Archives for posts with tag: aligning with reality

outoforderYou see this sign and what do you immediately know: something isn’t working correctly or is broken and needs to be repaired.

I was reading an article by Mike Adams on Townhall.com when I began to think of other ways we are hurt by getting things out of order. You’ve heard the old expression, ‘getting the cart before the horse’, but putting things in that order really is a funky way of moving a cart around, especially if it’s loaded.

Putting feelings before our will/our faith.  Feelings or emotions are the last things that should guide any decisions we make or conclusions we draw.  When we forsake our will and its adherence to the Truth of God’s Word to how we feel about people and things, we will always fall short of the truth. How? By focusing our aim on something that falls short to begin with. Not one of us is perfect or completely right so why would I allow my will to settle for falling short because I might feel better about it.  In the end, feelings don’t account for much. If I feel great about myself but I don’t trust Jesus, I’m still lost even though I feel good about where I am. If I feel terrible about myself but I don’t trust Jesus, I’m still lost even though I’ll be depressed when I die. Have faith in God and let your feelings follow.

Putting the praise of people ahead of the praise of God. This is a close cousin of  putting feelings ahead of our faith. Who is going to validate your life? Who tells you you’re good? If it’s people, know that you will be aiming at a moving target for what is an approved response.  If it’s God, know that the standard you seek to attain will be the same: yesterday, today, and forever, though not popular at given times, seasons, or places.

Putting convenience before our commitments. How many good things could we have accomplished if we didn’t give in to procrastination or momentary laziness?  How many times have we excused ourselves from following commitments by saying we will catch up to them later?

Making decisions and commenting on subjects before seeking the Lord in prayer.  How many complaints and conflicts can be diffused before they begin by simply asking the complainer or the conspirator, “How have you been praying about this?”  “What part of the Scripture led you to this conclusion or course of action?”

If you would like to add to this list, please do. How do things get out of order in your life or in the lives of ones you love?  Help me know where the turn-around battle needs to be fought.

Remember, being out of order is meant to be a temporary situation. There is nothing, by grace through faith, that can’t be restored or turned around.

graceFirst and foremost, the purpose of grace is to gift you with repentance. Without repentance, we have no seed or source for our faith. As one who is aligned with God in repentance, the Apostle Peter said, “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5: 29 – 32)

Without repentance we will obey man rather than God. The word ‘obey’ is built on a compound word in the Greek language which means to have trust in the rule of someone. In this case, Peter and the other apostles replied they had trust or confidence in the rule of God rather than ruling themselves or being ruled by the meant-to-be persuasive and strict orders they had received from the Sanhedrin. Without the gift of repentance, that obedience would have been manipulated and directed by the superior threats and consequences of the council. Just as today, without repentance, we will do almost anything or keep ourselves completely quiet so we can stay in the good ‘graces’ of our culture.

What is forgiveness without repentance? It is an admission of guilt where no guilt exists. What is our witness without repentance? Is it a charade? Is it being asked to suffer for what we do not believe?

Repentance aligns us with reality. In this case, repentance aligns Peter and the other apostles to the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

What is the reality with which you are aligned? Is it a reality that causes you to trust yourself or does it cause you to trust God? Is it a reality where what you think is what’s most important or have you exchanged your will for the truth that is in Christ Jesus? Is it a reality where you blame others for what is wrong in your world or have you and the Holy Spirit taken responsibility for everything?  Is it a reality where you do what you have to do or a reality where you are led by the Spirit? Is your reality marked by the need that something’s gotta give or is it marked by the fact, God already gave?

Is your life marked by the purpose of Grace?

P.S.

As you read Acts 6 today, notice the “double silence” that was at work in Stephen’s life. He wasn’t full of himself, he was “known to be full of the Spirit” (Acts 6: 3) and when opposition arose against him, “they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.” (Acts 6: 10)

Acts 6: 8 describes this quality of the “double silence” when it says that Stephen was “a man full of God’s grace and power”. Today, may we be so marked by the purpose of grace that we are described as Stephen is.