My aim in this blog is to attempt to finish this series on “ to this end…”, I have attempted to outline some fundamental learning curves and have been experienced over the last 30+ years, it’s frightening to think it’s 40 years since I 1st began my journey into Christ. I’ve had the privilege of serving the Father I hope in seeking 1st the kingdom of God while learning to trust him fully in all matters, living by the gospel for the last 28 years time just flies.
My prayer is that these few meanderings may have helped others on their journey to consider their own lives and perhaps moved towards God a little further.
Rather than making any introduction I will just dive into the last 4 Views I present
Failure to exercise judgment
Now before I commence I know for some to use the word judgment is a challenge as we are in a season of enjoying the grace of God yet we will need still to understand in our journey towards the Father.
What we know now & teach regarding judgment was unheard of, the theology of Grace was preached but I must admit we very really saw it exercised. When I first came before God I was presented by those around me at 16 a gospel of give up. Now please hear me these where good people, loving people it was just the scene we had all been brought up in, the perceptions developed, they where people who put so much into me that was good as well. I found quickly what I should, could not and must not do, what the gain, what was added to us was left to the imagination and I discovered it as i grasped the grace of God more fully. I simply adopted the attitudes, opinions & prejudices of those I admired, believing they must be right. My only form of judgment was to condemn those who didn’t agree or conform to my newly adopted prejudices.
It was not until I was baptised with the Spirit that I learnt to judge or ‘prove all things’ & thereafter recognize that I should learn from people’s strengths and avoid their weaknesses.
- To be free of something we must pass & carry out sentence on it within ourselves, bring the grace of God alive in our lives.
- Judgment not only delivers it protects our freedom – Grace and Mercy along with judgment are part of God we still have to face this.
Poor testimony in my family
Looking back I believe the reason much didn’t ‘go well’ for me in the early years of my Christian experience was because of my violation of the Word of God in not ‘honouring my parents’ adequately. I future learned that it was not only my natural mum and dad but also those who are mothers and fathers spiritually to us all. In a growing appreciation of a ‘culture of honour’ it is still necessary to learn the honour of all form weakest to strongest not just celebrity ministry. Its is also necessary for honour of spiritual parents more and more that all will go well and our days be long.
I was thrilled with the fellowship I was getting outside but at home I became a restless & moody young man. At times when conscience would speak strongly to me about my relationship with the family, I would squash it’s views by my wrong understanding and interpretation of the scripture, “unless you hate your father and mother for my sake…”
After I was baptized with the Spirit, I realised the full extent of my loss in these respects, & sought as much as possible to in my relationship and fellowship with the family, which I am still learning.
- Honouring parents is the first command with a promise. The law of first mention means that association of ideas is highly significant, e.g. worship & Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac.
The wrong concept of God
From childhood the religious idea of God that I gained from parents, people and church, was warped. He was depicted as severe, easily offended and quick to punish. That before he would extend forgiveness he needed to have his wrath totally placated by punishing me.
This distorted mental image of God hindered my ability to fellowship with Him as Father. It continually undercut my ability to believe His promises since I was constantly disqualifying myself as unworthy. One day, reading the word I was struck by the response of Jesus to Philip – “If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father”. I realised then that the only image of God I should hold is the revelation seen in the person of Christ. This changed my whole approach to fellowship with God.
- A right knowledge of God’s nature is foundational to making a right response to His presence and power.
- Your View of God determines how you live – free, joy, life all find their root here
- The right image of God is received by a revelation of Christ in the Word.
- The Word freed me from the God created in my imagination
Rationalisation of the Word of God
The most casual reading of scripture convinced me that the bible portrays a God of miracles and power.
It is this element of the supernatural that was a stumbling block in the teaching of the churches I first found myself in. They gave spiritual significance to everything associated with the supernatural and made it merely symbolic of things to do with one’s character or behaviour.
e.g. Leprosy became symbolic of sin, therefore the healing of the lepers was indicating God’s desire to completely cleanse you from sin.
Opening the eyes of blind Bartimaeus represented God’s desire for us to have spiritual sight.
Consequently I slipped into the pitfall of believing my interpretations of the Word instead of the Word itself. Looking back I see my interpretations were undercutting my faith for like miracles. Obviously the more rational the interpretation the more acceptable to the mind. Nevertheless, not one of the interpretations I put on things ever fully satisfied me emotionally or spiritually, and it is very doubtful whether they truly settled in my mind.
- I have come to see the Word is always true; my interpretation of it may or may not be.
- I am not called to believe my interpretation but I am called to believe His Word.
- The mind and soul must always submit to the word, not the word submit to the mind.
I want to emphasize that all these issues took place before I was baptized with the Spirit. Indeed, they resulted in such unhappiness and dryness that they were the reason why I began searching for more – even though I had no idea of what.