Being Challenged to Change

While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.  Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”  Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

  • Matthew 12:46-50

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

  • John 13:34-36

“Where does my belief about God and His power come from?

“I would like to say it comes from the Bible.  As a matter of fact I can say without a doubt that it comes from the Bible.  The issue isn’t where the beliefs come from but rather how they are tainted by my human perceptions.  I think one of the most difficult concepts to grasp as a follower of Christ is that we are to get to know God rather than understand Him.  God has become a focus of academia rather than relationship.  We apply human standards, limitations, and the boundaries of time as we set out in search of who God is.  The Bible provides many descriptions, many stories, many culturally specific guidelines all of which can be used to create an understanding of God’s nature but none of which were designed to place limits on God’s power.”

  • J. Dave Peever, Live 4 Him, Holy S*****!  I Am Being Challenged to Change! – click the link to read the original article

Usually when I add an extra post in the morning, it is off-beat, a change of pace.  Maybe this post is, but a friend from our neighbors to the north, Canada, wrote a good sermon yesterday that got me thinking.  It couldn’t wait. And that sentence on human standards, limitations, and the boundaries of time will have to wait. That sentence gets my scientific brain going at … (If you’re a trekkie, it would be warp speed. If you liked Spaceballs, it would be ludicrous speed.) That could become several posts, but later.

I will have to admit, when I read his article yesterday, I saw words in the quoted paragraph that I had tried to say, but it never came out that way.  I think it was because my beliefs were tainted by human perceptions, as Dave says in the quote.

And before we go further, notice that the Holy S***** has five asterisks, meaning Holy Spirit.  Sometimes, when we want to be near God, but not terribly close to God, we see those who are closer and blame it on that bad word, the Holy S*****.  But it’s the Holy Spirit that moves within us to affect change in our lives.  We are each being challenged to change, and most folks have a lot of inertia.

For those who do not believe, they are being challenged to accept Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to enter and work within them.  For those who do believe, they are challenged to go deeper, learn more, pray more, study more.

But that’s where the rub in the quote appears.  Too many people do, as I have suggested many times before, to read the Bible, over and over.  But if there are human perceptions that taint what we understand, we learn more intellectual stuff.  Our brain becomes stuffed with more intellectual stuff, a more academic concept of God rather than knowing God and having a relationship with Him.  Jesus wants to be our brother, not our college professor or worse, the guy who lived 2000 years ago that we need to do a research paper on.

When my wife and I were courting, we talked.  If there was ever a couple who was a pair of polar opposites in experience, it would be us.  When she and I met, she had lived in three different time zones in the US, but not born in the US.  I had lived in one, Mississippi, and then had barely arrived a couple of months before in east Texas.  I had lived in two states in the US.  She had lived on three continents.  There were religious differences, cultural differences, language differences (but thank the Lord, she knew English), and that doesn’t even get to the differences in appearance (not considering the boy-girl differences).  Oh, we both had dark hair, but, even then, mine is coarse and hers is fine.

Why do I bring that up?  Her stories were exotic and mine were plain, but those were just intellectual facts.  They caused me to yearn for more stories, but that’s all they were, stories, facts, the past.

We got to know each other’s likes and dislikes.  We got to learn each other’s passions and turn offs.  We got to learn each other’s dreams and nightmares, each other’s desires for the future.  We learned what mattered in each other’s lives.  Regardless of our past and all the other differences, when we looked at what mattered, we were more like family.

Years before I met the woman who would be my wife, I purchased a vinyl record of Stan Musial teaching you how to hit a baseball, with cereal box tops.  It came with a picture book, including a series of photos of his swing.  I placed the book against a full-length mirror and memorized the mechanics.  Did all that effort help?  Sure, I looked great in the batter’s box while I struck out.

I learned the mechanics, but I did not develop the deeper parts of my heart to get the drive and devotion to the game in which to be more like Stan the Man.  I only looked like a mirror image of him in the batter’s box.  Mirror image in that Stan Musial was a lefty and I batted right-handed.

Maybe Dave Peever explained it better, but to understand God more, we must desire to change, to become more like Jesus.  God doesn’t do that without our permission.  I should know; I have, on occasion, drawn a line in the sand and said, “God, I don’t want to go any further.”  No, I never said that.  I would never think that, but my heart wasn’t excited about the next step along the path either.  The road is not that hard, unless we make it hard for ourselves.  I made it past many rough spots, and the timing of those couldn’t have been worse – in some cases showing my children the wrong way to love each other.

But now, all I want is to be more like Jesus.  I cannot change the past, the wasted years, but the thing is that the Holy Spirit was challenging me to change for 50 years, more than that since He was working on me before I was saved.  The slowness in which I changed, and at times the rate that I’m still changing, was deeply rooted in the tainted beliefs based on lousy human perceptions, some taught to me, some part of the environment, and some that my ‘pea brain’ came up with all on its own.

As soon as the Holy Spirit enters your heart when you accept Jesus as your Savior, he challenges you to change.  Life is easier when you don’t fight against the challenge, but we each must learn the two truths in the Scriptures above.  As followers, Jesus is our brother.  And Jesus commands us to love one another, the easy ones to love and those that require more work, but then, that’s why we need to change.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

3 Comments

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  1. Jesus ‘ call to love is more challenging than ever in our age

    Liked by 1 person

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