Are We Running to Jesus – Or Away From Him?

A POSSIBLE YOU
FINDING GOD’S DESTINY FOR OUR LIFE
PART 37
ARE WE RUNNING TO JESUS – OR AWAY FROM HIM?

People avoid God simply because they are afraid to be His presence. Somewhere deep down in our human psyche we realize we are spiritually naked. When the light shines into the darkness, the dark does not extinguish the light but rather runs and hides and the same is true with the spirit that has not been transformed by the love of God. This running “instinct” recognizes our submission to God’s will as a type of “raining on our parade” and is a built-in protection mechanism that is connected to our enmity toward Him. This means that our default nature hates God and anything to do with His Word, His Kingdom and His people. Our flesh is married to our free-will and together they love the freedom of doing whatever feels good. No matter how spiritually knowledgeable, the sub-conscience realizes that in order to submit to God’s standard of living, it will require the abandonment of our carnal independence. To say the least, this fleshly freedom is “precious” to the joys of our freedom and the rebellious way of living intentionally chooses to remain as the captain that makes all the decisions. To remain in control, the carnal will fights constantly to run away from God’s power that can save us from ourselves.

There are two types of people in this world; those who are running away from God and those who are running toward him (and there seems to be no in-between). Of course the lost are running away from Him because just the mention of His Name causes them to “cringe” with anxiety and guilt. Also (unfortunately), there are multitudes of the saved that have allowed their old nature to overpower their new spirit and are also living in the shame of fear and weakness. These “backsliders” have allowed their will to pull them BACK into their old habits and be enticed to become entangled in their old temptations. The Lord has a great measure of mercy toward everyone including these wayward souls and only He can know the details of how He will deal with them. Whatever the situation with individuals that tend to avoid God at all cost, we can be sure that deception always plays a huge part as it desperately attempts to “maintain” our blind arrogance which justifies the conscience with feelings of false security. Sadly, since most people have always lived exactly the way they want, we can see clearly how the un-renewed mind can become “spoiled” in its way of doing things and even Jesus cannot make them change. While speaking about living however we want, most have never quite realized that this is not an amusing game that we can take or leave but rather it is a very deep problem that may determine where we end up in eternity. I think we can be fairly sure that if we live exactly the way we want in this life that we will not be included on heavens guest list because this would be contrary to God’s idea of Jesus being our Lord. May I include, there are many that have never considered just how aggressive the human will can be when it is fighting to keep its position as chief operating officer. The throne of our heart is a very heavily guarded palace and king self is prepared to fight to the death! Selah. Many have been taught that spiritual warfare is the battle against the devil and I am not saying that He is not an opponent against God and His saints but he is not to be given the level of focus the will needs to have. Satan may roam as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but the will already has an oval office in the west wing of our conscience! The devil is on the outside looking in but the will is already on the inside and up and running “smoothly.” We must realize that the devil is an influencer and specializes in whispering secrets to the will so that the will might accept his ideas. Some believe that we cannot control our thoughts but this a philosophical view that is used as an excuse to do whatever we want. It is NOT the devil that “makes” anyone do bad things but rather they must be accepted by the will and then the will gives orders to the body to carry out the desire. For example, can the devil “make” you be discouraged and sad? No, but he can sure pound you with negative thoughts that drains your joy and can cause you to forget the truth of how much God loves you. Can Satan “make” you a nasty person that no one wants to be around? No, but he can whisper lies into your ear about how everyone is against you, how that people are just using you and taking advantage of you and really do not care about you until you begin to believe and accept it. If these deceptions are embraced it can cause anyone to become paranoid, offensive, angry, hurt and many other negative emotions that can distort who we are and change us for the worse. On the flip-side, the intention of salvation and the indwelling presence of God within our heart were to also be a steady influence within our mind and conscience. Those who become born-again are to listen to God’s voice and respond with obedience. This is a brief glimpse of the “battle” within our conscience to either follow the plans of Jesus or obey the desires of our own will.

This teaching once again is getting ready to turn more intense. It is not condemnation to our spirit but it is spiritually convicting to our will and flesh. Allow me to say, we do NOT have time to talk about religious patty-cake issues that cause us to continue in our apathy and sleepiness. Radical faith is all that we have time for in this last hour because it is where the rubber meets the road within our Christian life. Radical faith is the way Jesus walked and the message He taught! The cost of “cross bearing” has a direct impact on everything we say and do and for anyone to have anything negative to say about this lifestyle it reveals exactly how they feel about Christ Himself. We, (as ministers of HIS gospel) are not “creating” a philosophy of Christian living – we are MESSENGERS trying to relay God’s Word. No one’s flesh wants to submit their will to God, but unless we do our Christian life cannot be what God intended for it to be. If He was totally satisfied with a normal religious life, why did He so harshly condemn the Pharisees? They were absorbed with a legalistic knowledge of God instead of a personal relationship with Him which did not include submitting their will to Him. We can try to analyze how we think things should be but it has no bearing on how things really are. Selah. We will not be given partial or extra credit for coming up with our own ideas about the Lord or being an innovative thinker that pioneers our own religious path. God has a certain way that He has established and it is our obedience to His way that makes all the difference. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I (Jesus) will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mathew 7:22-23) What in the world does this mean? “That day” is referring to the judgment where everyone will stand before God and it is clear that many who spent much time doing religious works will be shocked to discover that they were tragically deceived. If we continue reading in the context of this passage, the Lord goes on to describe how crucially important it is to KNOW God. Sadly, many are convinced they are saved and become involved with many deeds and works (like the Pharisees) yet have never experienced Christ personally. If this example of deception does not cause us to tremble and be sober about our salvation then what will? People who float through life and think that we can just do the best we can and everything will be alright – do NOT understand reverential fear. The TRUE Christian life is radical faith but a meaningless, emotional, religious life accepts just enough of God’s knowledge to ease the conscience! The masses are confused; if Jesus is NOT sitting on the throne of our heart – He is NOT our Lord. If He is NOT our Lord – then what is He to us? Selah.

Radical faith separates the genuine from the pretenders! So, what exactly are we talking about? Radical faith is a result of finally surrendering our heart to God and laying our will at His feet. This abandoning of our life and embracing HIS new life, is why Jesus died and rose again. Oh I am sure that all of us would rather hear messages about all of the good things God has for us but it is only within the context of the surrendered life. Humans love the idea of getting something without having to pay for it and when they hear that Jesus was crucified so they could go to heaven they are all in. It is true, salvation is free and this is a general outline of His desire but it is not cheap, it is not only conditional to our covenant relationship with Him – it will cost us EVERYTHING! If we abide in Him and He abides in us, then our love for Him will lead us into His perfect will and transform us into His image. If our intention is to only “hitch a ride” on the shuttle to paradise without bearing our own cross, we will be disappointed. I am not trying to be negative but there are only a few that will make the determination to be a “cross bearer.” “Enter in at the straight gate: for WIDE is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and MANY there be which go there. Because straight is the gate, and NARROW is the way which leads unto life and FEW there be that finds it. (Mathew 7: 13-14) Of course we do not want to hear this continually! Who wants to surrender everything they have and all that they are? Dying to the idol of SELF is an incredibly difficult mission but the reason why we need to meditate on this is because it is the foundation of our salvation. Jesus uses a very strong paradox of what He expects (demands) for us to demonstrate in our love and devotion for Him – IF we actually want to be His disciples. If we do not desire to go all the way with Him in this journey, we will continue living in the outer court deception. Let us turn to Luke chapter fourteen.

(Verse 26) “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Many have said this is confusing because of the strong word “hate” that is being used but in the context of the meaning, we can know that is to be interpreted “loved less.” The emphasis here is that our love for Christ is to be “supreme” over every other love in our life. On the list of priorities in the Christian life we should have God at the very top, but to be honest, this level of loyalty and devotion is usually as difficult to find as water in the desert. To say the least, this is radical faith and one of the most blunt and aggressive commands that explains cross-bearing. There is much involved within these words as God is conveying the difficult message that His children are not to allow the entanglements of this world even when it involves family to interfere with God’s directions. The true disciple is to live the abundant life in the Holy Spirit with all of the fruits and attributes of God and is NOT to compromise from the stress and pull of anyone else. Many times Christians are heavily influenced by their family (along with the devil) and choose to dis-obey God in order to please everyone else. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is because God cannot truly be the LORD of anyone that does not have Him as their first love. Selah.

(Verse 27) “And whoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” This passage continues the uncomfortable series of statements that are usually avoided by the religious world. Those who are self-sufficient and use religion as a social status “false security” will have no place in their heart for a commitment like this. Again, we see there is not any compromising or “deal making” with anyone that tries to avoid surrendering their will by using excuses. This is cut and dried and difficult to face, but it also perfectly explains what God is expecting. I believe Christ needed to present this message in this way or man’s philosophic reason would dissect and analyze these words until they had no meaning at all. It all comes down to just how much we actually believe God’s Word and of course how determined we are to obey Him. The huge question still remains as to just what bearing our cross really means and the details could be quite lengthy. To condense the spectrum into a compact thought, we could say that basically it is laying our will down at His feet and loving Him with ALL of our heart, mind and strength. This may seem simple but I can assure you it is a TALL order. Allow me to ask you today; have you decided that this is how you are going to live the rest of your days?

(Verse 28) “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see whether he has enough resources to finish it? “Sacrifice” is one of the most commonly used words in the terminology of Christianity. The remaining verses of chapter 14, is devoted to “driving home” the need of serious consideration along with an honest personal examination of the “big picture” of our life. Our free-will is center stage and along with the privilege to choose our own path, also is attached the responsibility and of course the ultimate consequences. It is evident that we cannot live a double life even though we have been taught this way. The Christian life must become our only life and everything we do and have is to be directly connected to our mission. When Jesus said in verse 33, “So likewise, whosoever that does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple”, He was not making a suggestion but rather trying to convey the demand of being “possessed” by Him. Only those who love Him above ALL things in life will RUN TO HIM and gladly lay down their life for Him. Amen.

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