Tet in ancient Hebrew is a picture of a type of container made of wicker or clay.
The 9th marriage vow (9th commandment). “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Remember, the command is in the letter Tet and not in the directive “You shall not”. “You shall not…” is the response to the letter.
What does it mean by false witness?
Does it simply mean do not lie…against your neighbor? What does a container have to do with false witness? Why did it specify neighbor? Isn’t lying wrong period?
Let’s start with the last question.
A neighbor in scripture means, a person who is in a relationship with another person. When YAH made Adam and separated/divided them, they became neighbors. Neighbor implies intimate relationship.
If “You shall not…” is specifically to the neighbor then it places the context of false witness beyond lying.
The positive behavior of Tet is the behavior of one who carries the weight of failure of the weaker vessel (wife, friend, neighbor).
It is a behavior or characteristic of YAH. Have you ever read in the scriptures about Yah (God) repenting? What that means is that he returned from or turned away from his anger because he recognized the weakness of his creation. That is the behavior of Tet .
The scripture mentions to dwell with the wife according to knowledge, honour her as unto a weaker vessel…that your prayers/sacrifices are not hindered. That is Tet.
The picture in that scripture places the husband as the root of the tree and his prayer is what he is sacrificing (the fulfillment of beauty) for the tree. If the husband is so bitter against the wife because of her lack, he tears down his own house.
Tet is considerate of the limitations/weakness of his family in time of failure. It does not blame or place fault on the weaker—it takes the blame. That is YAH. That is Yeshua. Tet!
Adam was in great violation of the law of Tet when he blamed his wife. His wife therefore was in violation when she blamed the serpent. Both acted as if they were victimized starting from Adam.
YAH places no blame for the weakness of man on man, rather he is angered when his love and behavior is not reciprocated by man to man!
65 TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. 66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. 68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. 69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. 70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. 72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
You have dealt with me O Lord according to Tet.
Judgment is the result of command. Knowledge is the result of understanding. YAH is understanding.
Adam went astray before he was afflicted = weakness of man, and , I have kept my word is the result of Tet.
Adam’s/Your affliction prescribed by YAH was not/is not a punishment. It is to teach us the boundaries/statutes of YAH that we be Tet as he is Tet.
Gimel is the third Hebrew letter. Ancient Hebrew is a pictorial language. Gimel may be a picture of a Camal in Ancient Hebrew.
Gimel, like all of the Hebrew letters is a law.
The law of Gimel
The outside meaning of Gimel is giving–not in the context of sharing or of a simple donation. The nature of a camel has a high ability to withstand high levels of heat without water while being of service. This type of giving is giving under duress.
This type of giving is much like a mother giving birth to a child: the innate nature to reproduce life, to contribute to the cause of growth, to sustain a name. Interestingly enough, the pain a woman goes through to give life is enough pain to cause a woman to never want to go through that again. But she is given a Gimel spirit–a law that drives her to forget or lessens the memory for the sake of contributing to love and continuation of life.
A camel can endure agony for the sake of continuation of life.
God in the spirit of Gimel will endure with conditions of people and Gimel/give to reproduce health.
17 GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. 18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. 19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. 20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. 21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. 22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. 23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.
When I talk to people about what I believe now, some people ask, “Where’s your source? Where in the Bible does it say that?” To be honest, my response usually sounds a bit elusive and sketchy. Many times, I have to simply say, “You won’t find this explicitly written in the Bible.”
The obvious conclusion for my conversation partner is, “You’re just making stuff up!”
However, that’s not the reason we read the same Bible but walk away with different conclusions. Additionally, it makes it a lot easier to dismiss what I say on account of the sheer amount of people who have walked away with outlandish conclusions. I get it.
Nevertheless,why am I walking away with completely different conclusions than the average Christian? Am I reading certain commentaries? Do I have access to better supplemental resources? Am I a linguist who comprehends the language better? Am I smarter? Am I crazy?
The short answer is: I learn differently.
I’m not talking about being a visual or auditory learner. I’m not saying I learn better, either.
Discovering Torah has taught me a new way to learn. This way of learning is meant for anyone who would approach it and adopt it!
Let’s think about the way many of us dig deeper when studying Scripture. Let’s start with a commonly misunderstood word—torah. At first, like most Christians, I understood torah to mean “law.”
We arrived at this conclusion by looking up the definition of the word in the original language—Hebrew. We probably looked up where the word was first used to get proper context and usage. This is good practice.
Many people’s understanding of ‘Torah’ does not extend beyond: it’s the first five books, it’s law, Israel couldn’t obey it because it was too hard, and we don’t have to because Jesus did it.
All of that might make sense if Torah does mean “law,” but it doesn’t. Upon a deeper search, it more closely means “instruction, way, path, guide.”
Many of us stop looking there—likely concluding, “Torah is the instruction or way.” Great! But, if I already believe that Torah is essentially irrelevant today, what good does this do me? I wouldn’t even know how to apply this to my life! “Maybe it USED to be the path we should follow, but now we have Jesus?”“Maybe it has good teaching in it.” At this point, we’re just guessing and can fall prey to filling in the gaps in order to make it make sense.
While I learned a more accurate definition of Torah a long time ago, I still had to live out and test the reality of what it means.
Our studying of Scripture has to extend beyond quiet sessions of reading, ferociously turning pages, and scribbling down notes. We do not truly learn that way.
It was not sufficient for me to learn the definition of “torah”. I must additionally learn the picture and behavior of it.
To read and pour over a text is a passive way of learning—especially if it stops there. While, there is nothing wrong with reading, that is not where our learning truly happens. Learning happens through movement. In Scripture, originally written in Hebrew and always upholding the Hebraic perspective, we discover movement and dynamism.
Why learn Scripture through the Hebraic perspective in the first place?
Hebrew is the perspective through which the Bible is written. Even when we read the texts written in Greek, we are still to read it within the cultural perspective of the Hebraic people.
Hebrew is an active language. English is not.
Hebrew is meant to be lived. It is a behavioral language–the written expression of life and how it works. This is the picture and function of Torah. That’s why the Torah is much more than the first five books.
Let’s think about the Gospel of John. In John 1:1, we read, “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
Over time, we’ve come to understand this verse to be referring to Jesus as the Word. “Word” in the Greek is logos—meaning expressed idea, reason, plan. So, we conclude that Jesus is the expressed idea that God had. He’s the blueprint!
That’s cute and it makes sense. We can even piggyback off of this idea and think: if Jesus is the expressed idea, we must be meant to model ourselves after Him so that we too can be expressions of God’s ideas. It feels great because it feels like we’re comprehending something profound!
However, if we already have formed erroneous doctrines, we’ll attach newly discovered truths to these ideas. So, let’s be slow to process this.
Let’s add John 14:6 to the mix. Jesus is recorded saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There is no shortage of verses in the Old Testament that directly refer to the Torah as truth, as life, and as the way.
Torah is the instructions/ideas for how life works
Torah shows us what pleases God as it reveals His nature
Jesus is the living version of God’s instruction/ideas
Jesus is the way to the Father
Torah reveals the Father
When we put it all together, we discover that Yeshua/Jesus IS the Torah! Jesus shows us what pleases God. When we follow Torah, we follow Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we follow Torah.
This is a lovely place to start. But, we’re not done here.
The connection we just formed cannot fully be internalized until we go out into our every day lives and make observations. We will essentially investigate the validity of this claim. As we live, we will either find it stands up or it doesn’t.
Think about the psalms. We call the psalms worship and praise. Rightfully so! In the psalms, David is chronicling his observations! He is living and through the activity and events of his life, he is finding what He’s known about God to be true! David was ACTIVELY learning!
Worship understood as singing is a passive activity. Praise understood simply as shouting and celebrating is passive.
Worship is the day to day activity of life. It can never be separated from that. Through every action and thought, we are observing what we value/worship. Praise is a response after having challenged something. Praise is the conclusion or culmination of activity!
Now, this may sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. Understand, anything that is active lives. Anything that is passive and only passive will eventually die.
Is your learning dead? Is your understanding dead? Is your revelation dead?
One might simply think of this process of learning I’ve laid out in a couple of ways.
Word. Definition. Picture. Behavior.
Wisdom. Understanding. Knowledge.
Seed/Roots. Trunk. Branches. Fruit.
When we learn, we become. We do not simply have knowledge, we become it. We don’t simply have light, we become it. You have not learned until and unless it has gripped your behavior.
All of the illustrations above start with something that doesn’t seem to have life yet. It isn’t until it “springs up” that we see the truth of what it is. Many of us put a seed in the ground or hold it in our hands and convince ourselves that we’re growing something or we’ve already learned something. We have to be willing to go through the process in order to have the fruit of our active labor!
Learning is cyclical. At the culmination of the process, therein lies the capacity to reproduce! I.e. fruit have seed in them. The fruit is becoming (active).
Life is learning. Life is active. Life is work.
Think of Adam. We joke that before God gave Adam a wife, he gave him a job. What we actually witness is Adam learning. In his working, he is learning. Life is work. Work is active. Learning is active. Work is sacred.
A warning: it is very easy to get caught up in busy work that makes you feel like you’re working, learning, or being active. Busy work is movement, but it’s not active. Picture Israel wandering in the wilderness.
I’d previously wandered all my years in Christianity and didn’t realize it. I hadn’t been willing to go through the process of exploring and challenging a thing in order to determine the truth of what it is.
Before, I spoke from an unconfident, know-it-all energy. This was my overall energy because I was unwilling to go through the process of actually learning something. While my words sounded strong then, the activity in my life was weak. I spent all my time passively learning—thus passively applying ideas to my life.
So, when I speak today about what I believe, I speak with an intensity unparalleled to the way I once spoke. I speak with confidence because I’ve tested what I speak of. I speak from confidence and not weak know-it-all energy. The difference today is I am willing to be wrong which means I’ve only just started learning.
To be honest, so many people (myself at one point) are dissociated with themselves and life that this process will be incredibly jarring when they first begin. Many will be discouraged and feel like, “What’s the point?” This process will make them feel like something is wrong or nothing is happening. Some will fight it because they are unfamiliar with truly observing themselves and the world. It is so incredibly foreign that some will be depressed due to what they observe. Some will feel like they’re being unproductive because “they’re not spending enough time with God.”
If you ever find yourself worried about whether or not you’re spending enough time with God, remember this: Nothing you do is happening outside of Him. Even when He would sit someone outside the camp of Israel, it was for the purpose of cleansing so that they could return and be active within the community (think of Miriam). Even if you feel sat aside by God today, remember there is always a deeper purpose of reconciliation and healing that He is accomplishing in you.
Every thing you do and witness all day is an opportunity for Him to access you to teach you! I know it feels good to set aside time to show you’re being intentional about hearing from Him and learning from Him, but you are just as present with Him in the things that seem nonsacred or unplanned—even more so if you will see his invitation to learn from Him in everything.
To make this more concrete, keep these things in mind:
It is not enough to learn the definition of a word. You must continue to learn the picture and eventually the behavior.
Learning happens at every moment of the day.
Relying on explicitly stated Bible verses will cripple your opportunity to learn.
The learning process will always start with exactly where you are. You will first practice observing your own behavior.
This process will feel challenging and uncomfortable. Embrace the unknown and discomfort.
The opportunity to learn will often come from spaces you didn’t expect.
This takes time. So, give yourself grace. Typically, we can feel like we’ve learned a lot because we’ve consumed a lot in a short period of time. Truthfully, you will not retain a vast majority of it. What you do retain will be what is useful.
Go slow as you learn. If you learn exactly where you are, that will always be more effective than setting out to learn what you think you ought to know by now or what so-and-so knows. God desires to teach each of us.
We’re in an interesting time in Western society. The landscape seems to be rapidly changing—culturally, politically, religiously, financially, etc. When there is a shift as great as the one we’re experiencing now, language becomes incredibly key in polarizing people and ideas.
This is nothing new. It has always been a clever tactic by the powers that be. There are so many coined phrases that get thrown around in conversations to shame, dismiss, support, shut down, or provide clarity. These phrases have certain connotations that indicate where someone stands and how you should engage with them.
In the political realm, some common ones are liberals, conservatives, racists, nazis, socialists, communists, and the like. While many of these have very specific meanings, they’ve been hijacked to discredit and dismiss people with contrary views.
In the social and cultural realm, some common ones are woke, sleep, bigots, transphobic, reverse racist, racist, gatekeeper, ally, etc. These words have been designated newly minted meanings that have the power to isolate and shame contrary ideas.
In religious spaces, Pharisee, Judaizer, legalistic, worldly, self-righteous are a few common ones. People have long noticed how divided and segregated the Christian church is at a denominational level and cultural level. These phrases put distance between your righteousness and that of others. It validates what you believe and dismisses what others believe.
As someone who has left Christianity, I am very keen on listening to the shift in the religious landscape–particularly in Christian circles.
Face it–People are leaving.
According to an article by the Pew Research Center,
“If recent trends in religious switching continue, Christians could make up less than half of the U.S. population within a few decades.”
The Pew Research Center
Studies have long indicated that most adults who grew up in church as a child will not return in their adult life. This has been a major pain point for many believers and local churches in general. Many religious leaders are doing their best to respond and understand why this is occurring.
Why are they leaving?
There are a few popular ideas within Christendom as to why people leave the Christian Church or Christianity as a whole and I think there’s something to be learned here.
Church hurt: some form of hurt, offense, or betrayal by the leaders or congregants of a church
Deconstruction: the idea of unlearning and rebuilding your Christian faith
Never were connected to begin with
Pulled in by secular culture
These are some of the phrases or ideas thrown around in conversations and I think Christians are missing an opportunity.
I find that Christians (mostly) lump every person who leaves the Church into the first two categories and it’s quite dangerous.
The “deconstruction” crowd are those who have grown weary of fruitless religion and country club culture of the church, and are seeking a more authentic experience. These people might feel a little lost, detached, disappointed, or infuriated. These people are rarely consciously making a choice to rebuild their faith. It’s a gradual happening in which they feel incredibly dissatisfied with the current condition of the Christian church. Most of these people will return to their faith of old.
Then, there’s the first group. There are those who leave due to faulty leadership or offense of some sort. This is what many are calling ‘church hurt.’ Some Christians feel particularly empathetic towards these people, while others find their “lack of faith” problematic. Their justification is that no man should have the ability to make you “walk away from God”–as though walking away from manmade religion and walking away from God are one in the same. Talk about problematic.
Nine times out of ten (not a real statistic), these people will return to the Church. Once they are able to heal in their relationship with said person, people or engage in healing relationship with others, they’ll come back.
System Failure, The Curveball
Those who leave Christianity because they find that it doesn’t have the capacity to address individual, familial, communal, or global issues, they will likely never go back.
To Christians, these people register as having the greatest threat to the Christian Church. Christians firmly warn against them and their “doctrine of demons.” Many Christian pastors are even doing training on how to respond to said people.
There is something incredibly jarring about the disposition of these people. This is due to their inability to be controlled. These people are not simply unable to be controlled because they’re wild and sinful. They cannot be controlled because they are no longer validated by the system of religion. They are no longer looking to the standards that the Christian Church has claimed to be true for so long.
This is the greatest discrepancy between the Christian and his friends that no longer find value in Christianity and may believe entirely different than he does. I’ll speak for myself.
I know many Christians who look down on or sympathetically at those who leave because if you look from a particular angle, it seems they’re worse off. They seem to be more unhinged, less clean-cut, more broad thinking, rigid, more emotional, etc. Sometimes, they seem to always be changing or exploring a new idea. It’s difficult to trust what they believe because there doesn’t seem to be structure or continuity (yet) in what they believe. So, you look upon them and think, “Yea, I’d better stay over here because by the looks of it, they don’t seem to be much better.”
This is entirely understandable. When I left the Church and Christianity, a dear friend of mine told me that it seemed I’d been led astray because of how angry I was. And I was angry! I was infuriated that the system I’d put my entire identity in, caved in.
I was angry that what I thought was fruit was rotten. I was disappointed that what I thought was wisdom was fear. I was angry that what I thought was faith was manipulation. I was angry because what I thought was growth and movement was me running on a hamster wheel my entire life.
Truthfully, I came off way too strong! I was beginning to naturally challenge a lot of doctrine I’d held up until that point and I’d share my discoveries. While many people distanced themselves from me by avoiding the conversation, there were those that despite their discomfort with where I was, they still indulged me for as long as they could. Some would engage me and pretend as though nothing had changed. That wasn’t right either.
The longer I’ve been gone, the clearer the picture has become—the more defined my beliefs are. For a while there, many close people in my life were incredibly concerned and feared I’d lost a connection with the Holy Spirit, etc. My shambles and immaturity turned many off to the idea of even exploring what I was discovering. Understandably. However…
The reality is, it is fear that keeps many from ever challenging what they believe—not simply being turned off by the condition of people who leave. It is tradition and misinterpretations of Scripture that keep you bound to a fear-mongering system that discourages you from questioning.
Granted, you shouldn’t leave your church simply because someone you trust has left. There has to be an authentic beckoning that calls you out. Honestly, it likely won’t seem obvious to many.
The reason many haven’t left is because they’re still being validated by the system. It works for them—or so it seems. As long as you are satisfied by what is given, you will return.
Once you learn how YAH truly validates us, you will find no purpose in the vast majority of what Christians do at church and away. Your entire world will be flipped upside down.
If you challenge what you believe, and I mean truly challenge, you might find that you’ve never truly been satisfied. You are still thirsty. It has been as though you’ve looked in the mirror and have forgotten what you look like when you’ve walked off. That is an imperfect mirror.
Christianity is not simply imperfect. It’s wrong. When you truly learn HIS ways, you will look into the perfect mirror and remember who you are.
If you are unsure about leaving your church, don’t. Whenever—if ever—you truly feel beckoned, you won’t look back and nothing will be able to stop you.
I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.
Christians don’t know what to do with those who leave the church.
I’ve seen a few typical responses. These are either reactions to or explanations for people leaving. These responses indicate something about the foundation and dynamics operating in the Christian Church.
These will be in no particular order.
Indignant. Some are incredibly angry that a person would not agree and align with their idea of the importance of church or traditional Christian ideals.
This indicates there is a foundation of control upon which Christianity is built or the conduit through which it is practiced.
Control. Some are frustrated that this person is no longer able to be controlled.
This points to how powerless people in religion feel and their need to cover or compensate for this powerlessness. This is evidenced in various doctrines and traditions.
Fear. Some are afraid that you’ll be lost or “the devil’s going to get you.”
This shows how many have been shamed and scared into life with YAH.
That’s none of my business. Some don’t feel they are mature enough to relate and converse with someone who may be grappling with their faith and religion. So, they avoid it altogether.
This points to the social system embedded in the Christian church and how people see their roles therein.
Longing. In a phrase, “I wish I could do that. I wish I was strong enough to do that.”
This points to the exhaustion of people in religion. Many are tired as they run on the hamster wheel of religion, but it keeps you codependent upon its system. So, you can’t really leave (you can, but you feel like you can’t).
Devalue. This is the belief that you are of no value or importance if you are not a part of this belief system anymore.
This points to the incomplete system of validation the Church has set up. People look to pastors, church community, no other Christians to validate themselves. Anyone who does not adhere to this value system immediately and innately loses their value.
Your response to this shouldn’t be to cover up or justify how you or your church normally responds. My encouragement to you if you’ve read this through, is ask. Figure out why people are leaving the Church and Christianity as a whole. Don’t make assumptions.
I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.
People are leaving a system they once felt so strongly about. I felt I had to defend this faith. I felt a responsibility and a weight that many feel today.
I’ve been hesitant at times to share more about my beliefs before I left because people use that to explain away why I left. They’ll say, “You just weren’t doing it right. You just weren’t serious. I’ve always been certain about _. I’ve always known that! You were just at the wrong church. Not all churches are the same.”
I’ve reached a place now where I’m okay with the conclusions people will draw. I think one of two could happen if people started being curious when people leave.
One. They will start to look at what the Church has been doing for so long and make radical changes.
Two. Others will start to leave — much like an exodus.
This is what I think some pastors or Christians are fearful of. They’re afraid to look within. They’re afraid to question and challenge. What if I find out something I don’t like? What if everything I’ve built my doctrine on falls apart? Where would I go? What would I do?
It’s okay to not have the answers to those questions. So, if you do find yourself in that place, feel free to reach out to me!
The New Testament isn’t saying anything new. It is echoing Torah. Messiah is echoing and declaring Torah!
In the average Christian church, there is a discounting of the relevance and potency of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and the Writings due to misinterpretations of Scripture.
Statements like, “That’s the old stuff–we don’t need that anymore,” “We’re under a new covenant,” and “We’re not under the law, we’re under grace,” get us in a lot of trouble.
Many who would profess to be followers of Yeshua (Aramaic name of the Messiah), deny the very doctrine and source from which He taught–the Torah. They use many of the excuses listed above to validate their living out of just a few books in the Bible.
I am convinced that our lives will be much more enriched when we seek to understand Scripture within its complete context.
Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.
To apply principles of Scriptures contextually, we will have to unlearn much of what we’ve learned.
If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this: the “New” Testament is commentary on the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. That means its foundation is the Torah. They derive their thinking and understanding of Scripture from Torah. So, we must know Torah to properly interpret and apply what we read. Additionally, this means these commentaries will not deviate or disagree with the Torah.
The first couple hundred years after Messiah ascended, they did not have what we have compiled today. So, they were teaching from the: you guessed it–Torah, Prophets, and the Writings.
I know. Many believe they were reading out of pocket New Testaments and following along as these events took place; but, that’s just not what happened.
Heck, it’s unlikely the writers of the New Testament would’ve thought what they were writing would be considered Scripture.
So, when Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work;” the Scripture he is referring to is the Scripture they already knew: the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings.
Most of the time when Christians hear Torah, their mind goes to the “law that Jesus fulfilled so that we don’t have to do it.” There are many things wrong with that perspective. However, we have to start somewhere.
First, it does not mean “law.” That is a common application of it; but, it’s not the most accurate. Many translate Torah as “law.” However, it is best translated as instruction, teaching, doctrine.
Simply, the Torah is YAH teaching us how to live life. It’s His instructions, descriptions, and definitions for life. It is the WORD (Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119:142; 1 Tim. 1:8, Rom. 3:31) and Messiah is the WORD made flesh (John 1:1-14).
In Matthew 22:36-37, 39-40, Messiah has an exchange that helps sum up the Torah.
“Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah? And יהושע said to him, ” ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”
When Messiah said, “The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands,” he is saying every Word given in the Torah falls within those two categories. Every Word or principle given to Israel instructed them in how to love YAH and love people (including themselves). Also, it is a way of saying, this is the foundation for all instruction.
Recently, I was reading Paul’s letters and enjoying an enriching time in the Scripture when I came across a verse that is a prime example of this.
Colossians 3:5 reads, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: whoring, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and greed of gain, which is idolatry.”
When examined in the Greek (the original language of the book of Colossians), these words sum up the instruction of Torah. We’ll explore idolatry, uncleanness, passion, and greed.
The word idolatry or immorality refers to a selling off of ourselves for the purpose of sin (failure). It has a connotation of adultery. It is to cheapen what is valuable. It is to give over to someone what already belonged to another.
Torah is riddled with instructions against idolatry. Idolatry gives honor to the created rather than the Creator. Additionally, idolatry is a fruit of something. Idolatry is possible when the true value of YAH is not known or is incomplete.
“You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth..”
Shemoth (Exodus) 20:4 TS2009
The word for uncleanness or impurity paints a picture of mixing. Torah goes into depth always about the issue with mixing.
“‘Guard My laws. Do not let your livestock mate with another kind. Do not sow your field with mixed seed. And do not put a garment woven of two sorts of thread upon you.”
Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:19 TS2009
“They did not destroy the peoples, As יהוה had commanded them, But mixed with the nations, And learned their works, And served their idols, And they became a snare to them.“
Tehillim (Psalms) 106:34-36 TS2009
The issue with mixing is expounded upon in the book of 1 John. John goes into depth about YAH being light. In Him is no darkness. YAH is not mixed — neither should we be. He is whole and complete — lacking nothing.
The word passion refers to an inordinate desire. A desire that is misplaced or out of order–which indicates something was not covered properly. Usually, when we think about passion/lust, the weight or responsibility lies on the person dealing with it. This is not how things work. Lust/passion is a fruit of something. It is an inordinate desire that comes when one lacks the proper perspective of your value.
The father is the one YAH gives responsibility to to provide identity and value. If a father does not cover properly, this lack will create an inordinate desire that shows up as lust. This could have been prevented if the father had covered properly. Torah is thorough in showing how to cover the vulnerable and the importance thereof.
The word greed or covetousness means advantage and aggression. This is a contrary idea to what is taught in Torah. Many have often wondered why did YAH always instruct the people of Israel to get only what they needed. He’d find fault if they took more than they needed.
This was a sign of someone who had not had Sabbath perfected in them. In other words, if they took more than they needed, this was a sign of someone who did not trust YAH. They were not yet able to rest in His provision and decided to provide for themselves.
When Sabbath is perfected in someone, they do not seek to provide for themselves. They see YAH as provider and what they have for others. YAH covers me and I don’t have to look out for myself. They trust. They do not strive. Providing for yourself is strife.
Getting more than you needed meant someone else would go without. They’re always collateral damage when we do not trust YAH to provide.
The Torah is all about how to care for others and trusting YAH to care for you.
The purpose for this post is to draw attention to the connection New Testament Scriptures have with the Torah. The New Testament isn’t saying anything new. It is echoing Torah. Messiah is echoing and declaring Torah!
All of the words and right-rulings of YAH are to reveal (cultivate) two things in us: love for YAH and for people. The Torah makes provisions for the citizen and for the stranger, for the vulnerable, for the weak.
If we live a life that is me-centered, we are not living Torah.
Learning Torah will change your life!
Torah is for today — and not in a vague “good for reference” kind of way. Instead, it is for today — actively, intensively, transforming its students.
“The Torah of יהוה is perfect, bringing back the being; The witness of יהוה is trustworthy, making wise the simple;”
Worship is life. Worship is behavior. Worship is action. Worship has nothing to do with sound, music, and is not a specific religious discipline. Your entire life is worship! The system of life is worship. You can’t escape it!
The world is changing, so people say. I don’t think that it is. Life has a cyclical nature. I.e. history repeats itself. People are no more evil or good today than any other time. I used to think we were better off now. I see advantages and disadvantages for any moment in time. So, while we’ve seen development, increase in access, extensive knowledge, different uses of resources, the nature of man has not changed. Thankfully, the nature of YAH hasn’t either.
I used to have a particular childlike reverence for Christianity and maybe it was never that. I believed we were the only ones who knew truth and had access to it.
Due to misinterpretations, mistranslations, political interference, and other forces, truth has been distorted into Christianity as we know it today. Let me be crystal clear: Christianity was never a good thing at any point in history. I mention this because the argument I hear to refute criticism of the Church or Christianity is usually something along the lines of, “That’s just modern Christianity. Ancient Christianity wasn’t like this! This is just post-modernism. We need to return to the work of the first-century church!”
(Disclaimer: Granted, by saying Christianity has never been a good thing, I am not criticizing directly the people).
Many desire for the church to go back to what the first-century church was doing — the New Testament Christianity. However, “New Testament Christianity” wasn’t really Christianity at all. It didn’t look the way we think it did. In fact, it looked like what Hebrews were already doing in the “old testament.” The root was different. The fruit was different.
We’ve bought into this idea that what (we think) is old and outdated (Torah) is done away with and it has cost us greatly!
Firstly, the Torah is not old or outdated; instead, it is everlasting. If you were to reflect on the love of God, would you describe it as old or outdated simply because you’ve known of its existence in ancient times? No. We understand the love of God is so intimately Him and is everlasting–meaning: it was, is, and will be.
The Torah is the same.
The Torah was, is, and will be. As a Christian, I imagine this thought would sound terrifyingly heretical. It would sound as if I’m saying we should worship the Torah. And yes, we should; but, not as we currently understand worship.
Worship is life. Worship is behavior. Worship is action. Worship has nothing to do with sound, music, and is not a specific religious discipline. Your entire life is worship! The system of life is worship. You can’t escape it!
Given that humans are behavioral (in that they behave from the belief systems they’ve learned), your behavior, conscious and subconscious, indicates your belief system. This belief system could be control, manipulation, rest, etc. Regardless, you will always behave in accordance with your belief system whether it is healthy or not. Behavior indicates foundation. Foundation is where our loyalty, commitment, and duty lies. We are loyal and committed to it until and unless that foundation is challenged.
So, when I mention that we ought to worship Torah, I mean it must be our foundation. We must live it. We cannot live it if we have not challenged our current foundation or system. As long as our foundation is allowed to stay in place, we will always behave from that place.
John 1:1-14 describes the intimate relationship between YAH and the Torah. It begins, “In the beginning was the Word…” The Torah is the Word and the Word is YAH. YAH has revealed Himself in His Torah.
This may be a hard pill to swallow. I imagine upon accepting or at least exploring this at truth, some of us would become particularly religious and committed to reading this text. And we ought to read it! However, Torah extends far beyond the text itself.
Torah is life. Life is Torah. It is the parameters within which we experience life. This is to say, whether or not you believe Torah, life is happening around in accordance to it. That sounds a bit grand, I’m sure! But, it’s true!
As we live, we have the choice to go with the grain of Torah or work against it. This may be the operation of free will. Many of the institutions, systems, and ideals permeating in society operate from a foundation that goes against the grain.
Participants in these systems bear weight, incessantly attempt to validate themselves, are independent, unwilling/unable to be vulnerable, and do not trust. This is the cost of doing away with Torah.
The Church was built on a culture that goes against the grain of the flow of YAH, of life — of the Torah. Its culture is labor. When we invest our resources (energy, intellectualism, finances, etc.) into validating ourselves to others, we are laboring.
What is the benefit of learning Torah?
The Torah teaches rest. The Torah speaks heavily about Sabbath. Christians don’t often know what to do with that. If I were to suggest that we should keep Sabbath, the response from many would be, “Jesus is my Sabbath.” Most times, they don’t really know what that means. These are just pre-recorded responses for anything that hasn’t been searched out.
I do believe we ought to keep Sabbath, but my understanding of Sabbath is deepening. Sabbath is more than a day. Sabbath is a constant. It is a cycle by which we experience healing and can determine where we are truly resting. Rest signifies confidence. Rest signifies trust. When I learn to rest, it means I am confident in YAH, have trust with others, and am confident in myself. Rest signifies understanding your place in the world and seeing YAH for who He is — the Provider/Source.
The Torah teaches vulnerability. The culture of religion leaves no room for real vulnerability. The culture of religion fosters a need to cover deficiencies, immaturity, or lack of knowledge. We have this idea that we need to be at a certain place by now and this “certain place” is often manufactured by people. This creates an unsafe space to be exactly where you are and identifying exactly where you are is the starting point for healing. Because the Torah offers a different perspective on sin, life, God, family, prayer, baptism, etc. than those pervading Christian circles, those that know it learn to live lives of vulnerability before YAH. They understand the way YAH sees them and there is no fear in approaching Him. So, doing away with the Torah (though it can never be done away with) keeps vulnerability away. As long as we stay unsure about how God sees us, we’ll never come boldly to the throne.
The Torah teaches trust.An underlying precept in what the Torah reveals is that nothing exists in isolation of anything else. Everything is connected. Nothing can provide for itself. To allow myself to be provided for, I must trust. To continue the cycle of healing, I must trust. For the family to be whole, I must trust. Trust is a beautiful picture that is displayed in all things. We often talk about trust in two main areas: romantic relationships and spiritual matters. It’s so much deeper than that. Trust is the foundation of the worlds. This is why it is imperative that we learn trust. When we learn trust, we operate with YAH and not against Him. It breeds rest. It elevates us to peace!
The Torah teaches YAH. Have you ever said these words: “I just want to know You” or “I just want to be like You”? The Torah is the answer for that! You see, YAH is light. Light is a picture of knowledge. Knowledge is light. Light is standard. YAH is standard. YAH is truth. To obtain knowledge is to obtain YAH — to know Him, to know truth, to know peace. That’s all knowledge is. It’s Him. How can you know Him if you do not know His Torah? His Torah reveals His heart, His ideas, His nature.
The Torah is the answer for all calamity in the world. The very topics that Christians debate about, doctrinal differences, sin’s rampant run in society, etc. can all be healed through Torah. But, we have to be willing to challenge the things we say we believe. Whether we submit to it or not, the Torah is happening around us every day. You can’t escape it! It’s happening in our lives, daily, weekly, yearly. Will you wake up and know it? Will you perceive it?
Most of the time, figuring God out looks like describing Him. “He’s the God who heals.” Good is an understatement about who He is. Evil is a falsehood about who He is. So, who or what is He by definition?
There is perhaps no other verse quite as significant as the one that records the conversation between Mosheh (Moses) and YAH (God).
“And Elohim said to Mosheh, “I am that which I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14 TS2009)
At first glance, I’ve always found this declaration significant. But, my perception paled in comparison to the depth of significance of such a statement — of such a reality! It would be difficult to understand the magnitude of this declaration if I simply read it within the context of this one story. As I read and live Torah, the significance of this statement takes shape.
Any being that would introduce themselves this way would spark great curiosity. I’ve always believed we should always be curious about YAH. If we can completely figure God out, or think we can, it’s probably that we never had Him figured out in the first place. Most of the time, figuring God out looks like describing Him. “He’s the God who heals.” “He’s the God that sees.” But, we rarely ever truly define Him. There is a difference between description and definition. (But that’s a blog for another day). Who or what is He by definition?
God is not A being. He IS being.
We often say, “God is the most powerful being.” This is faulty. To put Him in a realm with other beings is to say he can be matched. It is to say there are others like Him or there are others other than Him. “I am יהוה, and there is none else – there is no Elohim besides Me.” (Isaiah 45:5). This sounds good; but, what does it really mean? It does not mean there is a being that is beneath Him or He is greater. It means, He is all there is. If He were a being, then He would derive His identity and being from another. He would exist through emulation or comparison. But, because He is being (existence itself), He is complete within Himself and does not need to inquire to gain insight as to who He is.
2. God is omnipotent.
He does not go to another to tell Him who He is or what He can or cannot do. For there is no other to go to. This speaks to the power He has. A lot of us would love to not have to answer to anyone. But, “with great power, comes great responsibility (shout out to Stan Lee).” He does not have to request permission to be or to create. Wow! He can create? Cool! This makes God sound like He has superpowers. Let’s take a closer look. It is not to say that He has ‘more powers’ than another. It is to say, He literally has all of it. He is the only one with it. Whatever is ever given power or life must be sustained through Him. Nothing can exist on its own. He is never caught in the act of existing, He is existence. In this way, He is omnipotent.
3. We have existence. God does not.
God is not given existence. Who would give it to Him? What can He interact with outside of Himself to authorize Him to exist? He is existence. “I AM THAT I AM”: I was being. I am being. I will always be. He gives us existence for as long as He desires — even what/who may dare to oppose Him must be given existence from and through Him.
4. God is omnipresent.
All things don’t merely exist because he gives existence externally. An image comes to mind of humans being handed rations of existence. It is to say humans can go away from Him and handle their existence as they will. This is inaccurate. Nothing exists outside of Him and never leaves His presence. The psalmist David speaks to this truth. 7 Where would I go from Your Spirit? Or where would I flee from Your face? 8 If I go up into the heavens, You are there; If I make my bed in She’ol, see, You are there. 9 I take the wings of the morning, I dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 There, too, Your hand would lead me, And Your right hand hold me. 11 If I say, “Darkness shall cover me,” Then night would be light to me; 12 Even darkness is not dark for You, But night shines as the day – As is darkness, so is light (Psalm 139:7-12).
I used to think this set of verses was pointing to the compassion of God. Sure. That may be true; but, it is incomplete. David, having been raised knowing the Torah, understood this complex truth.
All things exist within Him. The universe is in Him. We are in Him (John 1). In this way, He is omnipresent. There is no space in the universe where the presence of God does not exist. For all things have their existence through (INSIDE) Him. “In Him, we live move and have our being.” If we can grasp this truth, it will be revolutionary.
5. God is truth.
He is not truth because there is right or wrong. There is simply Him. He is the basis for reality — therefore, what is truth. He is the context within which all things exist. His essence provides the principles by which this life/reality is governed.
6. He is knowledge Himself.
God does not learn. What is there that He does not know? He is complete within Himself and can do what He wills. What can He teach Himself? In this way, He is omniscient. He knows all, because He is all. We acquire knowledge by going through the process of challenging what is about us and come to the conclusion of truth — Him. When we acquire knowledge, we acquire Him. When we acquire knowledge, we learn to exist as He does — complete, lacking nothing. Ponder these verses:
“The fear of יהוה is the beginning of knowledge;”
(Proverbs 1:7 TS2009)
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
“In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
“Hear, O Yisra’ĕl: יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one” (Deut. 6:4 TS2009)!
Much of the perspectives that pervade society align with the idea of a dualistic world. One dualistic perspective indicates there are two (potentially equal) forces in the world that exists in every being — good and evil. Sometimes, unknowingly, we subscribe to this belief that God is dualistic. It is problematic to apply this filter to Him.
God does not consist of parts or contradicting forces. He is not confused, wrestling with whether or not He’ll be evil or good today. He is who He is. “I AM that I AM.” He is existence itself. Good is an understatement about who He is. Evil is a falsehood about who He is. He does not need to subscribe to our small ideas about what it means to be good. Truthfully, the reason he is good is because we know exactly what we can expect of Him — to be one. He is one. He is whole and complete. I can always examine the work of His hand and it will produce and reveal oneness.
“And Elohim said to Mosheh, “I am that which I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14 TS2009)
YAH sent Mosheh to tell His people that I AM is with you. In other words, “Existence itself has come to rescue you.” Taking into account everything written in this blog, this is to say that YAH has decided to give existence to the people of Israel and therefore, absolutely nothing can oppose them! YAH would have to give existence to the opposition in order for it to prosper.
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall prove wrong. This is the inheritance of the servants of יהוה, and their righteousness from Me,” declares יהוה.
Yeshayah (Isaiah) 54:17 TS 2009
“Who can stand against?” “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” These commonly known verses speak to this truth and how Hebrews understand the power of YAH.
YAH is power. He is not merely powerful. He is power. So, you can trust that the force at work in your life is Him and you can trust Him.
“For thus said יהוה, ‘When seventy years are completed, at Baḇel I shall visit you and establish My good word toward you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I am planning for you,’ declares יהוה, ‘plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and an expectancy” (Jeremiah 29:10-11).
Much of the traditions a church practices are someone’s idea of what metric is appropriate to measure progression or right and wrong. People often ask, “Why is the Church so divided?” We don’t know the real metrics. We don’t know the standard.
“This will be quick,” is what I tell myself every time I begin writing a blog. I’m wrong a lot of the time. But, we’ll see.
So! I just had the most enlightening and encouraging conversation with my sister and so many things were brought out that I’m sure I’ll be meditating on for some time. I’d like to share one of them to challenge our perspective and encourage us on our journey.
The two major questions posed by my sister and I were:
What is sin?
What if it’s (life) not about maturity, but about humility?
Today, I’ll focus on the second one.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed a change or shift in perspective– especially in the last two years. Almost two years ago, I left the church and Christianity behind with no idea as to where I was going. What I’ve experienced in my time since leaving has been monumental and incredibly life changing.
As a Christian, unknowingly, I would create big and tiny metrics by which to measure my success or failure at living right or pleasing God. This process is something I see Christians do all the time. It is the general foundation for religion in general. Honestly, I’m still in the process of unlearning and challenging these metrics because there are moments they still have authority or influence in my life.
Much of the traditions a church practices are someone’s idea of what metric is appropriate to measure progression or right and wrong. Some churches emphasize baptism, how you dress, operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, consistency in disciplines like praying, fasting, reading the Bible, outreach, or going to church. Most, if not all, emphasize the appearance of a thing and make inferences about what that indicates about your spiritual maturity (i.e. purity culture, your excitement for the “things of God” vs. the “things of man,” your profession, etc.).
It gets even more convoluted when you observe what metrics each individual has set up. “Did I curse today?” “Ooh. I’ve been tithing regularly!” “I’ve been serving diligently at church.” “I haven’t listened to any secular music in a while!”
People often ask, “Why is the Church so divided?” The picture I’ve just painted is precisely why. We don’t know the real metrics.We don’t know the standard.
Another way to say this is: we have no root.Because we have no root, we have to make up (manufacture) fruit and a process (religion) by which to attain it. Christianity is a rootless tree. Its participants spend time validating themselves one to another with their various metrics and live with an uncertainty/anxiety about how God feels toward them. “My metric is better or more important than your metric” — hence all of the infighting.
In all my time in religion, I never found rest. There was always someone to whom I could compare myself and make myself feel more mature or someone I’d feel inferior to. This is the continuous cycle that religion aids in. It arms you with the tools to make fig leaves, to seek and reject validation, and to go against the grain.
We are uncertain of who God really is. We know the God we’ve made up for ourselves. And because we’ve made Him up (or others have done so for us), we have all of these made up ideas about what it takes to please Him.
We are afraid to find out what does please Him because we’re afraid we’re not enough. This idea of us being born sinners and being undeserving of Christ is keeping people bound to a vicious cycle that will refuse to release us. It keeps people believing, “I don’t deserve it. He’s so much greater than I am.”
Aside: It makes me wonder about the relationship between a parent and child. No parent living from light desires to always be greater than their child. They desire for their child to elevate and surpass their level. God is no different. “Greater works shall you do…”
We are afraid to face Him.
We are afraid to truly know Him and be known by Him. So, we create processes and milestones that make us feel worthy to be associated with Him. We seek maturity, spiritual mastery, knowledge, accolades and such to validate ourselves to Him.
This is where the second question comes in.
What if it’s (life) not about maturity, but about humility?
There are many quotes that seek to define humility. I’m sure there is a precise way to define the word, but I’d like to look at the picture of humility. It involves ‘light.’
“God is light and in Him is no darkness”(1 John 1:5). Scripture also refers to Jesus as light. “Therefore יהושע spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but possess the light of life.” (John 8:12). The Torah is light as well. “For the command is a lamp, And the Torah a light, And reproofs of discipline a way of life” (Proverbs 6:23).
There are a few important precepts to understand about light.
Light gives life. This is to say it is the only Source/Provider.
Light challenges. This is to say, light will expose what something is or isn’t. It will call it to its highest self or truth.
Light reflects. This is to say that light provides identity.
Light is authority. This is to say that light is foundation, seed, root, and dictates the identity of someone or something. It IS the standard.
As a child of Light, we can expect: for God to be our provider, to show us who we are, to challenge and remove what isn’t Him, to be the authority by which we function in this world, and to reveal His standard. Doesn’t this kind of sound like Jesus? “I only do what I see my Father do.” Jesus was called a Son of God because he learned from (submitted to) Light. He’d gone through the necessary process/cycle by which light becomes the only standard.
We often see life as a process by which we are growing to maturity. This is true. But, maturity and humility do not cancel each other out.
Humility is a state of being in which I am submitted to light. Humility is vulnerability. It doesn’t matter if I think or others think I’ve matured if I am untrained in vulnerability. Humility is a picture of trust. If I have not trusted God to provide for me, to show me who I am, to challenge and remove what isn’t Him, to be the authority by which I function in this world, I have simply reached a level of “mastery” in the eyes of society/world.
To describe this humility: I’m not worried about tomorrow and the alleged milestone that may be waiting there for me. I’m not worried about what metric I’ve set up to feel like I’m progressing. I’m not worried about my wants and needs. I’m not worried about giants. I’m not trying to pave my own way. I am present today resting, trusting, open before Him so that He may show me Him.
My sister said this and it drove it home for me. “A child isn’t worried about being able to walk. A child isn’t worried about what they sound like. A child isn’t worried about how to eat or where their next meal will come from.” A child trusts. A child is surrendered. A child rests. A child explores. A child has no care of danger.
In the Church, they talk about having child-like faith. This is a description of it. I am vulnerable and open before my Father. I trust my Father. I see He is good. I see I am good. I am not concerned with getting to a place where I no longer need help of a particular kind. That time will come naturally. It is not my concern the appointed seasons in which I’ll develop this or that. My only responsibility is to stay connected to Him through vulnerability and trust. The connection is what signifies real maturity.
Considering these ideas, my perspective shifts when I think of popularly quoted verses. “I know the plans I have for you.” “Trust in the LORD with all your heart.” “Come boldly to the throne of grace.” “Do not worry about tomorrow.” “Does he not feed the birds?”
Every day, I’ve begun to wake up with the expectation that God will provide for me. God will show me who I am. God is the authority by which I navigate and learn. God is my Father. God knows me. God loves me. God thinks I’m worthy. God knows.
The system and surrounding systems of religion ask us to bear responsibility that isn’t ours. Again, my only responsibility is to stay connected to Him through vulnerability and trust. The steadfast connection is what determines and signifies real maturity.
“Because He saved me, I owe Him my life.” “He’s been good to me. So, I owe Him ______.” Does this sound familiar? Then, keep reading.
Many of us have been taught, “Because He saved me, I owe Him my life.” “He’s been good to me. So, I owe Him ______.” “Jesus died for me; so, I owe Him..” “It’s the least you can do.”
You may have never said this overtly, but this is the foundation of the faith of many people. Before reading further, you might say, “I do what I do for God, because I get to or because I want to.” Maybe. Don’t let that stop you from reading further.
There are many problems with living from this idea of “I owe God.”
It’s built on conditional love.
The love we experience from YAH is not conditional. We think it is, because we’ve misinterpreted Scripture. Infamously, the passages that speak to the people of Israel saying, “If you do _____, you will be blessed. If you do _____, you will be cursed,” have been understood to list conditions by which YAH exists in relationship with us or what we have to do to make God move or what we shouldn’t do to keep God happy. Then, there are those that completely dismiss it under the impression it has no relevance today. (It is of utmost importance that we understand the true meaning of blessing and cursing; but, that’s for another blog.)
Instead of seeing them as computation sequences for a relationship with YAH, we should study those passages to discover what YAH values (it’s not what a lot of us think).
Additionally, we can study those passages and see them as principles or laws governing everything (and YAH himself).See, YAH is One. He is whole. He is complete. He is holy. Being One is what it means to be holy.YAH is bound to His nature — meaning He cannot and will not act outside of His nature. So, when certain things happen, He will naturally respond a particular way. We never have to guess. He is governed by laws or “ways” that reveal something about who He is intrinsically. He desires for us to walk in those ways — His Way.
Trust in יהוה with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; Know Him in all your ways, And He makes all your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)
Everything you do is to be a NATURAL response — not a weight placed upon you.
See, this is the issue with Christianity as the system it is. Unknowingly, many, if not most, are living life bearing weight. Many Christians are carrying weights and responsibilities that are not theirs.
You are not the “last Jesus” they’ll see. That’s a weight.
You don’t live a certain way for the appearance of things. That’s a weight.
You should be “here” by now. That’s a weight.
“But, I’m the pastor, so I got to..” That’s a weight.
“I can’t stop working. Leaders don’t stop.” That’s a weight.
The lack of vulnerability in the lives of Christians (the leaders as well).. This is due to a weight.
Most Christians and those brought up under the system of Christianity are still bearing weight. The foundation of their relationship with YAH is, “I’m a sinner and while I know Jesus paid my debt, I’m going to live a life of paying it off by going to church, being nice to my atheist neighbors, by serving in the church, reading my Bible, etc. It’s the least that I can do.”
This was me — a checklist Christian. I had a checklist in my heart of what I needed to do to be considered a good Christian in the eyes of God and man. Many are choosing their church, ministers, friends, music, and ministry based on who and what aligns with the checklist they have in their minds. The checklist we feel we need to create that would yield a “holy” life is due to weight. We’ll think we’re coming further along because we know more Scripture, have been more consistent, etc. We’ll find some sort of validation from man and begin to feel “a little less like a sinner.” In reality, you’re only slipping further and further into slavery. Debt is a weight. To live from a place of “I owe God,” is to live from a place of slavery.
Aside: It has been fascinating to me that many Christians have criticized Jews and Hebrews for following the teachings found toward the front of the Bible due to it being seen as a list of rules and regulations (I was one of them). Meanwhile, Christians have simply created their own lists of rules and regulations and are under the impression YAH is more pleased.
Living from the checklist or passed down doctrine, though common, is unnatural. The book of Romans talks about the invisible evidence that YAH is real. Nature mirrors who YAH is and what He does. No tree’s function is based on this idea, “I owe it to the birds to grow” or “It’s my responsibility to have leaves on my branches.” Instead, they live and function freely and there is a natural result produced. The birds can perch. Certain animals can eat. Humans find shade. Trees function the way they do, because that’s how they were designed. The reason the tree is able to function as it should is because it has first received what it needs.
Much like this, our relationship with YAH functions the same way. My life is a natural response to how I’ve been conditioned to think and see (negative or positive). When I explore the relationship with YAH as my Provider (Father), I receive and am conditioned to think and see as He does. My life begins to transform and I function as I should — freely and wholly — without weight.
3. It positions you to give to God without having truly received. (Whether something has been given matters not if the recipient will not receive it. Let’s see if we’ve really received.)
Think about this for a second: “My life is a natural response to how I’ve been conditioned to think and see.” Another way of thinking about this is: My behavior is a result of how I’ve been conditioned to think and see. My behavior is a result of what I value. See, we all learned a value system as we grew up. We act from this place. Equally, Christians learn a value system in Christianity and act from this place. A step further: My life (my behavior) is my worship. We only get there by exploring relationship with YAH as our Provider.
This is a wide shot of the process and its components: YAH is holy. YAH is Light. Light reveals. Light nurtures. Light causes things to grow. If God is Light and is my Provider, He reveals what is broken and fixes it. If God is my Light and my Provider, He will cause me to grow. If God is Light and my Provider, I will see as He does. I will value what He values. I will function as I am meant to.
The value system of Christianity is backwards and takes its cues from the world around it. Therefore, it cannot produce the process I just laid out above. Many have questioned for years why the Church looks strikingly similar to society. It is built on the same values. Until the foundation is completely rebuilt, the Church will be ineffective.
The emphasis and foundation has long been “doing” and not “being.” That’s one description of the system of Christianity. For example, Christians keep seeing worship as the first 30-minutes of a service (something we do), rather than our lives (who we are). What’s worse is Christians say, “worship is more than a song,” but continue to relegate the “worship experience” to music — saying one thing and doing another. This is the major issue with Christianity. It is a breeding ground for hypocrisy. I’m saying this as one who was very deep in this system of Christianity and am still having to unlearn the slavery and religion I didn’t think I was learning all that time.
Taking up the stance of “I owe God,” is to say many different things at the same time. It is to say: God requires something of me. I am in debt. I have something of value to give God. God needs me. God is lacking. The list goes on.
It is most interesting to study the Torah and see how YAH instructed Israel to handle debt. YAH understands that a person cannot ever truly be free if they are in debt. This is why our relationship with Him is not based off of debt. Our relationship with Him is based on trust. Society is built on debt/credit and is predicated on a lack of trust and value of people, hence the interest rates and fees.
If you have not learned YAH as your Provider (Father), you have not yet received. If you have not experienced YAH as your Provider, you will accept the weight of providing for yourself (hence the checklist; an attempt to provide validation for yourself). Many of us think we know Him as Provider because we can recount a time or two we were blessed financially or with an opportunity. Unfortunately, we’ll claim He provided for us in those moments, but won’t let Him provide true validation (we’ll keep seeking it from man). We’ll keep seeking validation through traditions and habitual practices. We’ll refuse to be vulnerable because our standing with Him depends upon us being our “very best.” If you have not learned YAH as your Provider, you have nothing to give.
This means all your religion has been given from an empty place. Religion is always empty. So, you’ll likely return to the altar still feeling like you’re not good enough. You’ll likely return to the altar to “rededicate” your life to Him. You’ll likely return to the altar to have an emotional experience through worship. You’ll likely return to that church service faithfully to never jeopardize the validation that comes from man.
The foundation upon which you’ve built your faith could be what’s keeping you from experiencing true freedom. If you are willing to examine your heart over the next year for any ideology that says, “I owe God” or “I owe God because __,” do it. There’s so much freedom on the other side!