April 10, 2013

Observations of A Nobody

Usually I try to just educate people in biblical principles and let the word percolate and settle into people so that they come to their own informed conclusions. Like dew settles on a piece of cloth, over time mist totally saturates things. So too does sound biblical teaching. 

Then again, sometimes I grow impatient and grow aggravated and wish to cut to the chase. Now is one of those times. Forgive me my curtness and bluntness in this post. Jesus became exasperated with the “religious” people of His time also.

There are subtleties within the Christian body that are encouraging, helpful and manifest Christ’s presence. Unfortunately, there are many that are not. What is worse is there appears to be an unspoken rule among the Faith that we are not to bring attention to it. These things should be covered up or let go to deal with themselves (or so it seems).

When problems arise within the church that are caused by biblical vs. non-biblical behavior, these issues clearly need to be addressed as most would agree. There are obvious problems that give disrepute to the entire congregation and need to be fixed as quickly and completely as possible. False teachers must be confronted and people disrupting the congregation need to be dealt with in short order. These are not the issues I am talking about.

I am talking about the pretense that comes with people that have been negligently indoctrinated with the: “I am saved in Christ, I am chosen, I am royalty, I am privileged and I deserve things.” These facts might be true but the problem with them is that they are all prefaced with an “I am” mentality. In our saved state by the Great I AM, can we be the kind of people that project the image of our God by doing and saying things prefaced by “I am” or we can do it with the idea that “you are” or "you can." My observations of this are that a majority of the time it is “I am”. The Church misses the boat on this one a lot. The “me-first” mentality is denounced and denied by many but the actions scream “self” from some of these same people.

I suggest these people do not understand their Bible very well and totally missed the humbleness or meekness so to be exalted by God part in places like the Sermon on the Mount.  At times I desperately try to teach these aspects and elements of the faith to others including elders and presbyters and I am often ignored or told I am legalistic or divisive. Sadly, these principles are not even easily taught as they require a deeper understanding of the text that a superficial gleaning of the words will not expose. They are only pulled from the text after sustained duration in God's word and in God's will. There is depth to some of these passages, there are paradoxes and paradigm shifts that evade many because of only a superficial understanding of the words, principles or patterns inherent in the text or its biblical and Godly philosophies. Sometimes there are principles in the Scripture that can only be understood by reading between the lines in the white spaces.

Matthew 5:3 ~ “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:5 ~ “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

The Sermon on the Mount is not a how-to guide for the faithful. It does not assure treasure to those that obey the statements. It is a checklist of what one should already be if they are Christian. The Beatitudes presupposes you are already a Christian, not giving a list of what makes one a Christian. For one to truly comprehend what Jesus is saying in it, it needs to be preceded by a proclamation of the Gospel or the story of Jesus having humbled Himself in accordance to Scripture and the will of the Father. So humbled was He that He allowed Himself to be crucified by His very creations. It is a sermon of paradox given to those that have already sought forgiveness. Through their faith in Jesus Christ they have become new creations. They are not necessarily superior ones, only righteous ones by the righteousness imputed to them by Christ’s righteousness. In other words…we got no right to brag (or boast) and if we do…we completely miss the point of being Christian. We have no Christian morality of our own as we are not capable of having it under our own volition. We have a “lived faith” because it is clear that it is a gift of God, a faith from God that must precede his demands of righteousness because we are incapable of meeting the measure or demands of righteousness.

In other words, some folks within the Church need to get off their “high horse.” Some feel (and act) as if, when they get to Heaven, their crown given them from God is going to be so big they will need a cart to wheel it around on in the streets of gold or it will be too big to cast at His feet. I suggest it will be just the opposite. The ones that expect nothing will receive those crowns. The greatest dignity will be for those that collect scraps from the table of the affluent. Do I think those that have high expectations and appear spoiled are still Christian? Of course I do, I just believe they have a poor grasp of the Bible and their theology and their perception of truth suffers because of it. Poor educated Christians receive the righteousness of Christ just as much as those educated.

What has Scripture said?

The last will be first and the first last. But because of this last statement, those with high expectations will be sadly disillusioned about “expected results”. I believe the truest nature of a Christian is one that has no expectations or pretense and does things out of the kindness that is of their very nature, not those that expect something in return. If you think you’re better, it is a good sign you clearly are not. If you think you are a better leader, it is a clear sign you clearly are not. If you think you are smarter when it comes to the things of God, it is clear you probably are not. Until one admits they have nothing to bring and know this to be true, there will be a disparity. Until one admits that there is a need to serve to become a leader, there will always be disparity and disunity. Those that think they can make the kingdom a better place usually make it worse.

When our psyche tells us that “I am somebody” or a benefit to the Kingdom for the Great I AM and we think we are the gift rather than accepting the gift given we get it totally backwards. We end up embarrassing ourselves and become an embarrassment to others that better represent and embody Scriptural principles. When we act as nothing more than a thorn in His crown and continue to suffer the Kingdom, we draw blood all over again by defaming the brethren and Christ’s body. It said the poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, not the arrogant, privileged and haughty. It said the meek would inherit the earth, not the immodest, pretentious and conceited.

This saddens me as it is pervasive in the Faith. The world’s entitlement mentality has taken up residence in our churches and refuses to leave. The Americanized, “I have rights!” mindset has contaminated the church. We need to get over ourselves. Although we are privileged royalty in the family of the King when we come to Christ… we are called to be servants and paupers if necessary to serve the Kingdom needs just as Jesus did. Until we think this and then do this…we are at odds with what is in the Bible.

Get over yourself. I had to. In the grand scheme of things, you and I are part of the plan but Christ is the importance of it. Your existence may bring glory to God but it is His glory and frankly, it is nothing that you did or could do.

He did it.

In reality, we are nobody and nothing. Jesus is the Somebody and Something. Until we realize He is Somebody and Something and we are nobody and nothing without Him, we remain nobody and nothing. Until we do this we forever remain nobody/nothing. We need to divest ourselves of ourselves as we only get in our own way. Those that have expectations of being Christian are missing the point. John Calvin once said...

"He only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit" ~ John Calvin

It is only to such that the Kingdom of God is given. The Kingdom will only be given to those with dependent humility in Christ. The humility of a child. Those that would say that, "I am rich, I have prospered, I have arrived, I need nothing" without realizing even now that they are still wretched and blind presents a serious problem and dichotomy. If this is the visible church that we observe with all its professing Christians and claims of being Christian...it is possible these people are not even truly Christians. The key to inheriting God's Kingdom is to acknowledge and understand our utter moral and spiritual poverty.

Matthew 18:3-4 ~ " And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

In Him we go from worthless to priceless, without Him we are useless. Nothing we do adds value. When we get in His way with our expectations we lower our value to the Kingdom. As for me, I'm a nobody and I know it. If I do not have an identity in Christ, then I have no identity at all. I don't suppose it is surprising or ironic that when we die and go to be with Christ that we sort of lose our individual identities to the living also. Why would it be any different when we die to self to be in Christ in this life when we become Christians? I expect nothing but persecution as it is what Jesus told me to expect as He is the Master. I only write these things not because I expect more people to treat me better but because I see so many missing the intent of Scripture, even within our own ranks...and it saddens me. 

Am I wrong and divisive? Go read your Bible and you tell me.

The meek shall inherit the earth. The way I understand it, in that day, the nobodies become somebody, not necessarily now though.

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