Hello Everyone! I am working on something this week that has taken precedence over me finishing Martha and Mary, so I will be wrapping that series up next week. Sorry for the delay. Instead, I am posting something I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy.
You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life. John 5:39-40
Do you want to be a better person? Yeah, me too. Here’s the deal: studying the Bible will get you nowhere**. The issue isn’t doing the right things and not doing the wrong things. If that’s all you want to change, then study away, but know that you will translate the text through your own filter and your “right and wrong” could be totally different from someone else’s. Also, that can only take care of your outward actions. The curse from the fall has penetrated our every cell and then has gone even deeper than that and penetrated our very soul. And no amount of studying will change that.
There has only ever been and only ever will be one truly better Person. A Person who lived a perfect life, and then took the full weight of the curse upon Himself and destroyed it. And you can actually have a place in that Person. Wanna know how?
…deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Me…(Luke 9:23)
The Greek word for “deny” is better translated “disown”. First, disown yourself. No longer have ownership of yourself. You are no longer calling the shots as owner. Then, take up your cross. Why in the world would you need a cross? There is only one reason: Crucifixion. Death. And this is done daily.
Now, follow Him. Where? Straight into death, through death, and out of death into Resurrection Life. Follow Him into ascension and be seated with Him in the heavenlies.
I should warn you though that you don’t actually come out of death. Through death you come into Jesus Christ. You come into Resurrection Life, the Person.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…(Galations 2:20)
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God…(Colossians 3:3)
And once you are in Jesus Christ, actually inside of Him, (I know, my mind doesn’t fully grasp it either) you are where ever He is. Which means you are now ascended above all things and seated in the Heavenlies. It means that you are there right now.
So…stop trying to be better. Even if you became the best possible version of yourself, you would still fall horribly short of the truly better Person. And Jesus Christ is the ONLY one who measures up to God’s standards. Instead, surrender to the reality of your death, and embrace the glorious gift of now living in Eternal Life Himself.
But it gets even better. Not only are you now placed in Jesus Christ, but He is also placed in you. His very Spirit, the Holy Spirit, comes to live inside of you.
Think of a bucket in the ocean. You can say that the bucket is in the ocean, but you can also say that the ocean is in the bucket, right? Likewise, Jesus Christ has completely encompassed us. We are in Him and He is in us.
If I read someone’s autobiography would I know that person? No. I would know about that person. When we are told lots about someone, and then we finally meet them, we say, “I feel like I know you already.” We know that we don’t actually know the person yet. Even if we speak with someone on the phone many times, when we meet them in person we say, “I’m so glad to finally know you in real life.” We are deeply aware that being in the presence of someone makes a huge difference in knowing them. We are deeply aware that we can’t truly know someone without being present with them.
But yet, how often are we told we can know Christ just by reading a book and doing what it says.
We can know Christ because we are actually present with Him and He is present with us. We are present with each other in the most intimate of ways. We are inside Him and He is inside us. The scriptures are there to remind us of this vital fact. The scriptures are there to turn us back to Him who is always there.
The Bible is NOT a how-to manual for your life. It frustrates me to no end that our eyes have been taken off of Jesus Christ and put on a book.
Question: how did the 1st century church “become better people” when they DIDN’T HAVE THE BIBLE??? And even if they would have had one, something like 95% of the population was illiterate. They couldn’t have read it anyway. Oh, that’s right, they would have had a pastor that could read and would tell them what to do. UGH.
Answer: they didn’t live by a manual, or a pastor, they LIVED BY JESUS CHRIST. The Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of Jesus Christ, dwelt within them. They didn’t get to know a book, they got to know a Person. And they didn’t have to wait till they got to heaven to do it.
And just like way back then, this Person is fully alive, and living inside of us, RIGHT NOW.
So, you want to be a better person? Then *die, and get to know the One who lives inside of you. And He will do the work of living His life through you.
*I don’t mean physically die. Yes, we all will one day, but what I am referring to is giving up your will, your desires, your emotions, your soul life.
**I am not saying that it’s not ok to study the Bible. I am saying that if you have believed into Jesus Christ, there is a person living inside of you that wants to be known, and can be known through the spirit. Memorizing ‘facts’ out of the Bible or following it’s thou shalts and thou shalt nots cannot do that. Check out this post for more on this.