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When we were all children we were completely dependent on our parents to do everything for us: provide for us, feed us, dress us, teach us, etc. Through this process we had to come to listen, to learn and then obey. Obviously, listening and obeying depended on many factors: our parents or parent, boundaries they sat or did not set for us, our dispositions and temperaments, our environments and social elements. Through these and the process of growing up, they have all contributed to the making of us, as men and women. We were expected to grow and wean ourselves off of dependency and independently go out into the wide open world and get a life on our own. This is the most natural process of mankind and how we come into our thinking, acting and into our very beings. We choose our environments, our vocations, our spouses, etc. This is how life is lived out in it’s very essence in today’s culture. We love our independence.
Then comes in Jesus Christ and when He saves a person, He literally turns us upside down. Everything we have gained as virtues as well as sinful behavior, is turned into a great upheaval when Jesus gets His hold on a person. It’s as if He says to us “everything you were taught, learned, obeyed and did, now all must go right out of yourself because I have come to reconstruct and make you over,” i.e., becoming born-again. Jesus said He brings a “sword, rather than peace,” (Matthew 10:34). Most of us think He meant the outward parts of our lives which in part He did, but more so, He brings a sword into us, our inner selves. This is the thing that hurts the most. We think of Jesus as our Savior and Lord who paid the penalty for our sins, but I am afraid many of us did not expect that He would literally come to reside in us with such power and fire (Matthew 3:11.) That is why, when after we have had a personal encounter with the living Son of God, we can never be the same again. We did not realize that God took all our oaths, promises and requests that we made to Him when we gave Him our life, so seriously. But we have to understand that we were not speaking to a mere mortal man, but rather to the living God who was waiting for us to make all these oaths, promises and requests.
Once we have put our faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, it’s as if we have to go back to square one, from birth. We must be born-again. But only in this new life, instead of being sheltered, loved, taught and then weaned away, we are instead to be deliberately and consistently woven more and more into God. Don’t get me wrong, there is a weaning off of sorts, but it is a weaning off from ourselves completely (that is our self-rule, independence from God, etc.), along with our little worlds without God that we had before, and slowly we are to become engulfed and immersed into God. You become and are, what you immerse yourself in. Instead of becoming more of an individual, we are to become less.
I do not mean that we lose our free-will, our choices, or that we become Jesus Christ Himself, but now we are born from a different heredity and Parent. We are now born of God. Thus if we are willing, and God forbid if we are not, we are to be raised up by God Himself as Adam was originally designed to be. We are meant to be God’s “offspring” (Acts 17:28-29). Before salvation, we simply could not live out this life God has for us because we had to be infused by God’s Spirit, thus the redemption of Jesus Christ. Now all the things that made up Jesus as the Son of Man while He walked the earth, make us up also. Now we have the incredible gift of growing up all over again, but with the very Spirit of God to teach and empower us to do so. We are loosened into God and all of who He is, and then we are free to choose which way we shall go, God’s way or our own way. This is why when we are born-again and then backslide, we are the most pitiful people on the face of the earth.
So now, we are to “be, be, be,” instead of “do, do, do,” and our only bases of existing is “to be” in God, and He will thus do “the doing” through us. It is written “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, NKJ). True enough, we are to work out of our lives what God works into our minds and hearts, but it’s crucial to understand that it’s done by our faith in God and carried out by His power. If only we will align our will to do God’s will (and His will is all right there in the Bible), our lives in Christ will become delightful (even though painfully delightful at times), and we will live out the Good News He came to bring us instead of the tired old drudgery we are so used to. Genesis Chapters 1-3 was written as much for us as it was for anyone else.
To prove out the points in the above paragraph, how else did Abraham sacrifice his one and only son Isaac to God? By faith and grace, or by works? How did David slay Goliath, by faith in God’s strength and power, or by his own strength and power? How was the Apostle Paul to be so joyful in all of his afflictions, being victorious over fear and trepidation, by faith and grace, or was he just looking within himself? For current day examples, you might want to take a look at the Fox’s Book of Martyrs. How is it that those who are martyrs for God are able to endure some of the most humiliating and excruciating deaths for their God and yet never deny Him? By their faith and God drenching that saint in His power and that’s the only way. So we are to walk as they walked before us. Simply just put yourself under God and all that He is by faith, and to your amazement, you will “do” the works of God. This is most certainly, part of God’s Good news and “glad tidings“.
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