Sunday, May 18, 2014

Put 'em up!

Jesus was saying, “If you’re not committing adultery because of some sort of white-knuckled ‘I know it’s not right so I shouldn’t do it,’ then you’re not free. I have come to set you free from this. I have come to transform your heart so your actions are transformed, not because of self-will but because of a new spirit.”

Chandler, Matt; Geiger, Eric; Patterson, Josh (2013-11-26). Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church (Kindle Locations 1133-1135). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Freedom from sin, and all the trappings thereof, is such a baffling thing. I
struggle with sin. It seems David struggled with sin. Even Paul appears to have struggled.

Surely David knew what he did was not right. But he didn't white-knuckle not committing adultery, he committed it. He was not free.

Jesus came to set us free, I believe that. But this struggle with sin thing, it goes on and on, it would seem. At least in some areas. Perhaps not in all. I know of folks who have been freed from some level of compulsion, whether it be alcohol, eating, or even just plain old cursing, darn it. But I know of no one who beats it all. We all need Jesus, and somehow our addiction to sin seems to bind us to our need for Him. Weird, isn't it.

Now Paul says that we can't use this as an excuse to live in sin, and again, I would have to agree. There does seem to be a transformation that takes place. But it is not 100%, and won't be this side of heaven. Its a sanctification process. One that does not come from self-will, but from God's will.


KC Bob said...

"One that does not come from self-will, but from God's will."

I wonder if God's will is not really about the negative (i.e not sinning) but about the positive (i.e. being conformed into the image of Christ)?

Seems like there is a connection between the two but I wonder if becoming like Jesus has a lot to do with not sinning?

All I got is questions. Not too many answers from me this morning.

Don G said...

But without asking questions, we would need no answers.

I agree with the thought that God's will is more about positive. Like when the light is turned on and the darkness goes away. The more we look toward Him, the less we desire to sin. And I think that is the author's point. If we just focus on the negative behavior without seeing the positive light of God (white-knuckling it on our own) then we miss the freedom Christ came to give. So our victory does not come from self-will, but from seeing God as glorious and surrendering to His will.

KC Bob said...

I turned 65 last week and I have to admit that in these matters I have fewer answers than I once did. Life is a humbling process and often a hard teacher. Sometimes we are unaware of what life is all about until so much of it has been taken away.

KC Bob said...

Just came across this on Facebook. Seems to express what I was trying to say.

In the second half of life, one has less and less need or interest in eliminating the negative or fearful, making rash judgments, holding on to old hurts, or feeling any need to punish other people. Your superiority complexes have gradually departed in all directions. You do not fight these things anymore; they have just shown themselves too many times to be useless, ego-based, counterproductive, and often entirely wrong. You learn to positively ignore and withdraw your energy from evil or stupid things rather than fight them directly.

Now, you fight things only when you are directly called and equipped to do so. You do not define yourself by opposition or eccentricity as the young often choose to do. We all become a well-disguised mirror image of anything that we fight too long or too directly. That which we oppose determines the energy and frames the questions after a while. We lose all our inner freedom.

By the second half of life, you have learned that most frontal attacks on evil just produce another kind of evil in yourself, along with a very inflated self-image. They also incite a lot of pushback from those you have attacked. Holier-than-thou people usually end up holier than nobody.

In the second half, you try to influence events, work for change, quietly persuade, change your own attitude, pray, or forgive instead of attacking things head on.

Adapted from Richard Rohr's Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, pp. 118-119

Don G said...

I thank-you for sharing that. I am not sure that everyone in the second half of life is in alignment with this. I think it is more a maturity thing that some get early, some get late, and some never get.

"Most frontal attacks on evil just produce another kind of evil in yourself" Great thought to be aware of.