We Make Spiritual Life Too Hard – part 2

There is no deed we can do that will make us spiritual. A spiritual life, in the Christian sense, is only gained when we connect with God through Christ and honor His word to the best of our ability.

As long as we do that, we needn’t have a continual dark cloud of worry over whether or not we will be the target of God’s wrath. God created you. He knows your limits and He accepts your best efforts.

The greatest condemnation you will ever experience is that which you lay upon yourself. However, if God loves and accepts you, shouldn’t you do that same? If you do that, and you walk in God’s ways, you can look forward to standing in front of the judgment seat of Christ, because all that is waiting for you is His welcome to your eternal rewards. Jesus exemplified this in the parable of the talents:

‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you a ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Mt. 25:21 NKJV

The ‘good servant’ was faithful over a few things (his best efforts), not over all things.

You are not charged by God to change anything about yourself; He is already at work in you, to bring your original perfection back to realization. (2 Cor. 3:17, 18.) In other words, you are already who God wanted you to be. He’s only removing the damage that the world has inflicted upon you.

What you are charged with, is testifying to His salvation. Period. And of course, if you are a living testimony, you are engaged in walking your best Christ-like walk. So, you can just relax and let God have the helm.

Martin Luther said, “The message of Christ was ‘Repent’ not ‘Be better!’ “

Luther also said this: “Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, just as I am your sin. You have taken upon Yourself what is mine and given me what is Yours. You have taken upon Yourself what you were not, and have given me what I was not.”

Doesn’t that make you grateful? It ought to lighten up your spiritual walk as well.

Our only major concern in this walk is to stick to the truth of God and deny that which opposes it (i.e. the lies of the enemy, who has already been defeated by the resurrection of Christ). In addition, we want to remain humble and teachable, so that we may receive God’s grace.

Satan lies in order to mold us into someone other than ourselves – to try to be something that we are not. When we attempt (and that in and of itself is always a struggle) to live out a false life with a false self, we are denying love for our true self. And that is the beginning of sin.

When we accept Christ, we die to that false self:

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Eph. 4:7 NKJV

…you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Eph. 4:17, 18. ESV

…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph. 4:22 – 24. ESV

When we die to our false image (simply by rejecting the lies of our adversary), we, by embracing our true self and our birthright, become open to receive everything that God has to offer. And when we receive the love God has for us and put in us and we reciprocate by loving God and ourselves, our spirituality will flow out of us in service to our Creator – to enlarge His kingdom and make the world a better place.

Guess what? That’s the source of limitless joy – letting Christ live His life through you.

To have that joy and peace, we must continually remind ourselves of Jesus’ work on the cross. Thus, we need to drop any self-condemnation over past sins. Christ has cleaned that up through His blood, manifested when we open the door of our repentance; and He continues to do so whenever we need to rinse and repeat.

Drop the fear, because we cannot make ourselves righteous; only the mercy of our gracious God can do that.

Thomas Merton said, “The deepest communication is not communication; it is communion. We are already one, but we imagine that we are not. What we have to be is what we already are.”

Amen. In doing so, we renounce the ways of the world – letting loose of our obsession with its busyness and with its illusion of importance.

The spiritual life is God’s gift to you. He removes all the barriers that stand in the way of your receiving it. He did not set before you an arduous, exhausting and seemingly impossible task. God only asks you to live in His love and go forth and teach others how to do likewise…

Goodnight and God bless.

We Make Spiritual Life Too Hard

Taking into account the total global population, few people practice living a spiritual life:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Mt. 7:13, 14. ESV

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Mt. 11:28 – 30. AMP

Jesus spoke both of these. They almost seem contradictory, but they are decidedly not. The ‘narrow gate’ is the only path to living a spiritual life and gaining salvation. It’s not hard to find. It’s been broadcast for over 2000 years. The gate is Christ. The way is ‘hard’ because so many people do not want to give up the ways of the world and / or are unwilling to get over themselves.

As we see, Jesus says that the exchange is easy, that the weight on our souls will be lightened immeasurably when we dump the consequences of our old ways at His feet. The spiritual life is easy, requiring only a slight burden (your compliance) be placed  upon you:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. 1 Jn. 5:3, 4. NKJV

We can do this! We do it by doing our best to walk in God’s word and staying in faith that our salvation has come now. The only obstacles in our way are those of our own making. For example, take our concerns over our ‘level’ of spirituality at any given time. We may not feel we are making progress; but if we are staying committed to making our best efforts to be obedient, our Father shows His faithfulness. His Spirit stays with us, working to keep His promises:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation, from bondage, true freedom]. And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:17, 18. AMP

So, the ‘somewhere’ you think you should be spiritually, is where you already are. It’s a matter of faith, not sight. Don’t sweat it. Just stay in contact and be dependent upon your Maker.

Most of the time you have problems on your spiritual path is when you give into the subconscious patterns of your old self. You know this is happening when you see your old injurious fruits begin to manifest again. That’s just your loving God trying to wake you up so that you can remember your gift(s):

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? …just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life…present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Rm. 6:3, 4 & 13. NJKV

Perhaps you think that you don’t know enough of God’s word as you think you should, or as much as some other brother or sister in Christ. You’re a work in progress!! As soon as you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you were united with His Spirit; and that’s the tightest connection we can have.

The only thing you need concern yourself with, is to always be in a questioning mode about your motives, i.e. ‘Is this my will, or is it Jesus’?’ Just stick to walking in the gospel and don’t give heed to anything that man has added to it.

Yield your present self to Christ and His mercy and keep your ears open.

The Godhead is beyond our complete understanding, but we can take everything it reveals to us to the bank; and that includes what it shows us about ourselves. God is not parading any of your old shortcomings in front of you to degrade you. What He’s doing is showing you how far He’s brought you.

Enjoy the ride…

Goodnight and God bless.