Tag: holy

The Way Pt. 1

The Way Pt. 1

I often write notes in my phone using an app called Inkpad Notepad. I’ve been using it since 2015 and have access to all of the notes I’ve ever written.

I like being able to go back, see what I was thinking, and compare it to the way I think today.

One habit I’ve had in my time of writing notes is writing what YAH (God) says in parenthesis. Oftentimes, I’ll find myself ranting, complaining, and crying out in such dramatic emotion. Then, I’ll hear YAH insert Himself absolutely on cue. My thoughts are suddenly interrupted, YAH speaks, and I must stop and adjust my perspective. I don’t adjust my perspective out of fear, frustration,  or indifference, but the reality of Truth.

This is a picture of life.

When we walk with YAH, we ought always be ready to have our ideas interrupted and to forfeit them. “Make me walk in the path of Your commands, for I have delighted in it (Tehillim (Psalms) 119:35 TS2009).”

As we are going, we’re taking on new ideas embedded in our experiences and interpretations thereof. We often become hardened or set in a particular way. Life with YAH was never meant to be that way. It was never meant to be, “let’s build a house that we never leave.” Instead, I would liken it to setting up camp and moving as He goes.

Truth doesn’t change, but Personified Truth is always moving. We must be prepared to follow Him even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if it goes against all our former ideologies, we must lay them down and adjust our direction. He can be trusted to guide us. “and your ears hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the Way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right, or whenever you turn to the left (Yeshayah (Isaiah) 30:21 TS2009).”

In many of the Prophets and other portions of the Bible, we find them using the word “righteous” or “righteousness.” “Be glad in יהוה and exult, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart! Tehillim (Psalms) 32:11 TS2009.

In modern society, this is often translated as “right acts” or “right-standing with YAH.” These two interpretations have relation to the word/idea, but fall short in representing it solely and properly.

The word “righteous” refers to “walking in the path.” True righteousness is a picture of you  constantly walking with Him. If we remain still, we’ll get stuck in religion (comfort). Then we’ll bring in idols to replace YAH. Our works can quickly become our idols. Our positions, our ideas, our jobs, relationships, etc.

In contrast to righteousness, “wickedness” in the ancient Hebrew refers to “walking off the path.”

“Those who leave the paths of straightness to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil; they delight in the perversities of evil; whose paths are crooked, And they are perverted in their ways” (Mishlĕ (Proverbs) 2:13‭-‬15 TS2009).

Wickedness in His eyes is to not be connected to Him. It is a choosing to walk in your own path (idolatry, sin). This is death. “A man who strays from the way of understanding, rests in the assembly of the dead” Mishlĕ (Proverbs) 21:16 TS2009).

Wickedness is saying you don’t need to be guided by Him because you are/know enough to guide yourself.

It is you finding your own way of righteousness instead of accessing the Father through The Way (Messiah).

“יהושע said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Yoḥanan (John) 14:6 TS2009)

 

 

 

 

In the World, But Not of It: Reverence Over Relevance

In the World, But Not of It: Reverence Over Relevance

Disclaimer: This is for the Christians. It is not to be used as ammunition toward any specific Christian, church, or denomination; nor has it been written motivated by the actions of any specific person, church, or denomination.

Instead, I’m writing because of something I’ve periodically observed in myself. I believe it’s something many Christians might observe in themselves if they’d search; this desire to be relevant. This is not specific to Christians, but that’s what we’ll deal with today.

Relevance in and of itself is not evil; but the desire for it must be qualified. Why do we want to be relevant? What does relevance look like in the life of the believer? Does it mean I can’t be fun anymore? How do I serve God without being out of touch with “reality?” To whom do we want to be relevant?

These are all important questions and our answers to them reveal something about the posture of our heart toward God and the things of God. So, let’s dive in.

First, I want to deal with two different perspectives we may observe in the Church (the Body of Christ, followers of Christ) concerning relevance. People often swing to one extreme of the spectrum or the other.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “in the world, but not of it?” Yes? Well, this is an understanding of several verses in the Bible; though it is not a verse itself. Basically, it means even though we exist in this world, we are not of the same nature of the world. There is a culture and citizenship we possess that supersedes that which we experience here. We (children of God) are of a different world which is unseen. Below are some of the verses which compile this theological idea of ‘in the world, but not of it.’

John 15: 19
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

1 John 2:15
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Mark 4:19
“…and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

The First Extreme

Some interpret these verses to mean we can’t do anything that appears even remotely secular‘– which means ‘worldly.’ For example, some believe we can’t have any sort of relationship with those who aren’t believers–not even any association. Granted, a believer must be wise and discerning when pursuing intimate relationships with unbelievers.

However, there is a difference between being separate and being separate. What? The kind of separation required of believers is one that distinguishes. It is not to isolate or quarantine our faith but to live separate to GOD. Being separate to GOD means we seek to become what GOD desires for us to become.

This was a common issue the Messiah encountered while He walked this Earth. He was constantly brought under scrutiny for spending time with sinners and the ‘unclean’ of society. This didn’t line up with the idea the religious leaders of that time had about being separated or holy.

In one account, the Messiah is eating dinner with tax collectors (oftentimes manipulative con men) and other sinners. One of the ruling religious groups in Israel at the time, the Pharisees, reasoned among themselves and concluded that He was unclean because of this.

You can find some accounts of this encounter here: Matthew 9:10-17, Mark 2:13-17, and Luke 5:27-31.

Believers, we do ourselves and the world a disservice by segregating (isolating) ourselves and the truth we know. Be careful not to build and sustain cozy environments that only welcome those who agree with you (even specifically those of the same faith as you). In response to His being questioned about His interaction with sinners, the Messiah responded, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance (Luke 5:31-31).”

This inclination to isolate in comfortability without challenge hardens the heart of the believer and allows religion to calcify our minds. This causes us to lose sight of the call of EVERY believer–that is reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:11-21). We are called to reconcile people to GOD. This cannot be done if we’re walled up physically or spiritually within four walls of a quaint church that make us feel comfortable, secure, and unchallenged.

There are people who are falling away daily and many more who have not heard the truth and love expressed in the Gospel of the kingdom of GOD. If we’re honest, in our hearts, there is often fostered this culture of ‘staying’ — of finding a safe, comfortable place and resting there; comfortable in our religion. Our call was never to stay, but to ‘go.’ (Matthew 28:18-20) That doesn’t mean everyone is going to live the life of a traveling missionary or what have you. It does mean that we have to come outside of ourselves to reach the lost and those who have fallen away wherever we find ourselves.

The Second Extreme

The other extreme of the spectrum typically involves this need to prove likeness. “I’m just like you.” “We’re the same!” “I like that kind of music too.” Have you ever met a believer who is always trying to convince people to follow Christ or accept them by proving believers aren’t that different from everyone else? Better yet, have you ever been that believer? I know I have.

It didn’t happen overnight though. I’ve always been very vocal about my faith and the importance thereof. However, over the years, I saw a gradual change. I started wanting to compel people to come to Christ by convincing them that things wouldn’t change much or that I was still like the ‘Darveiye’ I was before.

This is problematic because I was compelling people based on a lie. I’m not just like you. We’re not the same. We may seem incredibly similar on the surface, but there is an inner change that differentiates us. It doesn’t mean I’m better, it means I’m renewed. It means I’m saved. It means I’m redeemed. It means my mind has been changed. It means some things will not and cannot stay the same. It means I have a new nature. I may be “in the world, but I’m not of it.”

I found the reason I was trying to be “relevant” was not because I wanted people to accept God, but I wanted people to accept me. I’d spent so much of my life being rejected and bullied for my interests, my looks, my faith that I found I started to work hard to prove I was normal. However, the reality of the life of a child of God is that you will not be accepted by the world and you are not normal. It’s not something that “gets better” or changes with time.

If there comes a point at which I am completely embraced by the world or indistinguishable from it, I’ve ceased being separated. I may find I’ve begun to seek relevance from the world compromising my reverence for God — which is the result of seeking relevance.

For you cannot completely love and embrace God and still look like, think like, and live like the world. You will hate one or love the other. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24a).”

This dynamic isn’t often easily detected. Sometimes, we’re still doing all of the things we usually do (go to church, read the Bible, talk about God) but will find our hearts are far from God in the process. This is why checking your heart is so important. Always ask, “why am I doing what I’m doing?” “Why am I saying what I’m saying?” “Am I trying to get people to accept me or accept God?” “Am I cutting myself off from the people who need to hear about the God I know?” “Am I discerning or am I just judging people?”

We often treat this walk with Christ as a one size fits all. Granted, there are elements that are one-size-fits-all (salvation, loved by God, call to reconciliation, and many others). However, we have these misguided ideas of exactly what it should look like and get lost in trying to look like that (clothes we wear, how we talk, going to church, reading the Bible, being kind to people, etc) and forget to check if our hearts are truly one with God’s heart.

To sum all of this up, choose reverence over relevance.

Be sensible. Be fools.

Over and out.