Tag Archive: obey


Tug-Of-War

Christians don’t knowingly, willfully, choose to sin if we love God. We love God more than we love the pleasure of sin, so we do everything in our strength (including praying and fasting) to not sin. When we are born again, we receive a new heart–one that hates sin. Our will is changed. We will still war against our flesh (which does not change when we are born again), until we bring it under subjection to our will. But if we love God, we WILL choose righteousness. Here’s how it looks:

New heart + new will + Holy Spirit <–> lusts/habits + demons

There is no question: what is on the LEFT side of this equation is stronger than what is on the right side. YES, there will be a struggle. This will be a tug of war for awhile (weeks? months? years?) Demons have to be resisted–demons YOU have given place to in your life. Lusts and habits (lusts and habits YOU have nourished and strengthened) have to be resisted and denied until your flesh learns to submit to your new will.

But I guarantee, you WILL overcome, IF you will persist. There is no way that your lusts and demons can overpower the Holy Spirit. The ONLY way you will lose in this tug of war, is if you give up. And if you give up, you will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. So–you’d better not give up.

We ALWAYS will have to be alert so that the flesh does not rise up again . . . so that we do not open the door to demonic influence in our life again. If we ever realize we have stumbled and sinned, we must get up and repent and start fighting again.

 

”He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.’ (1 John 3:8-10)

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Fish ladder Window

Fish ladder Window

 

‘There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.’  (Proverbs 16:25)

A way?  I wondered, ‘what is this particular way?’  Surely there are MANY ways that seem right, if there is only ONE way that truly IS right.

Now I understand.  It is the way of the crowd, the way of peer pressure, the way of group consensus.  The way of ‘everybody’s doing it’.  It just seems right, because that’s the direction of the flow.  Most times it doesn’t even occur to us to question it.  We go along without thinking, without critical examination.  It’s what we’ve been taught is ‘normal’.

But, while all the world is swimming downstream, God made Christians, like salmon, to swim upstream.  As we study God’s Word, our eyes become opened to what is acceptable behavior for us, in God’s eyes, and what isn’t.  As long as we submit ourselves to walk IN THE SPIRIT, we find ourselves having a constant urge to swim against the flow.

But the current is strong.  If we don’t continue in The Spirit, we will find ourselves swimming with the crowd too.  But again and again, the urge to go against the flow will return.  Yet if we don’t FOCUS our attention on that urge within us–that inner leading of the Holy Spirit–we will find ourselves passing the same scenery again and again.  Upstream, downstream.  We just don’t seem to be making any progress.

WE MUST CHOOSE to submit ourselves to God daily.  We must CHOOSE to put His will before our own.  We must CHOOSE to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  If we do, His Holy Spirit gives us the supernatural strength and motivation to swim against the flow.  And the longer we do it, the stronger and more motivated we become–just like the salmon that find the water purer and more oxygenated the further upstream they go.  Soon they smell the familiar scent of the shoals where they spent their early life: home!

But if we DON’T choose to submit ourselves to God daily . . . if we DON’T choose to put His will before our own, if we DON’T follow His leading, we will simply be carried along with the flow.

There is yet a deeper parallel here: the issue of fish ladders.  Take the case of the Chittenden Locks: here boats are moved between Lake Washington and Puget Sound.  As always, water moves downstream.  However, it is not advantageous for migrating salmon to get caught in the huge locks, because the way they are constructed makes it virtually impossible for them to make their way upstream.  Therefore, a narrow ‘fish ladder’ was constructed on one side of the lock.  (But not every salmon finds it.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiram_M._Chittenden_Locks#Fish_ladder

Understanding the fish ladder brings new understanding to Jesus’ parable:

‘Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’  (Matthew 7:13-14)

Although God made us a ‘fish gate’, a way of salvation, we still must STRIVE to enter in.  We still must be the ones to CHOOSE to swim upstream and make the journey.  God has put everything needful in place for us, and will even turbocharge us to reach our destination, but He’s not going to airlift us there.  What is needful, is for us to choose to TURN and SWIM!

‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’  (Luke 13:24)

I am posting the comment below (submitted in response to:  ‘Christians, Vampires, and Dragons’) because it summarizes a lot of false beliefs that are popular these days.

Submitted by krakowski@live.com on 2011/03/04 at 10:47 pm

“No mortal man should know the name and will of god. As mortals, we have no right to deem what is suitable for all. Only god will deem each man and woman worthy of heaven.

So many have redone the bible, ripped out sections and tried to adapt it to themselves.

Salvation is found in the true belief and love of god, however you choose to find god. True faith is found in the love and acceptance of all people, as jesus christ taught the masses.

To do other is to do evil.

To believe any mortal knows the will of god is arrogance. To pretend to know it is a blasphemy all it’s own. God never speaks or comes through mortal man.

The words of a page are written by man. The words of faith are written by man. Only a true believer will know god, not by written words or coersion. Only true faith will lead each to god.

To have the love of christ, to share it with others, is to not judge–to accept, love and nurture each as who they are. Jesus Christ didn’t demand his followers to be different. He merely helped them be better people. He nurtured, guided and loved.

How can anyone, as followers of Christ, do less?”

 

When a person has too much pride in himself, he will be offended at the nature of God.

  • If a man prides himself on being ‘tolerant’, he will be offended that God appears to be intolerant.
  • If a man prides himself on being nonjudgmental, he will be offended to learn that God judges.
  • If a man prides himself on being kind, he will be offended at actions of God that he deems to be unkind.
  • If a man is exceedingly proud, he will be offended at any indication that God can be humble.

When man is prideful, he will be offended at the nature of God.  Then, he will set about to create a god in his own image–a god that reflects and protects his prejudices and beliefs . . . a god that excuses his weaknesses and justifies his behavior.  The gods that men create are gods that rubber stamp their beliefs and behaviors.

The ‘tolerant’ man will create a tolerant god, the nonjudgmental man will create a god that does not judge, the kind man will create a god who seems to be very kind, the exceedingly prideful man will create a god who is exceedingly arrogant, etc.

The god a man creates is a window into the man’s soul.

It usually turns out, however, that these ‘nonjudgmental’ gods appear to be quite judgmental towards others who don’t believe in them.  These ‘tolerant’ gods are quite intolerant of those who believe in Jehovah-God.  The kind gods are quite hostile towards those who follow the one, true God.

If your god is truly so tolerant, nonjudgmental, and kind . . . then lets see that reflected in your attitude, throughout the course of your life, towards EVERYONE–including those of us who follow Jehovah (because we surely do not serve the same God!)

And that is the crux of the matter–we do not serve the same God!

My God is not ‘tolerant’.  He is not nonjudgmental.  Nor is He always kind (according to the standards of man) in the short term.  He is a God of black and white . . . truth vs. lies . . . light vs. darkness . . . good vs. evil.  In fact, my God is SO judgmental that He will not just judge men by their actions–but by the intent of their heart!

It just happens that Jehovah/God does not fit  with the current picture of what is culturally acceptable!!

What absurd arrogance, to believe that our grand life experience (all of 120 years or less) qualifies us to know what nature God must have to equip him to rule the entire universe through all the ages!  How short sighted man is!

When men creates gods, they are gods that are relevant to their times and prejudices.  But, how will their god hold up when times and conditions change?  How can their god be fair and equitable, truly kind, righteous, and good, if everything and everyone is tolerated, and no one is ever judged?

What does their weak, ineffective god do or say when some pedophile kidnaps their little daughter, then rapes, tortures and kills her?  Is he tolerant of the pedophile?  Surely their tolerant, nonjudgmental god cannot judge him!  And if that pedophile commits suicide to avoid capture–will he be judged in the hereafter?  Who knows?  According to you,

‘As mortals, we have no right to deem what is suitable for all. Only god will deem each man and woman worthy of heaven.’

How great, and good, and just would you now believe your god to be if he decided not to judge that man?  If there was never justice or recompense for loss?

Or, what if he does judge that man?  Then we have to feel sorry for him, in a way, because (according to you)

‘To believe any mortal knows the will of god is arrogance. To pretend to know it is a blasphemy all it’s own. God never speaks or comes through mortal man.’

How could a pedophile, kidnapper, or murderer know that what he was doing was wrong . . . if man cannot know the will of your god?  If your god does not communicate with man?  Perhaps such actions felt perfectly suitable to him–why should he be judged for doing what ‘came naturally’ to him, if others are not judged by the same standard?

Your ‘god’ is  full of holes.  Have you really taken the time to think this through?

Now let me answer some of your other points . . . based on what I DO know of the nature and will of God–Jehovah.

“True faith is found in the love and acceptance of all people, as jesus christ taught the masses.”

Jesus never equated ‘true faith’ with loving and accepting all people.  Nor did he accept the behavior of all people. He was clearly displeased with the Sanhedrin and the moneychangers.

Maybe you should go back and read a little more about Jesus–you can find the chronicles of his ministry in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Also, much is taught about Him, by the apostles, in the books of Acts, Romans, and Hebrews.

“To do other is to do evil.”

Your opinion and definition.

“To have the love of christ, to share it with others, is to not judge–to accept, love and nurture each as who they are.”

Are we talking about the same Jesus?  God, come to Earth as man . . . born in the flesh, of a virgin . . . lived a perfect life . . . had neither wife nor kids . . . ministered for three and a half years . . . was crucified . . . died . . . then rose again on the third day . . .?

Those of us who believe in THIS Jesus are each called first to REPENT, then to turn from our wickedness, and to follow Him!

Jesus says that if we love Him, we must obey His commands.  He also explained that He is God, and His commands are the spirit of the ten commandments.  If we are loving/obeying Him, we will be living in harmony with the ten commandments.

‘nurture each other as ‘who they are’–no, we are called to correct, rebuke, and encourage each other.  Two of those three terms signify a confrontation of another’s behavior.  According to your jesus, we would only need to encourage one another.

Jesus Christ didn’t demand his followers to be different. He merely helped them be better people. He nurtured, guided and loved.

How can anyone, as followers of Christ, do less?”

Did He demand? No.  Did He teach them to be different?  Yes.  He urged them to understand the spirit of the Law, and to do ‘above and beyond’ what it required of them.

Following Jesus is a free-will choice.  It is not demanded of anyone.  But if one follows Him, then they must submit to His ways.

“Salvation is found in the true belief and love of god, however you choose to find god.”

Excuse me?  You create a god that you can truly love and believe in–then that leads to your salvation . . . How exactly do you define salvation? And what do you  need salvation from, if your jesus just loves and accepts everything about you, as you are  now?

God, through His Word, the Bible, teaches that we need salvation from our SINS.  Which means that everything is NOT tolerable and acceptable.  It means that we are NOT already ok, and just in need of love and acceptance,  nurture and guidance.

The heart of man is sinful and that sinful nature will give birth to acts of sin.  Sinful acts require judgment, from a righteous God.  We need salvation from ourselves–but your religion deifies your self!

“The words of a page are written by man. The words of faith are written by man.”

Yeah, yeah.  Over forty authors, writing over a period of about 2,000 years . . . a multitude of prophecies fulfilled, etc.  . . . just coincidence . . . merely the work of men . . . blah, blah, blah . . . whatever.

“So many have redone the bible, ripped out sections and tried to adapt it to themselves.”

Sadly, it seems this is what you are doing.  Your ‘understanding’ surely has not taken into consideration the entirety of Scripture.  The little bit of what you say that actually seems to have some small relation to the Bible, pertains to Jesus.  Yet even there, I see no indication that you have actually read any of it.  The little bit of what you say about Jesus is the sort of thing one picks up from listening to others’ opinions.

“No mortal man should know the name and will of god.”

No mortal man should know his name–what caused you to develop such a strange opinion?

And how can your god hold men accountable for their actions if they don’t know his will– oh wait, he doesn’t judge does he?  So . . .  we should all just do what seems best to us, and if he likes us we’ll get to go to heaven?

How do you know that what you think is good is the same as what your god thinks is good?  What if your god loves the ways of pedophiles, kidnappers, murderers and thieves–and you aren’t one?

But, here is the conclusion of the matter:

“Only a true believer will know god, not by written words or coercion. Only true faith will lead each to god.”

The god that you talk about is a god that you have created for yourself–and your god is a projection of your own prideful beliefs about yourself.

That pride is what you call ‘true faith’.  But, you are right that your ‘true faith’ (your pride) will lead you to your god, because:

You ARE your god!

I was sent a link, as part of a comment to a previous post. In that link, passages from the Bible and the Koran are twisted together to make a case for the opinion that Jesus foretold the coming of Muhammad.  One of the passages quoted from is John 14.

(When Jesus spoke of ‘The Counselor’, He was referring to the Holy Spirit of God that He promised would indwell Christians.  He was not referring to Muhammad, or to any other human being.)

Here is John 14, in its entirety, along with the interpretation:

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.

In this chapter, Jesus is simultaneously teaching truths about five basic subjects.  The subjects are braided together, as a cord.  Let us tease the strands (subjects) apart by color coding them.  Passages speaking of the same thing are coded the same color.  The subjects will be explained at the end of the chapter.

Now that you have read the chapter as it was written (above), read one color-coded section at a time, and compare it with the explanation at the end of the chapter.

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know  my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.

Color code and subjects


Jesus:

  • Speaks of His impending death, resurrection, and ascension to His disciples
  • Comforts them
  • Explains that we cannot reach The Father directly ourselves, but that we must go through Him (Jesus)
  • Teaches that through faith in Him, they/we can do works even greater than He did, because He will be with the Father*
  • Implies that He will be able to pass their/our prayers along to the Father (because only He can ask things of the Father)*
  • Tells them that He will take them/us to be with Him, after this life

*Now, instead of Jesus walking the Earth and the disciples being able to ask things of Him (Jesus), the disciples will ask Jesus, and Jesus will ask The Father on their/our behalf.

Because The Father is greater (more powerful) than Jesus, they/we will be able to do even greater things than the disciples could do while they were with Jesus  (because they were enabled by Jesus’ power when He was with them, but now  The Father’s [greater] power will enable them/us).

Jesus explains that:

  • He loves The Father and does exactly what The Father has commanded Him.  Therefore, when people saw Him, they saw The Father.
  • If we love Him, we will obey Him.  Then He, The Father and The Holy Spirit will live in us, and those who see us will see Him (Them).

Jesus explains that to love Him is to obey His teaching.

Jesus explains that:

  • Those of us who love Him obey Him
  • He and The Father will love those who obey Him (Them)
  • They will come to those of us who love Them, in the form of the Counselor (The Holy Spirit)
  • They (The Holy Spirit) will teach us all things and remind us of what Jesus taught

Jesus shows that He, The Father and The Holy Spirit:

  • Are not known by ‘the world’ (people who are not His, and spirits that have authority in this world)
  • Are not accepted by the world
  • Are not subject to the (spiritual) powers of this world

Jesus teaches that those who do not love Him do not obey Him (and vice-versa)


If you go back now, and reread the entire chapter as it was written, it should make more sense to you.

Was Jesus A Prophet?

Answer To Islam #2: John 15

Answer To Islam #3: John 16

Answer To Islam #4

You can’t be a follower of Jesus and follow the crowd.

Jesus says that the path to destruction is broad, and many people will take that path . . . and that the way to life is narrow, and few will find it.

He also says that He will lead you, direct your steps, and show you which way to turn.  No matter how many times you fall down, He will always help you up.

But you have to ask.  And you have to follow His direction.

Christianity: It’s always the same theme.  Will you obey God, or not?  That decision is made in your heart, and reflected in your actions.

Find the will to obey God.  If you can’t find the will in your heart anymore–ask God to give you the will.  Whatever His children need, He is glad to provide.

How Can You Say Your Way Is The Only Way?

Enduring What Is Coming-Mental Preparation