Breaking Free

22 11 2013

This week’s set of posts, beginning with Where Image is Everything, came from a Bible study on Intimacy with God that my husband and I recently attended. This was a pivotal teaching for me, and it is transforming my life in ways I can’t begin to explain!

My hope is that I am delivering enough of the content to do the same for you…my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will fill in the blanks and provide what is lacking.

When we live our lives as chameleons, modifying who we are in every situation for the sake of garnering favor from those we are with, we become hypocrites.

In Bible days, a popular past-time was the theater. The Greek name for an actor was a hypocrite; and we understand that when Jesus meant called people by this term, it wasn’t a compliment!

Now, it’s not that we aren’t ever to adjust our behavior. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Here’s what he had to say:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.

And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the law;

And to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law.

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.

And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow-partaker of it.

The difference between living from Bounded Sets and doing what Paul did is motive.

His focus wasn’t on his image, or whether people liked him. If Paul did this for the purpose of self-preservation, it didn’t work! The guy was a walking scar from being beaten and stoned!

His intent was to benefit them; to reach them with the gospel.

This is the only purpose for becoming chameleons.

Living from Bounded Sets will lead us to three possible responses.

1) Rebellion – We can choose to turn our back on God, the church, and determine to live it up. This didn’t go very well for the prodigal son in Luke 15!

I took this route twice, and can report that nothing much of lasting value came from either time. The first time led me into the drug and alcohol scene, and a 10-year marriage from hell. The second episode was no better.

Although I received the prodigal’s welcome both times, there’s still the principle of sowing and reaping.

Thirty years later, I am still reaping what was sown…and so are my children. 😦

This is not a wise move!

2) Legalism – We become rigid rule-makers and rule-keepers (aka Pharisees)who judge everyone according to the laws we make…while continually breaking them ourselves. Here is Jesus’ commentary:

And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. (Luke 11:46)

There is a third option!

3) Break free – We turn our eyes from outward appearances – ours and others’ – and draw closer to Jesus.

This begins with repentance. To repent means to make a U-Turn. We were going this way, now we’ve made a 180 and are moving in the opposite direction.

Hmm. It occurs to me that if one direction leads us toward Jesus, then if we’re going in the opposite direction we are moving toward…you got it…our adversary! Eek!!!

Next, it will take transformation. No amount of self-will is going to make this happen. Have you ever seen a caterpillar hunched up willing itself to be changed into a butterfly? (Duh, no you have not!) The Greek word for transformation means metamorphosis – meta = big; morph = change.

The most amazing change to witness is when a person goes from being a Pharisee to becoming a lover of Jesus. Not only does their behavior become gentle, kind, and loving, but even their countenance changes.

Paul told us how to be transformed:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed {HOW?} by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2a}

How do we renew our minds?

Jesus gave us a big hint, “You will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)

The one place where we will receive the truth, and nothing but the truth is in the Bible. We must spend time getting into the Word…and letting the Word get into us.

We must also examine our thoughts.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

We’ve become a gullible people – readily accepting all the world has to say about what brings life, light, success, etc., while at the same time, slamming on the brakes when it comes to Biblical truth. We’re ready to believe the best about famous people – and the worst about God. Things like:

God doesn’t want me to have fun.

God wants me to be His slave – without a life of my own.

If I really follow God, He will probably send me to Africa or Siberia!

With these thoughts lurking deep in our minds, it’s no wonder we don’t want to get closer to the Lord!

Jesus’ response to these charges:

Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:34)

He does not lie!

There’s more to say on this topic, but this post is longer than most will read(!), so we’ll finish tomorrow.

Overcoming Obstacles to Intimacy with God begins with “C’mon In…

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6 responses

23 11 2013
dianarasmussen

This s awesome Tami. Ww, I need this. Thank you;)

23 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

Just sharing what we learned over the last eight weeks – great stuff! 🙂

\o/

22 11 2013
vonhonnauldt

Well, I read it. Good thoughts!

22 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

{giggle} Thanks!

I try to keep posts down to 750 words or so. Otherwise, I’ve discovered, they get “liked” but not read.

If no one is going to read, then why write. 😉

\o/

22 11 2013
vonhonnauldt

I can’t hardly get started in only 750 words! Maybe that’s why I don’t get so many readers. 🙂

22 11 2013
lessonsbyheart

It’s sad, but true. That’s why I’m breaking this up into small chunks. An entire week’s posts were one evening lecture. No one would read it if I made it just one post.

You can look forward to six more weeks of material like this…there are another six classes’ worth of material to share.

\o/

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