Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Abiding In Christ (developed from a four year old post, so if this sounds familiar to you, thanks for being a faithful reader!)

Think about going through your day to day life. Involvement in a discussion at work bounces back and forth between dual levels of communication. With a co-worker, we  speak in the expected or required. Yet, in the case of a co-worker we have befriended, as well, we seamlessly switch back and forth between "professional" and "casual" registers of speech. The cadence, vocabulary, and intent of the thoughts involved to speak on these two levels are accomplished with very little calculation. We are the trained worker and our natural self at once. 

For example, we are communicating professionally with the employee-friend who quips unprofessionally about the work, a customer, the weather or the President. A rejoinder in kind out of our mouth is immediate. That answer back, detached from the professional mode of speaking, springs from whom we are emotionally and largely separated identity-wise from the moment before when we were fully engaged in professionalism. The professional register is put on and maintained to meet the job requirements, but underneath this vocal register and its thinking is our personality constant in its residence of our soul. This dual condition is an "abiding" in our casual personality while fully engaged in the “dress” of professional responsibilities.

Now think about how on top of it all, we run “sub-programs” of thought where we comment to ourselves, feel things in response, notice details and make mental observations. The inner self exists with links to our dispositions shaped by our born natures, our experiential nurturing, and our adult, active choices. We experience the level of exchange with others in the outer world simultaneously with our on-going observation, analysis, and emotional response of the inner-person. When the personal or casual register is employed with others, we speak from the condition--whatever it is--of this inner sub-program. This inner level is our soul and its state.

“Abiding in Christ” simply means monitoring the flow of the inner sub-program and accepting training of this inner person. Therefore we actively make decisions to keep the inner thoughts and feelings lined up with a knowing of our life-force as alive from Christ. Since He has brought about our redemption and rebirth in Spirit, and we exist in His Presence. The soul, its feelings and thoughts, are not what is important. Thoughts and feelings are experienced and are indicators, but these are not the reason one exists. His Truth is important. Living as a vessel filled by Him achieves His purpose and is why we exist. This is what is important.

We train the inner flow by acts of will to reject thoughts or feelings that are not of Jesus. We  learn instead to wait upon God and utilize the resulting peace this abiding produces as the basis of stirring up love, patience, gentleness, and on. Making such active, "fruitful" decisions is a function of an individual's will.

Feeling insecure or uncertain? Does He feel insecure or uncertain? Revenge or hate? Does He want revenge against or experience hate for other humans? Feeling afraid and want comfort? Does He wish to escape reality and provide Himself wanton pleasures? No. Neither does your new creature in Him. So, we must sort the inner world. We seek to know His in-dwelling reality of supernatural love which is His Spirit and which we feel with Him. We seek to have His light shine upon and convict when our thoughts and feelings are simply of our soul. We seek to have His light confirm when we are resting in Him. The mechanism which enables this understanding and insight is the connection between a Living God, who in every moment is personally engaged with us, and our conscience. If a conscience can be seared, is it not also made more sensitive? An ever more sensitive conscience is evidence of a growing maturity in the spirit of Jesus.

Maintaining this attitude might be called taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Walking through life monitoring this inner flow and thus actively seeking a sensitive conscience will guide what springs from our casual register of speech in day to day life. This is a function of knowing we are with Jesus and appears to others as an unusual ability to love.

We are…abiding in spirit.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's Been Said Before

We are told to speak the truth in love. Why? Love separated from truth does not destroy truth, as truth cannot be destroyed. However, love separated from truth opens the soul to confusion over the nature of authority, superstition about spiritual matters and licentiousness of the body. What the world needs, as it has needed, is love. The church in America purports to offer the Truth. When the rank and file of the church – not its high-sounding rhetoric or social justice or political activism -- manifests the love that offers truth without condemnation, hospitality over tradition, and water for one's enemies, then the spoken message of truth will be credible.

The modern American experience in and out of the Body of Christ is an emphasis on the intellect. The result is that we are in the midst of a culture which has benefited us all by any prosperity measure one cares to examine, but which has also failed us humans emotionally.  That failure is the cut off from understanding and fostering healthy emotional growth. We feel our hearts but are cut off from factoring in this component of ourselves effectively in every day life. We either are over the top with passions we insist make life meaningful (an over emphasis on "loves" that are of the earth and not of the Kingdom), or some manifest a coldness of demeanor that would frighten a statue in the park (an over emphasis on strict adherence to words of truth). Most of us are a pile of emotional confusion that survives by coping mechanisms intended to control our heart. We cannot fathom how to release our hearts without fear of the consequences. Aside: the general population regards such coping as emotional maturity.

This is a spiritual issue, of course. Moving from the general population to the Kingdom of Our Father and Creator is the remedy. Praise His name forever for the love, compassion and grace that has enabled such a rebirth! However, the church generally is a mixture of the falsehoods of coping clothed in Christianese and the Truth of wholeness between heart and mind found in spirit life. This unfortunate circumstance is not to be condemned, as it is part of the path. However, it can be remedied. 

The individual Christian must be encouraged and supported through fellowship in the growth of the heart and a walk with and by the Holy Spirit. Such a walk both eliminates the dangerous passions we mistakenly think are an expression of life and brings forth a warmth from heaven resulting in powerful actions reflecting the wholeness of Jesus.