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Entries in sin (5)

Wednesday
Jan092013

Video: How Preaching Has Failed Us

Most preaching and Christian teaching today leads us to expect to sin.  Jim contrasts this typical understanding of preaching with a New Covenant/New Heart approach that views preaching as a means of affirming and releasing [with the help of the Spirit] the new-hearted desires, appetites, and tendencies that now reside in the Christian's heart. 

New Covenant preaching expects that there is a new-hearted goodness that is awaiting nourishment and release [through community and the Spirit] - a goodness that will grow stronger than any fleshly appetites.

 

View E-book:  "No Longer Prone to Wander"

 

Wednesday
Dec142011

Your heart is your ally, not your enemy.

Most Christians believe that their heart is an opponent; a cancer to be beat, or an unruly dog to be tamed.


Usually, they've ended up with that belief because, though their beliefs came from the bible, they weren't biblical.  The belief that their heart is still corrupt and wicked even after Jesus has taken up residence there, was often formed, not from a composite and whole picture from Scripture, but from select passages ripped from context.

Until about 8 years ago, I too had developed what I thought was a biblical assumption about my heart and its motives:  concluding that my heart would lead me astray because it was attracted to sin.

Here are some of those select passages and even worship songs upon which many Christ-followers have built a theology that assumes their heart is still wicked:

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me."  [Ps. 51:19] 
[You might remember the Keith Green song here.]

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure."  [Jeremiah 17:9]


"Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.  Bind my wandering heart to thee."  [Hymm: "Come Thou Fount']

Cherry-picking selected passages and forming a complete theology would be like eating each ingredient of a cake by itself:  First, eating the raw eggs, then eating the half-cup of salt, then eating the raw flour.  The whole and completed cake tastes nothing like the individual ingredients separated-out.

Your heart is your ally now:  aligned with God's own spirit.  Your heart is your advocate, not your adversary.

Here's a modern translation of what Luther affirmed over 300 years ago:

"For faith in Christ gives us the Holy Spirit, who gives us new hearts, and stirs those hearts so that we may now willingly pursue God's best."   -Martin Luther

Your heart is your ally, not your enemy.

 

Related posts:

Video:  The 'Prone to Wander' Myth

Podcast:  God Without Religion, with guest author, Andrew Farley.

 

 

Monday
Apr252011

Indulge Your New Nature

A friend of mine told me that because of the message he was hearing in church each week, he expected to sin.  He didn't expect to love well, follow in Christ's footsteps, or live in the strength of the Holy Spirit.  He expected to sin.

His Christian leaders taught him to expect that.

And this is the message being offered most Christians on any given week.

It's like a Christian suffering with an addiction,  confirming the worst [and least important] thing about him at the weekly meeting:

"Hi.  My name is _______, and I'm an alcoholic."

Stop right there:  Your behavior and struggle is no longer a reliable indicator of your identity.  No matter how it feels to you, you are under a different, more powerful influence. 

The problem with the expectation to sin is that it contradicts the already-remarkable work of Jesus in the Christian.  Rather than fearing we'll indulge dangerous desires, seductive temptations, or selfish ambitions, we ought to think about indulging our new nature. 

  • Bing on our new goodness.

  • Dote on our new, God-given passions and desires.

  • Cater to our circumcized hearts.

  • Nourish our new purity.

  • Pander to our new heart's super-natural potency.

By the way, this is exactly what the Holy Spirit is up to in you:  he is releasing the new and noble goodness he's birthed in your new heart.  He's inviting you to the bash he's throwing there and waiting to see what kinds of unadulterated love gets stirred up in you, spilling and splashing onto those who need your life.  Your new heart is a wellspring of life cascading out and advancing into barren places.  Indulge your new goodness and let it come out and play.


Friday
Nov052010

How can you feel 'wretched' and good at the same time?

How can the apostle Paul call himself a "wretched man" -- overcome by sin; yet also see himself as a new creation, claiming that he's really not "controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit?"  Which is it, Paul?

Doesn't he seem to be forgetting his own God-given goodness, his new and noble nature, when he calls himself "wretched?" 

John Lynch, co-author of True Faced and Bo's Cafe, has a fresh and more helpful way of looking at "wretchedness:" 

“Wretched”:  Miserable, because of the pain in my regenerate heart of wanting to do what’s right but overcome with my [natural] inability to pull it off.  Only the regenerate mind can grieve over unrighteousness. 

This kind of wretchedness doesn't dismiss the radically-pure nature God has given us: 

Rather, it means, “Wretched through the exertion of hard labor.”  In other words, "I’m so tired of trying to make this work!”

It's the wretchedness of a man who has exhausted himself by trying to live a super-natural life with grossly inadequate, depleted natural reserves:  a man trying to live apart from his new heart and the Spirit's work there.



Saturday
Sep252010

Not likely to sin.

There are some better ways to view temptation:

1.  Sin is not a foregone conclusion.  It's a lie that you're likely to give in.  You've been taught to see yourself, your heart, as weak and prone to wander.  It's no longer true.  You don't merely have the forgiveness of Jesus -- you have the noble heart of Jesus as well.

2.  The object of your sin [a woman, a guarantee of financial security, a drink] isn't what you really want.  The temptation is a false and shallow substitute for the real thing.  Underneath the tempation is a deeper [and good] desire for life and loving connection

So how can you walk with God and others --  to trust him for the life your heart most deeply wants and needs;  fulfilled in healthy, life-giving ways?

Feel free to post a comment below.