"...Likewisereckon (consider) yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God."
I talk a lot about the concept of "dying to the flesh" - "Death to the Tyrant!" - I have written tomes on ignoring it, subjugating it, putting it down, surrendering it for crucifixion, and generally just doing the blighter in, etc.! And of course, that is absolutely necessary in order for the Spirit of God to have His way in us, it must happen in order to allow His transformation processes to be able to take place, to have place in us. But we must not forget that there is another side of the thing! There is a "coming alive" process also - a "reckoning ourselves alive unto God" - which is best and most productive if going on simultaneously with the "death to the flesh" process! Because, if we only deprive our lower "fleshly" nature, but do not nourish our more noble spirit-man - then we simply leave a hole that can not be satisfied, a spiritual "black-hole", if you will. And that void will suck all of life into itself and give nothing in return! Making us empty shells of loss and bitterness! That was, of course, never God's intention!
As the rhetorical "fur" flies, on the social networking pages, over the various political and philosophical issues of our day, I listen to what those who generally side "against" the moral standard of Scripture are saying. And, of course, try to analyze why they may have come to those particular conclusions. And I have to say that it is pretty clear that we who claim to align with that "righteous standard" are mucking it up, and pretty profoundly! But how? I think we tend to err in one of two directions. Not that "they" do not have their own issues that cloud their ability to see "truth", but I think we need to face, and then deal with, the fact that we are not the blazing clarions of Truth that we imagine ourselves to be, or even perhaps long to be! So what gives?
One error on our part tends to be that "we" (the alleged defenders of righteousness) get stuck in our own religious ruts, the same as "they" (the alleged defenders of reason, science and all things intellectual) get stuck in their "politically correct" dogmas! And face it, a mantra, is a mantra, is a mantra...! One blind bias really is as good as another. The only exception to that idea is that, possibly, some mantras, such as those that at least began as Scriptural principles, may do less harm to the human condition than those which are purposely rebellious? But in my observation even that is not guaranteed, when a Scriptural premise is taken out of context and twisted by the lower nature for its own means - it is often far more harmful, being more easily mistaken as Truth! So, I am saying that religious dogma is no better than non-religious dogma, and ditto, the other way around. Dogma - all pre-determined unoriginal, non-committal sources of ideology - is useless, mindless, bondage of the worst kind, regardless of its source.
So our first mistake as "bearers of Truth" may be that we have, for the most part, not thought out what it is that we are propounding! We have not become familiar enough with the weapons which we are wielding, and are therefore often more dangerous or harmful than effective! Also there is the difficulty that our actions often belie the fact that we do not actually believe what we are vehemently defending, and so we are not very (or at all) convincing! We come across as the frauds which that hypocrisy reveals us to be. Why should anyone listen to us - or believe us - when it is apparent that we do not believe ourselves? Duh.
The other direction in which we tend to err is that we allow ourselves to be drawn into their angry verbal dog(ma) fights; and become sucked into a vortex of hatred, or hatefulness! Then, once love goes out the window as a motivation for sharing Truth and self-defense comes into it, the point is quite lost. "Speak the Truth in LOVE", remember that Scripture?! The issue is that we get so caught up in being "right" that we allow our pride to pull us out of the righteous path of being loving! Rather sadly ironic, but all too common! It is mercy and Truth that walk together, not vengeance and truth! When self-agrandizement (pride) comes in, love and mercy goes out, and takes the truth with her! Our "Love" then becomes pretentious, phony, obviously fraudulent and shallow, and truth becomes muddied and soiled in half-lies, and twisted perversions of its original form.
Being human seems such a complicated gig! In fact, if we can be said to excel at anything it might be our ability to complicate everything we touch! And this is one of the things we have really screwed in the ground over time! The ability to uphold a righteous standard without making a war out of it! I think that is due to the fact that we refuse to allow our lower natures to die, and have not learned to nurture the Spirit of God within ourselves! We have not found the JOY for which Messiah reportedly went to the cross! We have not entered into His Resurrection Life! Nor the powerful anointing that is supposed to accompany it!
I think the difficulty is that we can't seem to make it out of Gethsemane! And please tell me who in their right mind wants to spend the rest of their lives in an "Olive Press"! The original idea was that one goes to Gethsemane, surrender's the rights to oneself there, gets crucified, buried - none of that is any fun yet - BUT THEN - one finally gets resurrected and really starts living with some power! That is supposed to be the whole process! Though sadly, it is not what generally happens!
In my observation most get as far as Gethsemane, and then mar down there in dread, and can not find the chutzpah to go on to the cross! I personally think that is because we really do not believe, partly because we are not taught, that there is really anything beyond that! How many folks do you personally know who have made it past there and actually live in victory and power!? No wonder the "worldly-wise" run for their very lives! At least they can still drink or something to relieve the misery which their stupidity causes! lol "We don't drink, and we don't chew, and we don't run with those who do", and we don't get anointed neither, so we really don't fit in with either! Ugh! As it has become popular to say (with lots of attitude, please) "Ain't nobody got time fo' dat!"
Who wants to emulate someone who looks like they've were "incubated in vinegar and weaned on dill pickles"?! Who wants to listen to, or follow, someone who acts like a condemned man on his way to execution?! We are not LIVING this thing! We are not walking in any kind of power or victory! "We" - meaning the bulk of those proposing this "superior" lifestyle - and especially those who yell about it the loudest - are not demonstrating the Power of His Resurrection! We are not walking in His anointing! An anointing which He outlined in Luke 4:18 (but He was, of course, in the Temple on Shabbot, quoting from the Haf Tarah portion in Isaiah 61):
"The Spirit of Adonai (The LORD) is upon me, because Adonai has anointed Me to preach the GOOD News to the poor. (what is that "Good News"? It is that...) He has sent ME to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those that are oppressed, to proclaim ha Yovel (the year of Jubilee), the favorable year of Adonai." (Notice that He did not mention hell at all?) When do we get around to the good stuff? The Resurrection Power?! The Anointing that frees people, breaks yokes, heals disease?! I want some of that!
When we walk in that kind of anointing we won't have to talk so loudly, and we won't have to convince people to listen to us! And if they do listen they won't walk away so empty, angry and disappointed! Will they ALL love Truth any better? Not guaranteed. You see, faith, trust, obedience - oh, and loving God even if we must die for it - these are things that are worked into us over time, as we make room for His life in us, as we die to our self-serving, self-protecting, self-exalting ways! You see, it doesn't just happen because someone preaches a convincing sermon, though that can be an instrument sometimes, but we must be drawn to Him by His Spirit! And obviously not everyone will choose to follow His path! But I think many more would be drawn to Him if we, ourselves, that proclaim "His Righteous standard" treated it more like Honey than vinegar! If our focus was more on resurrection than the cross, more on the living side than the dying side!
We each must face Gethsemane, and then Calvary - if we follow our Messiah! However, we need to hang with Him all the way through the Death, Burial, AND Resurrection! We must get THROUGH Gethsemane! Why stay there in the place of dread and pressure, when we can press on to victory and a new life of power?!
Why would we think that the world wants to join us in our olive press? Why do we think the Cross will attract people?! But we must remember and reflect the fact that Yeshua did not stay on the cross! And He sweat blood in Gethsemane for a reason! Only His endearing, enduring faith in His Father God got Him through the ordeal! Only His firm belief that His actions would produce the desired result - the restoration of ETERNAL LIFE for all of creation who would choose to participate! He planned to rise again! He planned to LIVE again, in more power than before! That was the only way it could have made sense! And it is the only way our lives will make any sense to the watching world!
Listen, stand up for what you believe, when it is appropriate to do so. But we must be careful that we are not pulled into the bog of selfish offense swapping! We must be quite sure that we are ready to die for what we are defending, be it a principle, an idea or a lifestyle, because very soon it may indeed come to that. If you would not die for what you are propounding then it is likely you should just shut up now, and slink off in defeat. Because it is pretty clear that if you are not willing to die for it, then you are probably not going to live for it either. If you will not face your cross, then you can not expect a resurrection. Just leave Gethsemane behind and go back to the bar, or television or whatever you really want to serve!
What I am proposing is a return to simple, basic logic. If you are not going to pay the price to live to the Spirit, at least go "live a little" in the flesh! Why waste both?! The idea was, and still is, to choose! And the reason most of the religious world is so darn grumpy and joyless is because they have splinters up their tush from riding the "wood between the worlds"! Get off that fence! If you are not willing to really pay the price (of willfully, and deliberately choosing obedience) to exercise the option of really becoming a Son of God, then at least stop pretending - which results in giving Him bad press! He does not want or need a hoard of people caught up in a pretentious, empty, religious, worm-eating, vinegar sucking, hate-mongering, phobia ruled "lifestyle" of religious false representation! Nor does the sin weary world need or want anymore of our lifeless brow-beating!
As many songs have expressed - "What the world needs now is Love"! But it needs HIS Love. And not a wimpy, soft-soaping, bush-beating, truth-dodging, watered down, weak-kneed, knock-off of "Political Correctness"! Which has merely replaced the southern hypocrisy of "Being Nice" - to your face at least. What is needed is a hearty, real, "to-die-for" kind of love that will go the distance, stand the strain, pass the test, get in your face and help you finish the race! A love that will not let go! A Love that reflects His sacrifice and reiterates His Victory! A muscular, passionate, vital love, brimming with Life and power! Not this lethargic, annoyed and annoying, whiny, pushy, stupid, brainless religious twaddle that is being peddled as "Christian love"! And NOT the wishy-washy, grossly hypocritical, liberal knock-off - the knee-jerk reaction to that failed idea, which is held superior and peddled in its place as "tolerance"! Gag me! Both are miserable failures, and intolerable excuses for the real thing!
We were called to be "Anointed", not annoying! We should empower Truth, not just beleaguer it! We should personify righteousness, not just attempt to placate it! Why keep beating the world up, trying to press it into making a choice which we ourselves have NOT yet proved courageous enough to have made? It just doesn't wash! I keep saying this, but it is what is reverberating in the realm of the Spirit right now - it is time for those called by His Name to Put up or shut up! We need to either die in order to live, or just "get our things in order" and prepare to die! (Remember that discourse on losing or saving one's life...?) If we are so PRO-CHOICE - then it is high time we chose to either man-up and truly represent HIM, or at least be big enough to concede defeat! It is time to either go to the cross or just slink back to the lazy boy, but either way, it is high time to leave Gethsemane! We have enough half-crushed olives just laying around groaning about it! It is the Way of the Cross that leads home! Either pick it up or lay it down. But for Heaven's sake, Just do something! Choose to LIVE or choose to die, sorry those are the options! And, by the way, refusing to choose - or procrastinating on making a choice - is still choosing (by taking the default mode, which is death by neglect)! The instruction manual for living suggests that we - and I would encourage us to - "Choose life"! (I love this open book test thing, the answers are right there! lol) As we say in the deep south, "I reckon" its time to Live!