I keep NOT blogging because as I learn or teach I have to go verse by verse and it could take me 2 hours to pound out a post on the keyboard. So, in an effort to share what I am learning I at least want to do some blurbs even if I don't have time to complete the material I'd like. Something is better than nothing as we are called to use our gifts to build up the Body of Christ, as one part can't function without the other.
"1 So get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation," 1 Peter 2:1-2
This is such a timely word to us as individuals and to our day, as some would say that Gods word isn't relevant and its just an ancient book. A mere fifteen years in with studying the word of God and not even being that bright...I would shout from the highest mountain that I would beg to differ. His Word is so alive and active to the student and Lover of Him and His word that it alters everything and it isn't just some sort of brain washing. I know my propensity toward sin, but I can say that I have been absolutely eaten up with the desire for His word and I can't even function apart from time with Him. You can't walk away from a shopping rack, a new possession, money, or any amount of earthly treasure and go wow I am full. Usually there is only a continual lust for more when you are trying to fill up places in your soul with water that won't fill. However, there have been so many times where I am spending time in the Word and the Lord is revealing truth to me and I have had to put my bible down and back away slowly because its too much. I have told Him outloud, "It's too much! I can't even take it all in Lord or I might die right here from Your Glory!" I can't say that about any earthly treasure. Well, according to the third verse (which I have not listed) the scoffer or cynic, that says His word doesn't apply, has probably never truly "experienced the Lord's kindness" or spent any amount of time in the word. Its amazing that at one point I would consider some things "boring" like lists of tribes and clans and etc or things in Leviticus yet now I see the big picture (somewhat dimly even) of every little detail pointing to Jesus in such a glorious masterpiece. I beg for a mind and heart that can receive more and not be prideful or one that isn't just about knowledge but loves the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. So, back up to the first chapter in 1 Peter while we are at it and we will see how we are purified from obeying truth, how we in Christ have been redeemed from our former empty way of life, how our minds need to be sober and ready for action, our minds (especially in suffering or hardship) are to be set on the grace that will be brought to us when Jesus Christ is revealed. Since we have come to know the truth we also are told since clearly we have our sin nature operating when we operate in the flesh and are not actively renewing our minds and if we are quenching the Spirit with disobedience, that we are to be like obedient children and not to comply with our evil urges that we used to follow in our ignorance. I look back over some things and go, "WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?" That's just it, I was carnally minded and things that are spiritually discerned weren't the governor of my life because they come from 1) salvation and 2) knowing the word. Now I can say with grief that some areas that I have returned to at times in my life were not without the knowledge of truth. I knew better and chose to disobey or be the dog returning to her vomit , which made it all the worse because I knew better...I knew better. I wonder if that is how Peter felt. He knew better. He had walked with the Lord of Glory and yet he denied Christ. How often have I done the same in my words or actions? Lord help me, help us!
We are also called to holiness in the first chapter (this was supposed to be a blurb...grrrr...and here I go trying to teach verse by verse). We are told to be holy because He is holy. We are only made holy by the Spirit within us and the washing of the word yet we are called to be set apart, consecrated to Him. I LOVE the idea in James 1 that he is a "bondslave" of Christ (remember he was the half-brother of Christ and was not a convert even living under the same roof...oh but he became a believer). The greek word for servant or bondslave that is used is "doulos". In our current era and with our language we miss the force of the word. "The word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another...the most accurate translation (of the word servant or bondservant) is bondservant, in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another." As I was reading I learned how archaic this idea is to us and especially in Western civilization we view slavery as an atrocity, seeing as how people were forced into slave labor in our earlier day. "Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord's slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and priveledge. It was used of national Israel at times..., but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses, David, or Elijah...all these men were "servants (or slaves) of the Lord." Man we know that they were sinners in their flesh but they were slaves of the Lord which meant liberty. It is so true that we will suffer hardship in this world but it does not compare with the knowing of the Lord and the blessing in our souls that obedience brings. As I get older, even though in my mind I'm still 18 no matter what my hair color beckons me to believe, I have sadly learned that when I have departed from obedience that what God meant really was for my good. When we focus on the things God gives us a clear NO to, instead of all of the things we have been blessed with, we are setting ourselves up to have our eyes opened and a good whipping awaits us since the Lord disciplines those that He loves. If you and I set our eyes on circumstances, or how unfair things are, or what we need that we feel that we lack that is carnal or maybe even a god given desire...and are not on guard to areas of personal weakness, we will indeed let bitterness spring up or harden our hearts and waffle and waver and buy satans lies that what we think we lack he can supply...and I'm telling you it reeks of havoc in the end. The Judas kiss on the cheek will always betray you. Gods ways are sure and true always. It is impossible for Him to lie. Lord help us believe You!
So back to a call to holiness and us being a "doulos" of Christ...we are so privileged to be in Christ and to be spared ultimately from the wrath of God. Think about all of the time wasted trying to follow celebrities, or to "have connections" with important people. Jesus, He is a BIG DEAL! He is EVERYTHING and holds everything together by His word. He spoke and it came to be! He is so worthy of our pursuit and affections...and to be set apart and consecrated to Him is a privilege. So, I love the idea that we are so blessed in Him and so privileged to be able to follow Him that we literally sell ourselves into slavery (which again the word carries such negative connotation in our day) to the Most High God. Bottom line is that we have some choices to make on planet earth. I can't stand the idea that we are just puppets on a string with God being the chief puppet master in some perverted play of life. You see choices, choices, choices...on the part of man from the very beginning of the bible with Adam and Eve in the garden. We know that God tempts no one to sin and they chose to sin. "Choose to sin, choose to suffer" to quote one of my favorite pastors, and we are still to this day reaping consequences from mans choice to take forbidden fruit. Yet God in His mercy forced them out of the garden with the plan of salvation and didn't cause them or us live in a perpetual state of having our eyes open to good and evil and no longer being able to walk with Him in fellowship. He sent them away and guarded off the garden...and now we taste the sting of death, which is the finally enemy to be destroyed, so that we may not live forever unredeemed. Jesus died so that we might come to Him and live as He bore mans sins past, present and future on a tree. So, if we really picked up the clue phone we would understand what an honor it is to sell ourselves to Him. To obey Him. We are not to be schooled in evil but unfortunately some of us have taken field-trips to the school of hard knocks and learned that His word was right and that the deeds of darkness only produce shame, regret, and separation. Yet still, with the Lord is full redemption and forgiveness.
So again backing up to chapter 1, we are to love one another, earnestly from a pure heart. Our position in Christ is that we have been born anew, and to paraphrase we have been redeemed but not from things that are perishable but imperishable. Everything in this world will be burned by fire and even our works that were not built on His foundation but were for vain glory, they will be tested and burned by fire. We have however been redeemed from our former way of life by the blood of Christ and we are inheriting a kingdom that can NEVER perish, spoil, or fade. My heart aches when I think of this relationship, but I had a family member that died that cared more about things than people. I loved this person...however, it is such a reminder to me that things are going to fade and I am not taking anything with me when I die, so while it's not wrong to have stuff...they should never have me. It's empty in the end.
So in light of all of this...let me get to the few verses I came to blog about! Get rid of all evil and all deceit. That's pretty plain and no need for a definition. GET RID OF how much? ALL OF IT! ALL EVIL AND ALL DECEIT!
Get rid of:
Whoa? Can any of us look at that list and say we aren't in need of some ridding?
If you are honest with yourself and not cutting the bull (as if) with God...you know what you need to rid of and if you don't ask Him for wisdom and expect Him to answer.
We are to literally, "put it away"! Like kids putting up toys...Peter is like dude, put it up! Quit getting this junk out and playing with it! Put it away from you...period. Be done with it! Forsake it! It is RUINING you!
So as a sort of play on words we are told to "get rid of" and then to "yearn" for pure spiritual milk.
Here's were I have to sit a spell. I have a huge concern over the victim mentality that is so pervasive in society as a whole. I'm not sure where I'd be if I personally took this approach. If I am going to believe God then I have to believe that He has allowed everything in my life good and bad to sift through His hand since every day was written before one came to pass. He is not caught off guard. However, I see these patterns the longer I am in the throes of knowing people and teaching, where someone has maybe spent decades trading their inheritance for a bowl of stew, by loving sin and not God. Then, maybe they want to be done with it and they come clean, or maybe they get busted. What scares me to death is to see God's word preached and it not be rightly divided and the lack of true discipleship. I can vouch for that personally. There was no Titus 2 woman in sight (or should I say within a certain mile radius...or taking me under their wing at church) when I started walking with the Lord. Praise Jesus for Beth Moore and the bible studies I have done year after year where she taught me via workbook how to love God and walk with Him. She was my Titus 2, "mother in the faith" as I like to call it. Then, I have spent years now listening to sermon after sermon from teachers affiliated with the Moody Broadcasting Network that have taught me the Word of God without apology and in it's truth...not compromising, not backing down, not skipping areas. These men and women have poured into me because they chose faith over fear and the fire in my heart has grown hotter and pushed me on in the faith. They have pointed me mainly to One chief thing: the Holiness of God. So, here's what I am trying to say...when people are coming out of long standing areas of sin and sin and not returning to that sin becomes their main focus. They are like an accident waiting to happen. It's the whole "wet paint-DO NOT TOUCH" sign and what are you going to do? TOUCH IT! Accountability is HUGE. Making a battle plan for areas of weakness, temptation or sin...HUGE and a must! Yet if you are never growing in the word, if your focus is not on Jesus, if your mind is not set on seeking Him above all...then you are such a candidate for letting what you did or your sin define you and not God. I know 100 percent that He sends forth His word and heals us. Without Him consuming our lives and taking over and us choosing Him we won't even begin to taste and see that He is good and then we are innately created to be filled so we are going to fill ourselves with something and it scares me when we miss the fact that once we have tasted...we will be miserable to stay in that sin He has delivered us from. That's why discipleship is so important. So can I say with respect...don't wait on your sunday school teacher or even a man or woman in the church or even your pastor to "disciple" you. That term is so lost on us as well at times. A disciple (a learner) was SO common in the East and Rabbi's chose select people and those people were disciples and they literally covered themselves in the dust of their teacher and learned whatever they could by going where the teacher went and staying where the teacher stayed. It was huge! They taught mainly orally. They debated, which in our day is seen as controversy, which was a powerful teacher because it challenged their thinking. It stirred them up to think past what they thought and put their theories and believes in the crucible to be tested. Where would I be without people who challenged me to think biblically and hold everything to the litmus test of scripture?!?! So, I say that to say if you aren't eaten up with the Lord, you are indeed going to look for passion (which can come in all forms of evil) elsewhere. We were created with an insatiable need for God and the whole idea that "nature abhors a vacuum" means you are either going to be filled with the Spirit or the flesh and the flesh is weak and corruptible and it will destroy you when you live for carnal desires. So, its not just that you not go to your addiction meeting...it's that if you never move your focus past what you shouldn't do to the tasting of the Lord...you probably aren't going to be free. You and I live in the information age and we need discernment desperately when it comes to who we allow to teach in our lives...but we are without excuse when it comes to going after God and being able to know Him and have resources and you and me will stand before Him and we can't use the whole, "I was waiting on so and so to come along and disciple me." That does not negate our personal responsibility to disciple others. So back to the two verses: in the getting rid of...we are going to have to yearn for something different. The play on words is that "the nourishment for our growth must be the word of God."
YALL TO BE CONTINUED!!!! I'm doing what I said I wasn't going to do in the beginning lol!