Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Good News vs. Fake News: A Christian can be Disconnected from God

15 Now let me remind you, brothers, of what the Gospel really is, for it has not changed—it is the same Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is squarely built upon this wonderful message; 1 Corinthians 15:1 TLB

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do. Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've been in a series highlighting the differences between truth and tradition. When distinguishing truth from tradition understand we aren't against people. We aren't attacking other churches, denominations or ministers. We are simply examining the teachings, the theological perspectives some hold to in light of the Word and the New Covenant. People are not our enemy. In Christ, we are all brethren.
 All sincerely born-again Christians belong to the family of God.

 Today, I sensed the leading to examine an idea that seems to be prevalent in the Body of Christ. I'd like to ask you a question, to begin with. Have you ever sat in a Christian assembly and after listening to the worship and sermon came to the conclusion that as a believer it must be possible to be separated, divided, even disconnected from God? What do I mean exactly? Look at some of the lyrics of some popular Christian hymns and worship songs.

 "Draw me close to you, never let me go."
"Open up the doors to Heaven and let us enter in."
"Savior, while on others thou art calling, do not pass me by."
"Come by here my Lord, come by here."
"I just want to be where you are."
"I just want to be near your heart."

 Let me first say this. Music is an artistic expression. It is a beautiful gift God gave mankind. Perhaps many of these songs sung are just an extension of the artist's expression during times when their emotional state sensed a separation or divide. So we aren't attacking the artists. The problem is too often we take these hymns and songs as truth and build a theology around them. 

 There exists in the Body of Christ today an idea, a concept, a theology, if you will, that connotes the idea that a believer at times is somehow apart from God. That they are far from the Father's heart. That they need the Spirit of God to usher them back to God's presence. That our sins, our poor performance, our lack of spiritual fervor removes us from our Father's fellowship, communion, and presence.

 In many Christian circles, it seems the presence of God is like some magic trick. Now you see it, now you don't. That God is so temperamental, so easily offended, so quick to depart if we don't have our program just right. This stems from the traditional concept that God merely tolerates us and is often displeased and disappointed in us and our lack of faith, commitment, and passion.

 Because of this, we must work hard to ensure we create an atmosphere for God to be "comfortable" in. We strive to create the perfect mood. In our meetings, we turn down the lights. We demand children sit still. We demand certain songs be sung. We pray or rather beg for a half an hour or so before a service begins for God to show up. What are we doing? We are hoping God finds us pleasing enough and the atmosphere conducive enough for Him to come and visit us. 

 What are we doing Church? We are reinforcing a concept and idea that God doesn't want anything to do with us until we satisfy His impossibly strict standards or He won't be in our midst. We are creating the concept that if our own spiritual life is in disarray or out of order in any way He won't want to be with us, that He will be far from us. 

 These concepts have become a prevalent stronghold in the minds of so many in the Body of Christ. This is why we see so many fasting, abstaining from food and foregoing natural pleasures such as watching movies, listening to music or engaging in a hobby. They aren't taking time to fellowship with God and celebrate the intimacy He already made possible. Instead, they are striving and performing in order to be found worthy of God's presence to visit them. In their mind, we can only visit His presence. It is not something we abide in. 

Is a Believer ever disconnected or separated from God?

 The truth is so much better than this tradition. The good news is you are His beloved child with whom He is well pleased. The truth is you are not far from Him. You don't need to be "taken into the Father's heart." In Christ, you are already in the Father's heart. You're engraved in the palm of His hands. He loves you with an everlasting unquenchable love. He isn't looking for ways to disqualify you from His presence. Your Father rejoices over you with joy. Because of Jesus, He is in you and is with you always.

 We need to uproot this stronghold from our thinking. Allow the washing of the water of the Word to renew your thinking in this area.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation Ephesians 2:13-14 NKJV
It is clear, we are never separated from God. He already tore down that wall of separation and we are drawn near by the Blood. Has the Blood lost its power? Then know we are always near. This passage in full context outlines how the fulfillment of Law and ushering in of the New Covenant made us one with God, see here.
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God Colossians 3:3 NKJV
 If our life is hidden in Christ, how can we ever be separated or apart or divided from God? Only religious tradition can disregard the Word and believe such nonsense.
 Tradition will shout what about when we sin? That's for sure when He leaves us. Is it? If you believe this let me introduce you to Grace.
...And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b NLT
He is with us always. Not just when we obey, or live sin free. He is ever with us and we with Him. We are never divided, or separated from God. 
  In summation, I want you to know and understand God is for you and you're never apart from Him. Once I was listening to a worship album, it had a catchy tune and passionate singers. They kept pleading bring us into the Father's heart. Suddenly, the Lord spoke up within my heart. "You're already in my heart. You don't need to be drawn into my heart." Relinquish tradition rooted lyrics and teachings that leave you thinking you are apart from God and must strive to get back into His presence. You're His beloved and He is pleased. Celebrate His presence, and rejoice in the intimacy all Christians have with their Father. You are never abandoned, alone or apart from Him. You are in Christ and He is with you always no matter what.
image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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