Posts Tagged ‘blasphemy’

The Stubborn Heart

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” (Mk. 9:23-25)

It has been my experience, that literally thousands of people struggle with unbelief. Real barriers stand between their desire and the reality of God’s Will! Like this father they hear the words that Jesus would love to heal, deliver or bring hope; but they are stuck. They know the truth that if they could just believe, nothing would be impossible… but there is no believing, no receiving and no “heart” at all. There is just the nagging reality of hopeless effort, tears and shameful discouragement. And worse yet for many, they construct a new theological platform of resolve… “I will choose to not believe any longer, because it just leaves me hopeless!”

The Spirit of Unbelief:

The inability to obey the instructions of Jesus and trust in the Promises of God, often leads to this frustration. We want to please the Lord and experience all that God has said, but something in us resists faith. We find we “cannot” believe even when we want to. This can be due to a “spirit of unbelief”. Lies, deception, fears or offenses can find their dwelling in the heart and be controlled by a demonic spirit that paralyzes the heart in unbelief. This spirit is real and dangerous, it is pervasive and advancing across the landscape of Christianity and it lives in the midst of the “Church culture”… where all is not fine in paradise!

Authenticity:

I receive many emails and calls about this issue and I find it a bit shocking that the problem is so wide spread and growing. Yet in my opinion there is a root cause that we must uncover and shine the light of truth upon… people are living superficial lifestyles. They rarely stop and contemplate the meaning of their existence. To ask the simple question, “WHY!” is not blasphemy, nor is it going to lead us into deception. Perhaps it would even offer a lot more authenticity to our journey!

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7… “Ask, seek and knock… and the door will be opened!”

Authentic communication with God – opens the door of relational truth. Things that are difficult for us to understand, come into the light of His wisdom and love. God is a “father”, He knows how to take care of His children and He is faithful. He is anticipating our needs to be vocalized and to come streaming into His Presence (Heb. 4:16). The Apostle Peter, who seemed a lot like us; said you and I need to be “casting all our care upon Him, because He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5:7). He cares for us… and He knows all about our issues of faith. This idea that we can avoid our problems and they will just go away… well – that is the greatest deception of all! They do not go away, in fact they produce the fruit of disappointment, which I spoke of earlier. We tend to create and believe a false perception of God’s heart toward our reality.

So – here’s the point…

  • Stop living without meaningful communication with God!

Spend time telling God of the frailty of your faith, the brokenness of your heart and the weakness in your perceptions… ask Him “why?!” and then wait… wait… wait… for the doors to open! They will, my friend they will… they will open wide and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory… He is the Lord Strong and Mighty! (Psa. 24:7-10)

More Boldness

I want to bring a thought that has never been so real to me than in these recent days. In our Western Culture and particularly among Christians in the “Bible Belt”, people perceive offending someone as the worst sin in the world. I believe it stems from a disrespect for authority and a disregard for honor.

I have watched people of incredibly poor moral character come unglued when somebody gets corrected by a voice of authority around them.

Some people act like they are the spiritual truth police, when somebody gets their feelings hurt.

Oh my you just offended “Sister so-n-so” …why, who do you think you are… asking her to wait and share her comments at the end of the service? Its amazing to me to watch how hypocritical people can become.

Jesus dealt with this issue all of the time… from being misunderstood (Jn 10:6, 19-20) to accusations of blasphemy (Jn 10:33) to even plotting His death (Jn 11:53) and finally (without cause) crucifying Him. An innocent man – Pilate said “…I find no fault in Him.”

It is the character of the hypocrite to judge others more harshly than we judge ourselves(Mt 7:1-3).

“None is righteous, no not one…” says the Apostle Paul (Rom 3:10), altogether we find no person in the Bible who claimed to be perfect. Yet when it comes to offended people, there is probably more blood shed on that basis than any other problem in our world today. Let me add that many folks can become offended over the color of your socks.

So much of what we get offended by is not sinful behavior at all, but would be classified as somebody’s personal preference.

 I hear the words of Jesus when He addressed this issue, “hypocrites… you strain out a gnat and swallow a camel” (Mt 23:23-24). Interestingly Jesus in this passage is calling the Scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites” because they would pay their tithes in front of the crowds to be seen, yet they would omit the weightier issues of the Law like justice and honoring their parents or loving their neighbors.

I know people who have children they won’t even speak to, because they got offended by the choices they made that were different than their parents’ generation. The sad thing about this issue is that I do not believe it will change until Jesus returns.

Offense is a choice we make when we do not feel safe… we lash out or we hide away and allow our selfish heart to rule our behavior.

These feelings are toxic and are the root system of most division and strife that show up in our Christian fellowships. Note: the Pharisees in Jesus’ day chose to be offended because they believed Jesus was a threat to their position (Jn 11:48). They could not feel safe around His teaching and healing ministry because people were following Him… the system was unable to stretch to embrace the New Life found in His ministry.

The Prophet Jeremiah was told to rebuke the “Shepherds” who were preaching soft words, Elijah sternly dealt with the Prophets of Baal, John the Baptist commanded all the Jewish leaders to repent and bear fruit that showed an openness to the coming Messiah and now for some silly reason we cannot call each other into accountable relationships for fear of offending somebody’s feelings. Well, I say enough already its time to step out and declare the Truth of this generation’s failure with a willingness to repent and not hide behind our positional titles or achievements to keep peace at all cost. Like the early Apostles’ prayer after Peter was released from jail (Acts 4:29-31), we must seek God for more boldness

the kind that stirs up the feelings of the religious and shakes the atmosphere in those places we are called to have influence.

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