Drummer Buddy Miles sang, back in the day of Jimi and the Band of Gypsies,
"Well my mind keeps goin' through them changes, I think I'm goin' outta my mind"
and lately, (over the past year), such has been so of my own life. More on that later . . .
I believe that every saint, (redeemed believer in Jesus), needs to experience continued growth into always walking in the mind of Christ, seeing spiritual changes into maturity, and also having a steady seeking of renewal of the one's mind by faith, fellowship, and obedience to the Living Word of God as the Spirit reveals Him, (Jesus), to the individual and within the corporate Body of Christ.
Long sentence, I know.
It is not normal for a Christian to "stay the same" day to day or year to year -- something is wrong, stagnation exists. Even John the Baptist got it, saying "He must increase and I must decrease." Paul spoke of a rooting, a building, a renewal, a reckoning, and a putting off -- fight the fight, run the race -- and all that. What race are we running? What fight are we fighting? Jesus said we were to lay down our lives, to daily take up our personal yet God-designed cross, and he also spoke of us being active about losing our own life. Hunh?
These phrases are circulated via writings, street corner shouts, and pitched from pulpits -- but few Christians neither actually understand the lingo nor is a continued reality in their lives. Most of us struggle with just getting through the daily grind of life with work, bills, relationships, and getting a grip on our own busied psyches. So how do we even begin to "take up our cross"?
We must have a revelation from the Lord of these things. His Spirit must first call us to the path and point the way. He will create in us a hunger for more, for something beyond the pale norm of life. He will even cause us to see another land, a Canaan, a place we are called to find. It's on this journey we accept by following after Jesus that "dem changes" will happen to us. We don't simply decide one day to "get right", to "rededicate our life", and "turn over a new leaf" for God. That is our old Nature, our pride, our religious inner man rising up to chase after a God of our own mind, springing usually from a legalistic, rules-driven understanding of being a "good Christian". Any of us honest with ourselves, having tried to do this many times, know or should know by now -- that we cannot succeed in this manner. There is nothing in our souls or of our own grit and resolve that the Lord accepts. This was the problem with Cain's sacrifice and God rejected it.
We all must begin by faith in Jesus. We are then to walk, (live), by the imparted faith and resurrection life of Jesus, residing within us. This too is how we "die to ourselves" and how we "decrease" and how He can increase. And by this same simple faith and belief in the Lord Jesus, we will one day see Him, face to face. The glory of God within us will pour forth and we will then know Him as He is -- the Ancient of Days, the Alpha and Omega, the Lord of Glory. What wee glimpse of this glory is revealed to us day by day, changes us, calls us deeper into Him and His will for us. We then partner with the Lord, seeking His righteousness and His kingdom. Our obedience to His Spirit changes us. We mature. We begin to understand and realize that we are given the mind of Christ as we humble ourselves as He did when He walked among us as the Son of Man.
All that being said, I will address my own life since Summer of 09 up to this Summer of 2010.
I got really bogged down with reading everything I could on how the "finalized" or I should say "agreed upon version" of the New Testament came into being. I have to say, I had to stop after months of study. This is a fascinating topic for the intellect to feast upon but for one's spiritual nourishment -- such study is huge desert of wanderings. The endless dissecting of ancient copies of ancient texts, mosaics of textural criticism, revisiting 1st-century early religious squabbles and so on -- all serve to enlighten. But of what? It is a dusty trail full of unknowns, maybe, could be, and inevitably faithful and faithless men struggling with reality versus religion. What Jesus did and said "in the flesh", what the Spirit of God did and said via early followers of Jesus -- we by faith believe that some of these many happenings were faithfully recorded in early texts. It is believed that people of faith recorded these events and sayings for other people of faith and/or seekers of truth, passing documents around to faith communities to be read at gatherings. In time these documents were copied so that many communities of faith and more people could share more widely the valued stories of Jesus and his followers. As more copies of letters to faith communities, documents about Jesus' life and words floated around -- there began a collecting together of these copies into groupings of favorite writings. When certain men decided to use these documents for their own purposes -- changes crept into these copies, alterations and additions were made, and disputed writings of new ideas or odd variants of religious ideas were being added into the collections. It is believed by some that an unknown, early accepted grouping or canon of writings was already in circulation in the 1st-century gatherings of Jesus followers. When the variant collections became known to exist; many texts included revealed odd ideas about Jesus and God that contradicted earlier and widely held beliefs -- the reality of heresies and blatant lies being taught was then a certain issue to be dealt with. Some other views hold that the first canons or collections of the 1st-century writings were created by men with their own agenda. Reaction to these men and their agenda was perceived as a threat to earlier revealed truths -- and so only then did the decision to compile an accepted canon or "finalized" collection of writings become an issue.
The battle of these men of faith and their agendas, these groups of early believers and these heretics, (so-called), and between these religious systems was no small thing concerning what writings were accepted and which were not. Even up to this day, the bible the Catholic system uses does not match the Protestant one. The Jehovah Witness bible has been altered to fit their beliefs and The Mormons have extra-biblical sacred texts. You will hear some popular textural critic scholars, (so-called), argue that the Christianity we have today and its bible is simply the group that "won" the canon and doctrinal wars of long ago. There so much more I could say here of what I have come to see about religious systems, the idea of the canon being closed, and doctrines of men being seen as things of God Himself -- but now is not the place.
This dry place of research had left me "emptied" and "tired of spirit" -- I ceased with several books I own sitting unread for now. I couldn't possibly take anymore of the endless info-dump. It makes me so glad to realize that the Spirit of God Himself speaks to each of us that follow after Him, revealing the Living Word of God within us. Jesus Himself dwelling within us is our doctrine, our Truth, our canon, our bible -- a life burning within us reveals Truth. Mere texts alone are not our foundation of faith! Our minds and its citadel of ideas are not God! We need to get a hold on this! God the Spirit sovereignly leads and guides us into all Truth. When we read certain bible texts and the Spirit supernaturally reveals the living reality of Himself as we read -- it is this internal "amen" and light of the eternal God shining within us that is the Word of God alive. It has been revealed to missionaries at times, that certain un-"churched", uneducated and simple believers know more of the person of God and His eternal Living Word than the missionary could ever teach them. The missionary might only share of Jesus from his or her own faith-knowledge of Christ but then the Spirit of God used the uneducated, non-doctrinated simple believer to teach the missionary things they hadn't seen! How can these things be? God, is simply able to do things men cannot accept as possible. He is God.
So, having taken an extended break from studying the history of the canon process, I then was opened up to the fact that God cannot be approached and pleased by our intellect. He doesn't allow us to understand Him with our earthly, carnal ways of wisdom. Our brains are to be submissive to His Spirit. We don't set up constraints, logical paradigms, and conditional reality hoops and mazes for God to so execute the revealing of Himself to us. He is all about our hearts being humbled, our brains kneeling before His wisdom, and our spirit being indwelt by His Spirit of Truth. It is thus that we then have the Mind of Christ. It is then that God progressively reveals Himself to us. A greater Mind, a vastly more holy Heart seeks to have men hold Him as their absolute Guide.
I will write more on this subject later, even though; I have been meditating on these truths for nearly a year. I am just not ready to write it out. God is still revealing things . . .
So, that's about it for now.
Oh, yes, my wife and I finally have left organized religion and all its systems of doing faith. Like many others we wait for the Lord to join us to others on a similar journey in His own time. Like Abraham and Sarah, we have gone out to follow Him, seeking a Canaan . . .
God bless you my brother and sister.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Drummer Buddy Miles sang, back in the day of Jimi and the Band of Gypsies,