Thursday, February 25, 2010

Being v. Behaving

Most people generally live by some kind of moral code regardless of its believed origin. Most of the time Christians are also striving to do what we believe to be good and to not do that which we believe to be bad. The only difference between most Christians in this respect and non-Christians is that we claim to know Jesus and have His help in managing our behavior.

On the face of it, we are still striving to do the right thing even if we are truly striving to do it with the help of God. In addition, Christians often live in the place of having an increased list of what is right and of what is forbidden and sinful. Just the same, the evidence will usually show that the Christian is not achieving the doing of good things in any different strength than anyone else.

As long as Christians try to do what is right we are trying in the same way anyone else is trying. God then becomes more of a motivational reason to do right rather than being one who has made a difference in our ability to do what is right.

However, what is happening is the person who knows Jesus is still living in the same construct they were living in before they knew Jesus. This is the construct of laws. We say we are no longer under the law, but we live as if it really is all about behaving rightly by following laws. Some of those laws are truly good things like loving your neighbor as yourself. Laws, though, are not for those born of God, but are a temporary aide to point to the need for a new nature in God.

At the moment one’s life is given to Jesus, he or she is reborn as a son or daughter of God. Our nature is no longer the nature that did not know God and needed to strive to follow rules for our good. Our nature now bears a new identity as having His nature birthed on the inside. The only “work” of a Christian is to rest in that new identity. It is about being who we are in Christ. It’s about realignment with His nature on the outside that has already occurred on the inside.

“Good works” are produced because there is a good being, and not because one strives to live according to a good versus bad dichotomy. A good tree bears good fruit. If we have the nature of God on the inside we will exemplify that reality on the outside naturally with ease. This is why Scriptures says that people will know those who are in Christ by their love. If Christ love is inside it will overflow and be seen on the outside in such measure that it is obvious God is in that person’s life.

Yet we Christians live like we still have to try by our own efforts to behave in a pleasing way to God. In reality we please God when we wake up in the morning before we have done anything at all because we are His beloved children already.

I remember when my sister gave birth to her son and she said she was so proud of him. While he is a new born baby, never having done anything at all he pleased his mother and father. He only needed to be their son to do that. He never at any point had to try to be their son. He was born thus.

The Christian life is inherently supernatural. If we are not supernaturally reborn as a son or daughter of God we cannot do anything more than strive to be good by following rules no matter how noble we think those rules and traditions to be.

I think anyone who has asked Jesus to live in them, has truly received the life of Christ and the ability to live in such a manner. But just like a natural baby needs to learn how to live the human life, so does a supernatural baby need to learn to live the supernatural life. However, the learning process is in discovering who He is so that we discover who we are thereby being the fullness of who we are.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Eyes of the Heart

There is a popular worship chorus widely sung in the church for years. It goes “open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart, so I may see you.” It may appear at first glace to be nonsensical as there are no physical eyes affixed to the organ of the heart, but the imagery is designed to speak to the idea that there is a self deep within us that awakens to “see” the Lord. Many use the words heart and spirit interchangeably referring to that deep inner self that is within us. When we experience God we experience Him in Spirit and in truth. Both in spiritual and physical experiences as well as in truth that engages both our deep inner self and our mind.

I have been writing primarily of late to engage the mind as I have been avoiding use of non-physical terminology. However, I am leaving out a very important element in doing so.

I recently watched the 3-D IMAX sensation, Avatar. In the movie the Avatars have a tail with receptor tentacles on the end. They use these to connect at another level with the animals, nature, and even each other. The imagery suggested a spiritual connection with the world around them and the divine elements of that world. They communed with the beings or the divine respectively on a non-physical level—or rather a supernatural level.

Humans are also able to experience both the physical and the spiritual world. I have been mostly writing on this blog about those instances when the spiritual world births something physical. However, we also have the ability to perceive things that are not physical at all via our spirit and this ability is increased when our spirit is rightly aligned with His Spirit.

In a fictional comparison consider when the Avatars connected to the Tree and experienced a connection with reality in a whole new level. In comparison, I am speaking of Christ being the Tree of Life and we are the branches when our life merges with His.

There are some things that cannot be discerned until a person’s spirit has been renewed in Christ—some things that simply will not make sense. But there are still many things that a person can experience and understand before that happens. I began to realize that I ought not to avoid writing about some of these things simply because they are not physical. Thus, I may from time to time begin to write more about spiritual things and the nature of our spirit even though I fully understand that many of you do not believe we have a spiritual side to our being.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Demonstrating Truth Claims

Repeatedly I have made the claim that I am as certain that God exists and that I have relationship with Him as I am that my husband exists and that I have relationship with him.

What I do not mean by this statement is that I experience both relationships the same way. I only mean that I personally am equally assured of both being true relationships with real beings, one human, and one divine.

No one is going to ask me to prove my husband exists or that I have relationship with him as every human whether they have been married or not has an understanding of what I mean by this and has no need for evidence. It’s an everyday thing to claim and not all that peculiar or out of the ordinary.

Now someone who had never known what it is like to have someone love them may need a great deal of explanation of what this thing called love is and how it is experienced. There are such people who have grown up in isolation, maybe in an abusive home and subjected to a life without love. To them this concept of “love” would need explaining. But could it be explained sufficiently if it were not demonstrated? Could a person who had never had anyone love them identify with what is being described? The word would have little meaning if any and hold no value without some frame of reference of experience.

They could be educated on love, but still not know love. Reading a story where love is portrayed would be more helpful than reading definitions and descriptions of this phenomenon. Still with no one there to love them would love really be known? They could still come away from all that learning and say this thing called “love” is so unreal and probably does not exist. Maybe they see that it would be enjoyable to experience such things as was told them, but the person may hold little hope that such could be true. They may see it as safer for them to leave behind any desire for its truth, then to live with unfulfilled desire.

Is it too presumptuous of me to assert that the skeptic is the person who is hearing all about this person called God and has possibly heard many a story of people experiencing life with God? Moreover, that the skeptic does not have a grid for this data and these stories as there has been no experience with this fantastical Being that could give any credence to all that is being described. Thus, the skeptic awaits proof with little expectation that any proof will be forthcoming that could overcome not having personal experience. Still more, that there is little hope that personal experience would be attained when there is little hope that there is anything there to experience.

Working with the assumption that I articulated the previous paragraph with some degree of accuracy, I see it as not the fault of the skeptic to be in that position. I see it as the responsibility of those who claim to have had the experiences that correspond to their assertions, stories, descriptions, claims, etc. to be themselves demonstrators of that truth. If our lives do not show any thing at all that this is true, honestly, you have no reason at all to listen further to anything we have to say.

The difficulty, however, on an on-line forum is that my life is pretty much hidden from the readers I do not know personally. Most of you live many miles away and I cannot invite you to see my life up close as we only know each other through the words that are typed upon this page and in the comments. So I am at a disadvantage to fully demonstrate what I claim.

Maybe these dialogs that only serve to give description and tell stories about this God I speak of can do little good until after experience is established. But maybe it will help provide a framework for a future encounter with demonstrations of what I talk about. Maybe you will meet Christians that are living out these claims and you will see these demonstrations. I do not know how else to demonstrate what I speak of in this forum other than sharing my accounts of my experiences and the intellectual reasons which I am continually providing. If my content here serves no purpose for you, then maybe there are other bloggers out there that would be more worth your time. I see time as valuable and do not want to misuse anyone's time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Christian Claim of Truth

Christians, myself included, often make the statement that we know the truth. In a world of a multiplicity of competing truth claims that statement is incredibly and brazenly bold. However, what is meant by this statement, while still very bold, is not that we are deluded enough to believe we know the truth about every matter under the sun. We do not claim to have mastered such knowledge of the world. Though there are some who may act as if this were true. It is far from true.

What we mean when we say “we know the truth,” is that we know the Being of Truth. We mean precisely that we have relationship with Jesus. That He is the ultimate eternal absolute truth, being Himself God. We use the term “know” to mean “have relational experience of” not just “to know” something factually though that is included. You cannot have a relationship with Someone who does not exist. Included in the “know” is the intellectual assertion that this person of Truth does factually exist, but is more than a fact of life, but is Life Himself.

As my very first post to this blog explained, I use the term “Answer Bearer” as a name for my blog, not because I think I know all the answers, but because the one who is Truth dwells within me. And it is that Answer, the Answer of Life, of Truth, that is the one I bear forth. Therefore the title is not an arrogant claim, but a humble one. One that says that His Life is what it is all about.

I am just here to share what I have learned, and to learn what I have not yet learned by engaging in valuable and respectful conversation with people from various worldviews and experiences of life. I am thankful for each and every reader who uses their valuable time to read here and to converse with me here.