February 27, 2007

Within God's Will

I am being led to write this now. I do not really know where it is going to go, or how long it will be. The more I think on it the more important it becomes. This is stemming from the fact that my father and brother-in-law are pastors, and have different trains of thought on how to live for God than I do. Both of them are always talking about staying in God's laws and sinning. I on the other hand pretty much pay no attention to the laws, and focus on listening to the Holy Spirit and how he is guiding me at this moment, everyday, all the time. Each of the pastors has what they believe to be the answers on the actions one should take to be in God's will, and what is outside of his will. Most of these based in scriptures that they subscribe to. Believing if it is not in the scriptures, then it is not of God.

When looking at the Old Testament prophets, before there was a bible, how was it that they followed God? How were they to know what to do? How could they be in God's will if the be all and end all bible were not there? The answer is simple. They listened to the Holy Spirit. For in the bible, many times, it says that God told so and so to go here and there, and they went. Who was speaking to them actually? Very few times did God send an angel to show themselves to even the prophets. God did not actually show up, because as the bible says, no one on this earth can look on God and survive. The bible does not say that a being physically took form next to them and spoke words to them, it just says God spoke to them. Before the day of Pentecost, God gave the Holy Spirit to some, and at a measured amount. They were the chosen of God, and he used the HS to communicate to them. Sometimes audibly, and sometimes in compulsions, but he did communicate with them.

If God is unchanging as the bible says, then would he stop communicating to the people that he has given the HS to? No he would not. So when I say that I try to listen to the HS in all things all of the time, would I then be outside of God's will by listening to the HS even though what I am asked to do is not in the bible? NO, I would not. Law based faith was replaced by Grace based faith. Grace based faith is basically listening to the HS and obeying God in all that he asks us to do. Will God then ask us to do something outside of his law? NO. So by obeying the HS and God in all things, I then keep all of God's laws, and do his bidding at the same time, no matter what it is. Amazing. The best part about it is, I do not have to learn one law, do not have to worry if I am doing it right, and the freedom felt from that is AMAZING. It is truly just something else. That is the only way to describe the feeling. The great liberty that is in that feeling is terrific.

As Paul admonished, do not allow your liberty to cause others to fall. Just because God will forgive when you go outside of his will and his laws, does not mean you use your liberty to feel comfortable to do so. This is why the law based faith is no longer there. Men would just do what they pleased, then once a year, do what was necessary to earn forgiveness. But with no real repentance in their heart. That is why Jesus will judge the intent of the actions. If the intent was to follow God, then the action was within his will. If the intent was anything else, you are outside of his will, and will be judged accordingly. Intent of the heart, is what God replaced the law with. Because it is the only true measure of which to judge the character of the action. Again, even though the people would do the action to gain forgiveness, they were not doing it in humble repentance, but in resentment. They resented having to do these actions to get their reward later. But since they wanted the reward, they did the action. That is clearly outside of the will of God.

So, following God through the Holy Spirit, because it is what you want to do with all of your heart will keep you in his will, and within his laws. When I stand before Jesus, I do to want to say, "Lord, I knew where the Holy Spirit was leading, but what would my pastor think if I did such a thing." I want to say, "Lord, I followed you the best I knew how, and you blessed me more than I deserved. Thank You." And Jesus will say, "Yes, I know you have. Welcome into the Kingdom of Heaven. For here you will serve me still, until the end of time."


jON said...

wow. you know i came in here just to drop a little something, and in looking for the verses i wanted, it has lead to something a little bigger, so bear with me.

i hear you whole heartedly. and i am with you. although, in truth, and in my readings of scripture, there are actually two rules by which we are still bound. which are actually a very light yoke.

“ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

so as we see here, the WHOLE of the law is summed up in these two statements. nothing else to memorize or chastize ourselves trying to live by. not a long list of do's and don'ts. just love god and love people.

paul said, "Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law."

but then back up, what is the law? (to us in this day and age of grace?)
"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

and interestingly enough, right after jesus says this, is when he says, "Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’" and i had always been taught that this is in reference to people who do not adhere to the moral code. and then they call the moral code 'the law.' but if we look closer, 'lawlessness' isn't breaking the moral code. 'lawlessness' is not treating people the same way you want to be treated!

which, if you've ever been to any sort of anti-abortion rally...or heard the words of admonition given to a homosexual...or the threats levied to musicians...

do you see the pattern i'm getting at?

thanks for fleshing this out, nate. i know you were just being obedient, but thanks for being obedient. it is an important point to understand that the righteous walk by faith.

damn. i could go on and on and on and nuance this till the sun comes up. but i think this is enough for now. thanks for listening.


Nate said...

Maybe I did not make myself clear, or maybe you can not get away from laws Jon. But if you follow the HS in all things, the HS is not going to ask you to do anything against God's laws is he/she/it? So the laws become irrelevant if you follow the HS in all things.

jON said...

"...or maybe you can not get away from laws Jon."

not quite sure what you mean by that or how you got that out of what i said. granted, it is scattered and i chopped about half of it off in various places to make it more palatable, so it could be confusing...

i was trying to communicate that we (as a species) are no longer bound up by rules, or "law." the way i see it, we are simply to walk as we think life should be walked according to the spirit within us. and that if this becomes our reality, then we are truly flowing in THE spirit at all times and all places. and the incidentals don't matter on a grand scale because they've been dealt with.

and i see the 'universals' (love god, love people) not as being a 'law' by means of strict clonelike repeated observance. but as tremendous guides for shaping the choices that we make to experience success in growth in our experience and awareness of this grand spirit that is now free. filling this whole realm just waiting to be tapped into by anyone who would. no matter what it looks like. its not the action, but what's behind the action that is important.

what did you think i was saying?

Valorosa said...

'lawlessness' is not treating people the same way you want to be treated!

yes this is true ..

lawlessness is breaking the Golden Rule ... lawlessness is not loving the Lord with everything you've got and not loving your neighbour as yourself ...

There is no one who has not been guilty of this ...

His light exposes us all ...
We have all been unfaithful ... but the cool thing is this ... it is possible to be faithful to our Father in heaven... it really is and yes, you are right Nate ... listening is the key ...

what do we call it ...pray without ceasing ...and I have come to see prayer in a different light than I used to ... it is not work or putting time aside for God...it is a way of life, the spirit of the living God dwells within us ...

This world and all it offers to us fades away ...none of it is important anymore ... no more struggling with anyone or anything just the freedom to love without judgment and bring peace to the hearts of those around us.

jON said...

"This world and all it offers to us fades away ...none of it is important anymore ... no more struggling with anyone or anything just the freedom to love without judgment and bring peace to the hearts of those around us."

who says the holy spirit doesn't inspire people today?

"listening is the key ..."

jON said...

what if the judaizers have won?

a question that comes in and out of my transem from time to time. the ones who were persuaded to believe from the jews, but who also felt that a strict adherance to the law was also required in order to receive the gift of grace and entrance to the kingdom. paul spent a whole letter addressing this issue (galatians), which we as a group also studied last year.

but, given this resurgence of conversation contrasting spirit vs. law, i have to wonder again, "did the judaizers win?" because it almost seems as if we have not moved on. rather than moving from an age of law into an age of grace, it seems to me, in popular religious christian doctrinal cirlces and institutions, that in order to receive the grace that is offered to us and to keep it, one must adhere to the law.

hmmm... more to say about this but my breakfast is ready. be back after a while.

but before i go farther, am i way off base here?

Nate said...

Yes and no. When the church first started, it was mainly underground. Why, because NO ONE outside of the little group started by the disciples and apostles were worshipping this way, and heresy carried a penalty of death by stoning. NO religious freedom here. But the seeds were sown. Then in about 350 AD, a roman Caesar was converted to the christian faith. From there it took a very strange twist. Since it was a religion borne of the roman state, it was greatly influenced by the government. Also, in that time, the roman god's were worshiped. They had very rigid ways of worshipping these gods, and what needed to be done. When the two were married, you got a message of grace, and very strict ways to follow to reach that grace. The worst part is, that almost ALL denominations found their origins in roman catholicism. Looking back at their histories, most can site when they left the catholic church, and began their own band of believers. Or they left the group that left the catholic church. Anyway, the message of grace again became stronger and stronger, and the rituals and laws less and less. Even though the laws became less, and felt like alot of freedom, they still had alot of laws.

Human nature also has a lot to do with it. We are constantly asking all kinds of people, "what should I do?" If I say nothing but believe, and you are saved without taking one physical action, most people will not believe that they are, because they feel that it can't be that simple. They must now live in a specific manner, or do special things. And oh how we all love to tell everyone else how they are supposed to live. It is humans bread and butter.

So I do not believe they won, but the law was reinstituted into the grace based faith. I also believe that God and the devil also pushed this. The devil because it diluted the true message. God, because of the breadth that the godpel gained in having it preached in the entirety of the roman empire, and to spread to the neighboring countries that then sent missionaries all over the world.

jON said...

but should there be a point at which the law is removed from the message? both in verbage and praxis? not necessarily as an all encompassing war fought over words and expressions between two sides of the same coin, but rather a movement of people who say "no" and don't accept it into their lives and don't communicate it into the lives of others? i have to admit, it is very difficult for me to not allow this type of thinking to rule my life. it is all i have ever known. and to be outside of it, as was communicated, is to be condemned. so it is hard to override your "core values" as you called them, implanted in me from the time i was very small. i must admit i had found a place where it had become easy and had become my all, but i am really struggling ever since being cast out of 'church'. when the institution that has 'god's blessing and authority' told so many (including my wife and myself) that i am an evil man not to be trusted or listened to or even fellowshipped or eaten with, it is hard to not believe it. it is hard to not have confidence in their words and wonder, "maybe i am way wrong about this and am not only leading myself but many others into hell." of course, i don't see it in scripture any more, but the fear is there from having been put out.

please pray for me that the fearlessness and joy come back in and i can get back to building this thing that was started last year. had a couple of people over again to share games and joy for the first time in a long time and it helped to bring joy and love back in to cast out the fear.

pray that it will conitinue unabated and unhindered. thanks for letting me blather on. it helps.

as a side note, i saw a special on a guy last night that you may find interesting. check it out.

Nate said...

The thing that I don't understand is the elder that "flipped" on you. Until that time, he was obviously a good friend and supporter. The thing that hurts worst of all is betryal. Nothing else is worse, and that is what you got. Because of the respect that you gave, and the love you received in return. For me, being out of the church for a while has been great. I no longer care what they think. The other huge challenge us Peres boys have to deal with, is our pride. We know were right, and believe that we can change things. When we can't, it is devastating.

The sting will pass in time. When you have learned enough, you will know that you no longer need to worry about what they thought about you, because, only God's opinion of you matters at all.

Also, the only segway that I can think of for those of you that get together to make it more churchish, is to start a bible study. See what the interest is. If it is not there, maybe God has a different path. If it is, then you have the first footsteps of the journey. Just don't try to make it conform to the:
Special Music
Alter Call

type of meeting, and let it flow. Keep it fun, because fellowship is really lost in today's church. It is "Get in my minimum weekly requirement to God, and let's go." It should be full of people that like each other, and enjoy each other's company. That is how you build community. If you would like any other of my thoughts, I would be more than happy to talk to you about it.

Wendy ftfs said...

Watched the video ...

Wow just what Matthew 24 predicted ... many will come in my name and say I am the Christ and will deceive many. Jesus was quite clear ... watch out that no one deceives you.

He's not the first and he won't be the last ...

Grace ... For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

All over the world Christ calls his bride to him ... ""watch for me and wait ... keep the oil in your lamps topped up ... I am on my way."" Out of every tongue and nation she waits ... some know Him by a different name because they are in a different culture or a bibleless zone but His spirit has called and they have answered in their hearts ... the betrothed.

Why do we struggle ... don't you know that the Lord will do His work of calling his bride on his own if need be ... the rocks will praise Him if we don't ... all this striving ... no need ... rest ... listen and obey ... ""take my yoke upon you and learn of me for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.""


jON said...

i guess i am struggling with two things right now.
1. does these gatherings need to be more 'church-ish'? because, thoughts of this nature do not seem to come from the spirit but rather a fear of others and what they would say/think.

2. overcoming the thoughts that have been planted. that who i am and what i have inside of me is evil and should not be spread. in fact, this thought holds me back more than anything.

but as you said, nate, time makes it fade. and the confidence is indeed coming back once again. i simply hope it will continue.

Wendy ftfs said...

Why do you think there is something evil inside of you, Jon?

Why is the Lord's opinion of you taking a back seat to what mere men are saying to you.

More importantly .. what IS the Lord's opinion of you Jon.

Have you listened to really hear that ... grab on to the sweet Holy Spirit and trust in the bottomless love He has for you. This trust pleases Him more than you know... it brings joy to His heart when you believe in His love.

jON said...

because what if i'm wrong?

jON said...

ben told me about the promotion. congratulations!!!!!

Nate said...

Haven't you learned yet, when following God with the right heart, there is no wrong. Just make what feels right, and let God do the rest. Don't try to make anything happen, don't do anything that you feel uncomfortable with, that is how you know you are following God.

Tessa said...

Basing right and wrong with what feels comfortable can get a little hairy... God has asked me to do some pretty uncomfortable things.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links to these articles, Nate.
I SO get where you are coming from!
Sounds like where I'm going.
I don't have the time, energy, or inclination to devote my life to rules and regulations anymore.
I want to love God and love people. And I can only do that with His help.

I came to this after my life exploded several times over...and my marriage was gone.
I was told that I was the problem...not accountability for my abusing and unfaithful husband...
When I got handed the 'maybe you should have been more submissive' speech..I lost it.
That's when I realized that all the formulas I had been taught in church...didn't work.
So maybe there was a different way to live life.
God got through...everytime I try to take on a rule or a behaviour..trying to please Him...He stops me, and tells me He loves me, adores me, even likes me.
So...He keeps standing in the way of religious thought and deed. How can I do anything but listen to the One who loves me so much, He lets me be me?
Oh, and for Jon...I know that feeling of wondering if you are wrong, and leading someone down the wrong path...let it go.
God cares so much for you, and all those around you...let Him guard and protect and counsel and lead. He's really good at it...it just doesn't look like what we've been show leadership looks like...He's far more subtle...and kind.
It's about trust. Trust Him.
He's worth it.