(The Prize, The Peace and The Work of Overcoming - Part Two:)
Positive thinking is a kind of faith, in that it is trust in what we can do in our own strength! And, like all human substitutions, it is not entirely useless, but neither does it have the power of God to affect any real change! Our creator has made us wondrous beings, with astounding capabilities! However, we frequently neglect one of the best features of this "model" - called the human-being - which is the capability to have a relationship with that Creator, to believe in Him, and live in such fellowship with Him that we know Him intimately. And, in which, He brings out the best in us - His Character - and lays to rest the lower nature that is born of sin!
But we, like two year olds, stubbornly insist that we can "do it ourselves!" Our passivist, humanist, arrogance insists - that we can all just sit down and work all this out because we are so wonderfully intelligent and reasonable! Though recorded history would insist otherwise! But this erroneous thinking has lulled us into an unreality, a strong deception that will prove to be the undoing of everyone who drinks that philosophical "kool-aid" - because it is rooted in the thing which God despises the most - pride! Human nature is intrinsically war-like because it is so very selfish! It takes the way of least resistance (which it misinterprets as "peace") only because it wants pleasure and ease - but ultimately it will viciously fight anything that threatens those pleasures! Therefore true peace can never be gained or maintained for very long, because that intrinsic greed and lust, which defines the lower nature, is never satisfied with its own toys! It is positive that the grass on the other side is much greener!
Peace - real and lasting Peace - comes only comes from submitting that unruly flesh to the work of the Spirit, which produces the higher nature in us, slowly putting to death the lower-nature, when we cooperate with Grace through Faith! Grace is nothing more than the Love of God which desires our freedom! Faith is simply deliberate belief in His Covenant - with which we cooperate - to accomplish that Freedom! Faith - the deep rooted belief that "He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" - and it is the source and supplier of our weaponry, strategy and power!
But that phrase "diligently seek" does not seem to imply a cake walk! We are not floated into eternity on flowery beds of ease! It is written, "The Kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent take it by force!" By what force do we take it? Grace and Faith! They are not just pretty girl names! They are not just sweet, gentle concepts! They are the spiritual c-4 that blows the obstacles from our path that would keep us from getting to God!
From His end, He provides everything we need to win. He encourages us when we receive disappointments, He strengthens us when we are weakened by life's many blows, He heals us when we are attacked with illnesses, He rescues us when we cry out in repentance, because, by the plotting of our own flesh and the traps of the enemy, we get back into enemy territory and foolishly get ourselves re-captured! He never leaves us or forsakes us! He instructs us morning by morning as one being taught!
But of course, the catch is that we must show up in order to listen! And then we must enact the orders we receive! We must be willing to actually fight the good fight of faith, not just discuss the strategies! We must be willing to lay down our old life in order to take up His new one! They can not be fitted in juxtaposition over one another! We must be willing to leave the past and not look back - "remember Lot's wife"! We must be willing to allow the necessary changes to be made to our hard-drive - so that we desire the things that will enable life - and cease cultivating the habits that enable death! We must work toward righteousness, and it is work! Rather than sit idly by, assuming that all is right between us "and the man upstairs"!
But this selective stupidity is all that we can expect from the current religious/spiritual educationsystem, which, unfortunately, is known as "Church". As long as those in "leadership" in these mostly man-driven institutions moddle-coddle the flesh of those in regular attendance, and dance around sin, as long as they continue to spoon feed these overgrown, lazy infants and enable their entitlement issues, as long as they insist on exercising control over their lives and micro-managing their spirituality, thus freeing them from taking their own Authority and Responsibility in God, (which is, by the way, control and manipulation and NOT true God-led leadership) they will never grow up!
I have watched this anti-productive system for years! So-called, sometimes self-appointed, "Leadership" shaking their heads and expressing continual frustration over the fact that there is so little "mature Christianity", so few willing or able to step up into leadership, etc. - but then, unwittingly (I believe), cultivating and reinforcing a system that allows no room for growing up! A system that prohibits and restricts others from taking or having Authority - and worse - jealously guarding it for those deemed worthy by the select self-appointed few! Which of course plays right into the hands of the selfish, lazy, wiley flesh of the many - who want someone else to take all the responsibility for them anyway! Face it, most Americans skirk responsibility! But the systems have taught us to! The government educates our kids, the medical profession medicate our kids and the church subjugates our kids! And all of those systems usurp whatever authority we don't willing give them!
But the current set-up known as Church is the most deceptive, because it preaches against all these things, while being guilty of them! It is a faulty system that enables pride, manipulation and control issues (aka witch-craft) in the "Leadership", and enables laziness, gross irresponsibility, spiritual negligence, entitlement issues and codependency in the "sheep". It is setting us all up for one world government by a tyrant, and has put us on the wrong side of an angry God, whose judgment we are now "enjoying". Ready to repent yet - "Church"?
It is truly a two-fold issue. However, if those in "leadership" are tired of lazy immature "Christians", then it would make sense for them stop inhibiting their growth, enabling their sorriness and require them to grow up! Proverbs says plainly that "He who does not work, should not eat"! There is no hint of any entitlement in that Scripture! That goes spiritually as well! Stop doing their work for them and the ingrates will have to get busy hearing God for themselves!
And if we, who have done the hard work of growing up, in spite of the oppressors in Shepherd's clothing, are tired of "Church Abuse" - in the form of having our authority in Christ usurped, our families fragmented and our faith bonsaied - then we need to grow some boundaries and put a stop to it! We must take our Authority/Responsibility in the Anointed One and His Anointing! We need to get off our rear-ends and get the hands to the plow, and never look back!
We can't have it both ways, we can not sit back, take the way of least resistance, allowing ourselves to be continuously overwhelmed - and then expect to somehow overcome at the same time! We are going to have to stop taking offense and get on the offensive! (not to say we should give offense!) But we should have a strategy against the enemy!
And our enemy should be the same as the Lord's enemy! We do NOT fight against flesh and blood, though the enemy usually works through flesh and blood! That is why we must have the discernment of the Spirit that can divide between the rock and the hard place - flesh and spirit!
But whatever else we do, we need to accept the fact that Grown Up People Must Work! The rule of rest that God put in order is that we WORK six days, and REST one! Not piddle for two, play for three and then sleep-in to our hearts' content! AND we are to REST IN HIM! Not FROM HIM! Are we going to whine our way into eternity (and very possibly find ourselves on the wrong side of it) or work (doing the works which our faith indicates) our way into it? Listen whether we are "with God" or separated from Him in eternity depends on whether we are with Him or have separated ourselves from Him now, in our daily lives, by decisions we make each day!
The sand-box days are over. The fields are white. As I said before, it is time to put up or shut up! Do His works or get off His pay-list! He is not an entitlement kind of God! We need to get in His Game or stop using His Name! We are bringing Him shame! When we should be telling His story and bringing Him glory! We have choices to make. But hey, supposedly we are a "pro-choice" nation after all! Freedom of Choice and all of that! I maintain, however, that so far we have chosen poorly! And I mean those who call themselves "the Church" - we can finger point at "Them" all we want, but the real enemy is our own duplicitous, deceived flesh! It is in leagues with the devil who wants mankind destroyed! It is his implant through the power of sin! We must choose to master it and bring under the power and authority of the Anointed One, if we ever expect to live in peace and blessing and victory! The choice is ours. The time is now.