Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fill the Hole

The remedies for the pain of hole and wound appear relatively simple: to fill the hole, find God; to alleviate the pain of the wound, be healed. It is that simple. But … a rambunctious goat butts in here. (This goat and I have butted around often!) Disobedience.

Php 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

Notice that the daily walk of life after salvation is tied to obedience.

Back up a bit. We are born with this huge gap between our natural, fallen heart and the divine nature of the Holy Father. Even if raised in a Christian home in which words of truth point to Jesus, our response to the way the hole makes us feel is do something to build ourselves a bridge to being filled. Raised in any circumstances, people attack the hole seeking adequacy, or power, or pleasure. The consequence is digging the hole deeper!

Then God has mercy and reveals Himself to the stuck-the-miry-clay soul. Allowing for great variance of individual how’s and why’s, this soul believes in faith that Jesus is the Messiah, sent from God. The Resurrection is real. This we call salvation. The convert lacks knowledge of the way, however. Life is learning this. Life after salvation is learning obedience…in fear and trembling.

At first, the emotional response to the beauty and wonder of what has happened carries the babe forward. As this wanes, the babe believer is likely receiving mixed messages on what obedience means, especially if the soul has entered the door of Jesus through association with a legalistic group. Every time the believer chooses a heart stance toward self-effort disguised as “obedience to God” yet is instead again building his bridge to adequacy, power, or pleasure, the soul has backed away from faith and entered into disobedience.

Though God has done everything needed to fill the hole, the believer unwittingly opens the hole again and begins to dig into the abyss of self. I think we call these times by religious lingo such as, “I am having a dry time with the Lord.” Which is certainly a true statement; but it enables hiding from what is truly going on, the "empty" feeling is a function of disobedience.

The lost person is seen as hiding from God by the Christian. We evangelize by attempting to reason with a lost person saying things like, “You are hiding from God by keeping yourself too busy to hear;” or “You are so absorbed in your pain that you will not let God in.” In either case, the following might be said to the one lost in sin, “Let go of you. Your remedy for the pain is not working. Trust God.”

Do those words not apply to the Christian using religious self-effort? What is the issue?


Obedience to what?

The Word?

Yes, the Word, but this understood through biblical teaching in the NT means Jesus in-dwelling the believer. There is an inward reality that is perfect guidance. Obedience to the Word within fills the hole, places a rock above the spot and gives the believer something to stand upon regardless of all circumstances in life.

Here is the verse above with a little more context:

Php 2:12-13

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

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