Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Lies Religious Tradition Taught Us: Your Worst Life Now!

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.                 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV 

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 an ongoing study examining the lies religious tradition has taught us. Concepts taught in such a way that it almost seems blasphemous to dare and question it. Ideas spoke of for so long they've become strongholds in the minds of so many. 

 In this study, we've exposed the lies that God is the author of sickness and disease. That He is the sender of disaster and storms. The One causing evil to come about so that good may come. That poverty and lack are His best for you. That the Spirit of God and Faith in God are powerless today to change things. We even saw the truth of spiritual warfare.

 In our last study, we allayed the lie that God is a mean and angry tyrant. Today, I felt impressed to share the Good News of God's Goodness in our daily life. The Goodness of God for the life that now is. Religion has lied to us. They've told us there is no promise for the life that now is. 

 That all we can look forward to in this life is despair, desolation, dismalness, and finally death. There is no promise of triumphant victory in this life. All you can have is suffering and more suffering and then some more until your final breath leaves your body. 

 Pastor Joel Osteen wrote an amazing book that simply shared how to have victory in this life. He titled it your best life now. Traditional religious-minded Christians went into a frenzy because of this book. They maligned Lakewood Church and Joel for years afterward. Yet, Joel and Lakewood's influence and favor have increased more and more. So many lives have been impacted because of this ministry, and it keeps increasing and expanding.

 With the publication of this book, religion has worked overtime to preach with fervor, something I feel impressed to call your worst life now. Joel gave seven points of receiving our best life now. I've found seven words that sum up the traditional religious outlook of life. Despair, desolation, dismalness, distress, dejection, despondency, and dispiritedness. 

 Religion longs for the return of Jesus to rescue them from this terrible existence. Or they look forward to death so they can be free from this miserable life. So let's look briefly at the seven points Joel made.

  • Enlarge your vision; to enlarge your vision simply means to believe God can do great things in your life. Small, limited thinking will cause people to believe that there is nothing more for them in this life. If you never look to increase your skills, knowledge, and experience you never grow but stagnate. Dream bigger. Think bigger. Believe bigger.
  • Develop a healthy self-image; a healthy self-image is not an ego-driven prideful outlook. An unhealthy self-image is why some struggle with depression, eating disorders and some sadly even take their own life. We should have a healthy self-image, we are born of God and made Righteous New Creations in Him.
  • Understand the power of our thoughts and words; wrong thinking and wrong speaking is clearly a detriment in living a victorious life. Jesus spoke of the power of our words. Throughout Scripture, we are encouraged to think good thoughts and speak the right words. 
  • Let go of the past; not letting things go, holding onto grudges and harboring unforgiveness for past transgressions only disrupts our life and hinders our growth in maturity.
  • Finding strength through adversity; we know God is not, will not and never will ordain destruction or pain and suffering. Yet in this fallen world we may experience hard times. It's what we do in the hard places where strength develops. The adversity in and of itself doesn't bring strength it's what we do with God's Word and Spirit within that brings strength.
  • Live to give; being a blessing and going out of our way to help others is living life in light of the Savior. We are blessed already because of Him and when we know we are blessed and favored we can with that supply share it with others. Bringing encouragement to others, being there for loved ones, supporting kingdom ministry work is living the abundant life because it's not just about us. It's no longer living for ourselves only.
  • Choose to be happy; We can choose to be angry, bitter or downcast. Or we can realize the greater One lives within. He is greater than anything we face. We can have joy no matter what. 

 We see these points of living our best life now. Not so extreme are they? What does God say about this life?
For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 1 Timothy 4:8-9 NKJV

Seeing these points I wonder what is wrong with living this life in this manner? Traditional religion, you don't want believers to think big? You want them to have limits? You sure don't have this sentiment when taking up offerings for building programs, outreaches, and missions. 

 It seems religion wants believers to have a low self-image. They preach how unworthy we are. How much of a sinner we are. How we fail to measure up. 

 Traditional religion has never believed in the power of our words. They disagree with what God said about their situation. They believe adversity in and of itself is what strengthens you. If this is so why aren't the war-torn, famine ravaged nations filled with spiritual giants? Mostly, we find these lands are populated with those who worship many gods and follow false religions. 

 Some would say what about the believers in those lands? If God wants our best life now, why are these believers suffering misery and death? The answer is this, in a fallen world, evil leadership abounds. What the solution is for believers to know their authority and pray for their lands, and perhaps find deliverance by getting out of those lands if possible. What other believers need to do is live to give. We give, being a blessing sending relief and aid to those hurting in these lands. 

 Traditional religion is not invested in your happiness. They say God is not interested in your happiness. He is only interested in your character development. Yet Jesus' first miracle was to satisfy the physical desire of attendees of a wedding feast. God tells us in the Psalms, that happy is the people whose God is the Lord. Wherever Jesus went He brought rejoicing and celebration and joy at the manifested Goodness and love of God. 

 Is there promise for the life that now is? Is the Christian experience only designed for struggle, setbacks, and suffering? Or is it rather, in this fallen world, with all its tribulations, we can still find joy and experience overcoming victory because He is with us? That no matter what comes we can have victory and peace? Could it be His favor and love and goodness can overtake us and bring us to places of victory and overcoming adversity? The answer is yes and amen in Him!

 In summation, don't accept the lies of the enemy. He is the greater One, and the greater One lives within us. He has given us promise for this life as well as the one to come. He has purchased our complete redemption. We can walk in victory, with our head held high no matter what because He holds our life in His hands and He is always good!

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