five words that describe the “real” position of the believer in pride.  These five words dismantle us, stripping us of our lies.  We have evaluated ourselves and discovered that we must be exceptional believers. (Perhaps my innate specialness is true after all!)

Twenty years ago my wife and I took an evaluation for placement in a language school.  I assumed I was quite exceptional, but two hours later I was told that I failed the test and would be assigned to the lowest level for the rest of the semester.  I was shocked!  And my dear wife, was put into the highest. What a blow to my pride!

“We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.”

Eph. 4:15

He reaches out to us because He loves us profoundly.  It is a love that is not based on any kind moral performance.  However, it is quite necessary for us to step into the piercing light, and an intense desire to enter reality.  It is difficult for us to slough off the lies, and to understand what is true.  Trust me, Jesus speaks nothing but the truth, and He loves us while He does it.

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When I Condemn Myself, [Guilt]

Understanding how to forgive is one of the most essential truths we must learn. We learn that we must forgive others– if we want forgiveness for our own sins. But we jump right into it when we pass judgement on ourselves.  This self-condemnation is insidious and very dark.  And yet incredibly, it is also quite prevalent in the Church.

We determine that we are guilty.  It doesn’t take a lot of imagination, as the sin is everywhere, it overwhelms us.  It meshes into us, and weaves into our very being.  We soon come to the point where we can no longer tell the difference between  what is our sin, and our personality.

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 

1 John 3:20, NIV

Examining our own hearts, we start by probing the depth of our own evil.  There is now little room for any kind of self-deception– for we understand our darkness in depth.  It is at this crucial point when God steps forward and exercises His authority.  His understanding is complete.  He knows us inside and out.  He sees everything. We can do nothing cosmetically to “improve the corpse.”  He sees us without any ‘make-up’.

When we commence judging ourselves, it may seem appropriate and timely. And certainly, we must respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. But this is different!  This is unbelief of God’s Word, that rapidly becomes foul and fleshly, and opens the doors to despondency and despair.

But soon the ‘dark ones’ come, and the blackness becomes insurmountable.  We mournfully provide the chains, which they gleefully use on us.  Self-condemnation twists us and we become malformed and misshapen spiritually.

Guilt is a warning light that says something is wrong. Yet when it persists too long, it energizes Satan’s lies and strangulates spiritual growth. 

“For innumerable evils have compassed me about; my iniquities have taken such hold on me that I am not able to look up. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart has failed me and forsaken me.” 

Psalm 40:12, Amplified

When we look into the mirror, what do we see?  Are we besieged and battered by our sin?  I’m grieved for the many believers are walking as ‘zombie Christian lives’, more dead than alive, with little hope for any kind of escape. Jesus comes to bring us to life.

Brother, sister– Jesus has come to release you completely.  He completely understands your situation.  He is not surprised by your evil.  Your brazen, and dedicated love for your sin does not shock Him.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

1 John 1:9, NLT

A Thought For the Truly Desperate:

“Here’s how to beat condemnation.  Confess your sin to God.  Then believe in Him.  Exercise the gift of faith that God has given you to believe that Jesus died for the very sins you’re being condemned for.  The punishment He received was for you.  His resurrection is proof that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice.  The sins of your past and the sin you just committed were all atoned for; you need carry their weight no more.”

C.J. Mahaney

ybic, Bryan

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Pride on Rollerskates

 

  Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father.

1 John 2:16, CEV

 

You and me– We are trying very hard to escape from the evil found everywhere in this world system.  Satan’s access point is our own ‘built-in’ pride.  He can reach right into our hearts using that particular spot.  We all have this thirst for recognition and worship (of course, with a small ‘w’).  John calls this ‘foolish’.  And we are fools!  And yet it is so hard for us to be small.

‘Our selfish desires’ are very difficult to unplug.  We have a thirst for things and we will spend a great deal of time and effort to get the ‘item of the moment’.  We see something new or novel, and we must get one for ourselves.  It’s like a compulsion.  When we get our prize, it starts to collect dust in our closet.  It rarely lives up to our lofty expectations.  Funny thing, is we feel deprived if we can’t possess it.  Even though the consistent pattern is to lose interest in our ‘prize’ once we have it.

‘Our desire to have everything we see’ is John’s evaluation of people in general.  It’s been thousands of years, but John is timeless.  He ‘zaps’ us and lifts the curtain to what is really inside our hearts.  WE WANT IT ALL!  Everything that ‘tickles’ our fancy, is to become ours.  I want all of it!  If I see it, desire it, it is mine.  Step back, and think about the wickedness of this.  If we ‘x-ray’ pride, do a CAT scan on it, we will discover 1 John 2:16 opened up and wiggling right there in front of us.

We must come to the place were we want to look at who we are, deep down.  We can so easily avoid truth.  ‘Just keep moving’, and don’t think about it.  And then we run right smack dab into this solid marble pillar of 1 John 2:16.  We pick ourselves up, check for broken bones, and start to wonder about this thing that can’t be eroded away.  It stands, untouched through time.  That stands before us as eternal truth.  It causes us to come to the point of making a real decision.

Is John making sense?  Is he communicating clearly?  I believe he is.  I have no significant reason to set aside his observations.  As a matter of fact, he confirms my suspicions and gives me some intelligence and guidance on how life unfolds.  This verse, all that it is contains, is the property of the Holy Spirit.  It is a completely saturated ‘sponge’, that is overfilled with the presence of the Lord.  I must encourage you, the reader, to look again at John.  Let that book press into your very being.