Engaging The New Creation (#473)
The life of Jesus is not found in a guiding set of principles to base your life on. It is found only in a growing relationship with him where the invisible world becomes increasingly more real than the physical world we navigate every day. Wayne again dips into the mail bag, this time with those who are feeling lost or discouraged in trying to piece together a meaningful engagement with God in the difficulties of this life. As we become aware of the new creation, we can respond to become alive in it. Then through our own experience we learn how to recognize the new creation however it might appear around us, learning to live in God's giving rather than our own attempts to get what we want from him. Only then can we become fruitful and fulfilled in this life. Learning to live in the realities of a new creation comes through practice leaning into those places where God makes himself and his ways known, and leaning away from those places where the physical world draws me into my selfish ambitions.
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I hit that wall you mentioned at about spot 27:00…I was there for years and years. Then about four years ago, God allowed all that I had erroneousy believed to be my identity to become inaccessible through unplanned relocation. I had been fully estabished in the Twin Cities, Minnesota in a ministry serving abused women: speaking, singing, interpretive dancing. It was who I thought I was!
After decades of church cult membership, I was desperate.
I sensed that I was a stuck little lamb encased within a huge bramble bush, full of thorns that hurt each time I attempted to move on. I COUD NOT! My health began to deteriorate. I was scared.
I prayed based on Jeremiah 33:1-3 Tearfully and confused, “Show me what I don’t know …that I don’t know about this. I cannot get past this…I need you to LIFT me out of this pit” He did!
And now, Wayne, all of your teachings are making total sense. He is my Abba…but I still get blurry eyes. THANK YOU!
As I have listened to the last several podcasts, it keeps hitting me that the entire language set conveys the idea that God is to some degree, separate from people; that there is some kind of estrangement. I have listened to this presumption for decades of church attendance and I think it is the root source of discouragement and anxiety for most Christians. If I hear the message of Jesus correctly, I hear one thing: “You are okay”. We instantly respond with a flood of resistance to the thought, being fully aware of our pain and failings but, that seems to be entirely the wrong response. If I hold God to be anywhere other than deeply rooted and imbedded in my own body and soul, I will be endlessly seeking him, his approval, his direction and every other critical need I have in my own life. Can I push the thought this far; that God is entirely available, present in every human life, not just those who pledge allegiance to Jesus? That Jesus didn’t create a special class of people called believers or Christians but rather, in part, came to convince us that by His decree, we are so acceptable at our core, that God is entirely enraptured with our human bodies as his place of residence? Can I push the idea that we are so entirely acceptable to God, simply because Jesus said so, that God has already taken up residence in every human heart, Christian and Atheist alike? That these two classes of people doesn’t really exist in the mind and heart of our common creator? Do the words of Jesus saying “I was hungry and you fed me” come as a shock to us as well, that we have never seen him in the eyes of the lost, angry, lonely and rejected human beings inside or outside of our churches or our class distinctions of people?
To those of you who wrote in, who are struggling to find, hear or follow God, can I push this idea, that because you are every bit as much the home and residence of the creator of the universe, that your search for God anywhere else but inside your own thoughts and feelings, is to look entirely in the wrong direction? That perhaps, if you can allow, Jesus proposition to ‘believe in me’ was the confidence of the first born of a new kind of people, to believe in He in me? In virtue of God’s presence in me, can I push the thought so far as to suggest that to believe in Jesus, is to finally, with justifiable cause, to believe entirely in myself? Can I point out that this same proposition ‘believe in me and have eternal life’ written in John 3:16 is described to completion by the same author reporting the voice of the same Jesus in John 17:3 saying that ‘This is eternal life – to know God and the one whom he has sent”? Can we gather the confidence to believe that we already hear God, please God and know exactly where God is, the only and final requirement on our part is to listen to and confidently obey those private and precious thoughts we have always heard, more clearly as little children, now being covered over with adult distraction?
Has the God we seek in innumerable other places, mindsets, enlightenments, blogs, journals, books, sermons, and disciplines, been here with us the whole time? Have we sat on our couches with this loving and attentive Mate of our soul, entirely ignoring his closeness only to seek him out in books or concentric circles of thought and introspection? Has He, our Spouse, sat with us silently, because our love for Him in us, indeed our love for ourselves in Him, and the magnificent creations that we are, has grown cold by neglect or a self sustained search for Him in others? Have we simply become unfaithful to the one in us who has made us worth loving?
“….and lead us not into expectations, but deliver us from ego….”
Eugene Peterson talks about how we are tempted to think our (or others) experiences of God are not God, although they may have occurred as a result of truly encountering God in relationship. The problem arises when we seek to produce or have those experiences and as he puts it, become god (as in finding ways to control our experience of/with God.
Seeking his face, seeing him, and hearing his voice inside the relational knowing of him. Wayne, my ears perked up when I heard you reference possible “seminars” centered on exploring the knowing OF God. This is certainly not an exact science, but developing understanding inside of sharing our relational journey’s would be of tremendous value. There are likely no “surefire steps” to creating relational knowing, but interacting with others that are engaged in knowing can be used by the Holy Spirit to develop understanding of relational dynamics as relates to this knowing OF God.
Others telling us what to do, and what rules to follow, or us supposing what we would do, or how we would act, if we were God, is likely unhelpful at best.
We might be well advised to explore what seeking him with our whole heart means, for he tells us we will find him. He is not hiding, we just don’t see him.
@ “can I push this idea”
Alan this is not just an idea but the Truth, based on the finished work of Christ 2000 years ago but predestined from before the foundations of the world. In Christ, our hearts are made perfect and washed clean as snow from before the foundation of the world. This is who we are and who we have always been in the Father’s heart and being. We have always been the absolute passion and love of the Father from before time, this has never changed.
The Old Covenant Law describes our sin, which is our fallen nature which we are born with but that sin nature was dealt a death blow at the Cross of Calvary 2000 years ago but that death blow was predestined before time itself.
At the Cross we are given a new heart:
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
Yes it is true our hearts are wicked who can know it
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
but that is the Old Covenant speaking of our sin nature which is ruled by the enemy.
Our new Life in Christ is governed by the Law of Spirit of Life in Christ
Romans 8 . 2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
We can walk in the Spit of Life by eating off the Tree of Life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the tree of religion which will lead us into nothing but lies. Religion is doing things like Martha, (Luke 10:38-42) rattling her pots and pans in the kitchen while Jesus said that Mary, sitting at his feet, was doing the right thing. Living in the Spirit of Life is BEING someone like Mary, not DOING things like Martha.
The present religious system is pure unadulterated religion. It has developed over the centuries to rob us from the Spirit of Life.
Alan you speak the very Truth at the heart of the Gospel of Christ, its not just an idea to be pushed in an apologetic kind of way but The Truth to be confidently shouted from the roof tops.
The true nature of God is so fogged over. I put away all my old bibles with all the copious notes I had and bought a brand new bible (with no notes). I am reading slowly through it again for myself. I do realize the Bible is a version of versions but with the confidence I have that God is very interested in us knowing him, it has been amazing. We love him because he first loved us. How can we know his love if we don’t know him and allow other people to define him. The whole purpose of holy spirit is to help. We have to get over the fear that somehow we got left behind because we were really screwed up or so very insignificant and allow the gift God has made available to work in us. It is not a feeling, it does not control us, it is very simple. Living in the new creation is the way God wants us to live.
Very Provoking thought Alan! I like to say there is no better place to Find God than in your own back yard. Looking back over my childhood I can see He was always there speaking to me in my heart and thoughts But most of the the time I dismissed it as My own thoughts of how I wished He was and how I wished I was Loved! Because I did not see myself as lovable I could not accept These thoughts of love towards me. Also I dismissed It because I did not believe God could exist in a heart and mind of a problem child! I know now He Not only exists in those most broken in this world and it seems my place alongside these people in my life is simply to echo What He is already speaking in them until This harmony becomes their reality! This is The most fulfilling thing father and I get to do together!!!! Love it!
Harvey, thank you …this is inspiring. I still struggle with what I “hear”, after decades of old covenant law and sin consciousness. Bleh!
Yes, the compassion within us from God’s Presence has to first be believed, received, and released…by faith in taking His yoke and His gift of rest and righteousness. It truly is not anything about sef-improvement. That old self is dead…and is ony a zombie when it raises its ugly head. Praise to the Only One deserving of worship!
About two years ago I was muddled about my “self” over some sort of weakness. He literally spoke to me, saying, “Lindy, you are visiting your grave!” I responded with, “Oh!! I am! Thank you, Jesus!” That just joted me with a launch back into His Presence with bursting joy! SO SIMPLE!
Thanks for the encouraging thoughts Dave.
I’m right with ya Harvey. Your recollections of your childhood ring so true, and your final thought is so nice. I’m just beginning to discover your idea of echoing what our common Spirit says in others – God to the Theist, the Universe to the Atheist. I’m never sure about theology and have grown distrustful of any Theo – Logic but, after 45 years in the churches, I now look into the eyes of the much maligned and distrusted “Atheist” and hear the silent words spoken ” I AM right here, looking right back at you Alan”. Most of those who have called themselves, and called me, Christian, are no longer in my life, but it’s like discovering the library for the first time now. No one is scary anymore. There are no longer just a few hundred souls looking to be connected with and loved, there are billions! And to think that the connection already exists feels so good.
Good thoughts, Alan.
“The Gospel is not the news that we can receive Jesus into our life. The Gospel is the news that Jesus has come and that the Father, the Spirit and the Son have received us into their life.”
My heart just broke as the” lost” emails were being read. I encounter this so much here in Oklahoma and everywhere and it still breaks my heart when I hear the sadness. When I hit the proverbial wall these days, I pull back and pray that stupid prayer. Remember that prayer Wayne? Somewhere in the annals of Lifestream is the “stupid prayer”. ” God, there is something about your Love I do not understand but I want to understand and so whatever it takes to know you better is what I want.”
Just be very for warned God Journey folks, this is not a prayer for the faint of heart. Over years of praying that prayer what I have noticed is the primary block is never what I think. It almost always goes back to first Love and consequently back to being able to see where and what is being given away already. Away from focusing on getting and back on receiving. For a whole host of reasons, unique to each one of God’s kids, the Love receivers are struggling to receive. These moments, the failures, unanswered prayers and praying that huge prayer, ultimately have been my best teachers. Still painful, still frustrating, still lonely and full of waiting. And then what pops out always takes my breath away. Most of this happens when I am washing dishes.
Gee, Joni, I would hate to call that the “stupid prayer.” I think you have two things mixed into one. The “stupid prayer” we joked about years ago was “Whatever it takes Father, I want to know as you really are.” And by stupid, we did mean dangerous of course. Can you imagine the joy of the Father at getting such a blank check from one of his kids. Sometimes what it takes is drawing us to the end of all the ways we think we can save ourselves. The other prayer, I’d never call stupid even jokingly. “What is it about your love I don’t know that would set me at ease in this situation. Would you show that to me.” That prayer, too, takes a long time to answer. That’s not a verbal response that works, but drawing us into more generous space where God is known, where my heart is set at rest in his affection for me, even in the midst of a difficult and broken world…
Enjoyed the broadcast. Is the wall we hit a lack of contentment with what we have or where were we are in him? Or is this alone feeling caused by a lack of awareness of where we are and what we have in Him, right now? Maybe, because I am still trying to plug holes with things, well, that simply were never meant to plug holes? Read this today (below). I share it not in a church bashing intent. But it made me think that on my sad days i’m still reverting to the old ways and not Him. Instead, looking and expecting too much from things, and other people, when only God’s love can dispel that sense of emptyness. Once Gods love for us is realized, how epically empty these other pursuits are, is fully exposed.
“Once” we find the reality in him, “ounce” over that wall where we finally realize we are loved, and that he is enough and that I am ok in him (from comments you have made, for some it is two weeks, others, three months, seven, even twenty years of struggle.) Is it really a one time light bulb event? Using the word “ounce” implies a one time event; could it be more of a process? The light comes on for the first time, but it is a candle understanding (Oh, it seems so bright at the time.) Then, later, we hit the wall again, once over, now we discover Him as a flashlight. Still further on we hit the wall again, and discover him as a light bulb, then headlight, search light, then as the all encompasing Sun. He was seen as so bright each time, but as we look back each time, we see how immature our “realization” of the “reality ” was. I think that I wrestle in degrees, over time, but continiously. Does this make sense? I know he loves me and that he is good, but I slowly see it and slowly trust him more and more. Or is this an indication I have not gotten it yet? I’ve not had a lighbulb experience..ever…. . this from a minister, north african church planting missionary, and now humanitarian worker in a isolated tough islamic place. I constantly hit walls of inadequacy. Can’t help it in the face of the human tragey I see many days. How do you keep that from spilling into our God Relationship? Because in my job, what I offer each day is never enough to stem most of the human tragedy around me. There is a real human inadequacy in these things, not a mere percieved limitation – a real and concrete one. and that real human inadequacy clangs up against God’s voice on the matter. I dont think I am trying to earn his love, but I don’t always undestand it, or at times sense it, though I lean into it. Is it really I got it, once, for life.. for most people? Not me.
For me it is I come back, and back, and back to it again, and again, and Gods reality about mysel, and what I see around me slowly gets brighter and comprehensible. ?Thoughts?
“Ibelieve that when a person truly experience the conscious, manifest presence of God, he will lose interest in everything else in this world. No longer will the cheap choruses satisfy. The flood of entertainment that has swamped the Church will leave him with a desperately empty feeling inside. And the cult of personality, which has gripped the Church these days, will no longer draw his admiration. All those things he once reveled in no longer interest him. He has discovered something far greater in God’s presence.
— A.W. Tozer “Experiencing the Presence of God”plug holes?
Wow, thanks for talking again about the new creation and meaningful engagement with God. There has not been enough discussion about these ideas in my life. My personality has taken on a few new creation attributes over the years. I can see where God has changed my values, my commitments, such as they are. That is a real tribute to the persistent work of God! Because most of that time I’ve pushed him into the background. I was too busy with Christian activities and trying to make myself happy on the side. Now I want to get focused instead of distracted. Having others talk about how they connect with God is so exciting! Do people who know take for granted that others know how to do this? An how many are like me, clueless and wanting to ask for specifics and details, but afraid to let people know by asking that they don’t have a clue? I wish the Bible writers had been more detailed. This podcast got me excited about “living to my full potential”! Jokingly and seriously.
Amen. Thank you for this discussion. It completely paralleled my journey at times. I spent years learning that Papas plans for me are better than any plans that I could write. IT TAKES TIME. But after 45 years total and the last 18 years of bumping my head into walls; Living free and loving it.