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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

old news but still Good News

The Lord has been teaching me things!  Or I could say He has been clearing up my mind.  I've been suspicious that the Christian life--my life--should look very different than it does.  The lives of those who love God who are in His Scripture are depicted so differently.
As I have been reading (not recently) The Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford, it became my suspicion that the Christian life (the eternal life) begins (after salvation) by changing the mind to what the Lord wills.  Then after the mind is changed the life is changed.  For example, "fixing your eyes on Jesus, setting your mind on things above, have this mind in you...."
The other day I read in Ephesians about "don't walk as the Gentiles walk" and I realized this was the Bible addressing my very concern.  And it goes on to say don't walk as they do "in the futility of their mind, in their ignorance, and with their hard hearts."  Gentiles are walking according to their physical senses or even their gut responses or instincts but Christians walk according to faith.  My faith may be ignorant if all I know is that I'm going to heaven and then I won't know how to live before that.  That was my problem and now I have been trying to learn about what is true about this abundant life Christ has given me.  It's not enough that His life is true after I die, I want to see how it is true while I am here for this short time.  So I need to walk with an eternal mindset which isn't natural but I rely on faith and facts in God's Word.  And I need to keep learning or I won't grow.  Finally, I need to keep a soft heart which isn't pride.
Then in church on Sunday, the Lord addressed my heart again about the issue of struggling in the world. 
I had felt like America is just so difficult as a Christian because it's so materialistic, wealthy, and easy.  What shall we be thankful for--ease and wealth?  No, because those things don't bring us closer to the Lord.  Blessings are what we should be thankful for and those are things that are eternal.  They are things that Christ was living for.  All over in the New Testament, it is clear and obvious that TRIBULATIONS, TRIALS, and suffering are what we should expect and be thankful for.  They unite us with the way Christ lived.  But am I supposed to move to another country so it's easier for me to be a Christian?  At this point, I am convinced I am to live in America where I am and be a set apart believer here. 

Now it gets kind of hard to tie everything together, so I'll make it more bullet-pointly.

Lies easy for me to believe and live if I am not reading and trusting the Bible:
  • the meaning of life is that things are easy
  • Jesus who is God didn't really and truly suffer everything
  • Scripture doesn't really show us exactly how to live
  • I haven't sinned enough to explain the world's or other Christians' present anguish
  • Sin is small and so is the weight of the Garden
-Paul is content in every circumstance, which means even the wealthy and comfortable circumstances.  I just need to repent of trusting in the ease rather than finding my identity with Christ.  And how do I know if I am trusting in comfort or trusting in Christ?  When the smallest of upsets occur how do I act--with a proud heart or anger which is evidence of a futile mind or with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control which are evidence of an eternal mindset? 
-I need to take responsibility for the suffering in the world if I am conceited, wicked, self-entitled, or proud.  
There hasn't been ANY suffering that I have PRAISED GOD FOR.  But those who walk with an eternal mindset praise God for their trials.  For example, Corrie and Betsy Ten-boom who learned to thank God for fleas in concentration camps that hosted them.  They didn't know why they should thank God for fleas but did and found out later that the Gospel was spread because the soldiers didn't want to come into the fleas' quarters.  
-God uses ALL CIRCUMSTANCES to bless us (to make us more like Jesus/comform us to the image of His Son).  If this is the true meaning of life, it is going to be hard.
-I repent of the wealth, ease, and comfort and take up Christ's identity as my own so that when things crumble as I see it, others will see the fruit of the Spirit instead of the evidence of a futile mind.

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