Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Divine Viewpoint Thinking

And do not be conformed to this world
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,  

so that you may prove what the will of God is, 
that which is good and acceptable and perfect
Romans 12:2

What does it mean to have Divine Viewpoint Thinking?

The first step is to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 
This can only be accomplished through God's Truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

We must also come to grips with the fact that we all approach the actions and affairs of our life, 
either from a human viewpoint or a divine viewpoint.

This includes those who see themselves as living a Christian or spiritual life. 
The first question that we must all ask ourselves is ...
Which viewpoint best describes me?

Paul clarifies these viewpoints with his explanation of the difference between Christ-like love and the loving ways of mere men.  “but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”  1 Corinthians 13:10-11

According to the Apostle Paul, our thinking before Christ is comparable to that of a child and after we become born again and controlled by the love of Christ, we are to become mature men or women and do away with childish things. But Paul also explains earlier that many who have trusted their eternal life to Christ are still following their feelings, pride, and lust … and living not as mature men; but rather the immature children feeding on milk only, and unable to yet eat solid food. 

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.  I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 

The milk he refers to here represents those biblical teachings that are easy to receive and understand. The milk of the Word are those things that often do not test our character. They are easier to receive, like a baby drinks milk. For example, I believed "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" to be true long, before I became a Christian. Milk is often things which we have already accepted to be true. The solid food represents the eternal Truth teachings of God’s Word that in our human nature we do not want to hear, or just do not understand. God's Truth is often contrary to the teachings of the world. The Truth of God often goes against the grain of our feelings, worldly education, and human logic. 

But we are to test all things and our beliefs up against God’s eternal Truth, in order to have the Mind of Christ. Human Viewpoint Thinking does the opposite.

As Christians, Jesus is the foundation of our belief system and understanding. We are to hold our beliefs and ways of thinking accountable to His eternal truth and this results in authentic Christianity. Otherwise; the result is hypocrisy at best. The belief in creation or evolution is a prime example of divine versus human viewpoint thinking. It is not possible to have the mind of Christ and believe that men evolved from a slug. God could have done it that way, but if He did, then He lied to us ... and it is impossible for our perfect God to lie. 

Evolution is man’s atheistic explanation as to why there is no God. How can men believe in God and reject him at the same time? When one chooses evolution, he may as well trust his personal feelings or logic on all other decisions as well. Let's face it ... God's Word is filled with promises, miracles, and biblical absolutes that make NO sense to one's logic and feelings. 

This decision for evolution in actuality renders a person to be his own personal god in and of himself.  Jesus makes it clear how he views Christians who are still following human viewpoint thinking when he says:  “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16

The Apostle Peter is God's example for us of both viewpoints. Peter was walking daily with Jesus, the God of all things; and yet he continually fell back into his old ways of thinking. That's human nature. Jesus deals harshly with Peter in response to his habit of stumbling backwards into his human viewpoint thinking. When Peter contradicted Christ, while following his personal feelings and logic, Jesus would have none of it.

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Matthew 16:21-23

We have heard that “old habits die hard” and that "we can be sincere, but sincerely wrong." Even Peter’s denial of Christ, and his forgiveness by Christ did not cure him of these old habits. That was apparent when later Paul needed to once again rebuke Peter for his false, self-centered ... human viewpoint thinking. 

“But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” Galatians 2:14-16

But by God's grace, Peter was finally transformed by the renewing of his mind and gained Divine Viewpoint Thinking … and he clearly demonstrates this fact over and over again throughout 1st and 2nd Peter. He was able to develop the blessed Divine Viewpoint Thinking that Jesus Christ has promised and provided for each one of us as well.

Here is one of many examples of Peter's Divine Viewpoint Thinking: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”  2 Peter 1:2-11

There you have it … “we may become partakers of the divine nature”

And contrary to popular opinion … God’s eternal Truth is not that difficult to understand.

God bless you my friends, Bob

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Perfect Love

Love is patient, 
love is kind and is not jealous; 

love does not brag and is not arrogant, 
does not act unbecomingly; 

it does not seek its own, is not provoked, 
does not take into account a wrong suffered, 

does not rejoice in unrighteousness, 
but rejoices with the truth; 

bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Whenever I read this chapter the first thing I do is ask myself these questions: 

Are you patient? Are you kind? Do you act unbecomingly? Do you seek your own? Do you easily get provoked? Do you take into account a wrong suffered? Do you rejoice in unrighteousness? Do you rejoice in the truth? Do you bear all things? Do you believe all things? Do you hope all things? Do you endure all things? 

And then the cause of all of my shortcomings and failures becomes clear to me.

Our pride dictates that our love for others is never perfect ... but we can experience Perfect Love in the current moment.

When God listed these qualities of Christ-like love, there is clearly a reason why patience is first on His list. 

When Jesus was asked by Peter; “How many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me … seven times? Jesus replied no, not seven times; but rather seventy times seven times.” Mathew 18:22-23. There should be no end to our forgiveness or patience with others. But in the world, most things are contrary to God’s Love. And the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God.

In other words, our patience is to be like the grace that Jesus continually shows towards each of us. We continue to fail Him day after day, but His Grace and His patience with us never ends.

Christ through His perfect love is able to separate each Christian from their actions and deeds. Jesus is able to do this because He already paid the penalty for our sins of the past, the present, and the future.

The patience that God’s love expects from each of us is a Paradox Principle. It goes against the grain of human feelings and logic. The love of Christ calls us to … from now on … recognize no man according to the flesh, or from a worldly point of view. 2 Corinthians 5:16. Our old ways of reacting when others disappoint us are to pass away. And new ways of seeing things and treating others are to come.

Can you even imagine where we would be in our relationships if everyone were to follow this call for patience that Christ has given each of us? When you meditate on this truth, you can get a glimpse of the way things will be in heaven. 

Love means never taking into an account a wrong suffered. The principle is so easy to understand when we can come to understand the mind of Christ. All of our wrongs suffered by Christ have been forgiven … so what basis do we have to be bitter and angry towards others who have wronged us or hurt our feelings?

Love is not provoked. To be provoked is the opposite of being patient. And when provoked we are likely to have outbursts of anger, or to allow for a seed of bitterness or resentment to grow within our hearts and minds. Paul explains that to stumble here is when we give the devil an opportunity to establish a stronghold in our life. Ephesians 4:26-27

It is impossible to fail if we patiently wait on Christ, and trust in the love of Christ. How do we know this? Well, the eternal truth tells us that Christ-like love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

That’s right (never fails) … another one of those biblical absolutes that the world likes to deny. When we are resting in the love of Christ, and modeling the love of Christ, we can never ever fail. But wait a minute you say, I tried that and It didn’t work with my husband, or my wife, or my children or my friends? Did you really? Did you … rejoice with the truth, and bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things? All means all, and that’s all, all means. All and never are eternal absolutes that reach beyond the understanding and imagination of men.

Somehow most times, feelings and pride always seem to come into play and rob us of our peace and joy.  To endure all things requires for us to rise above our human feelings and logic. When we are abiding in Christ, we are no longer controlled by the things and the people of this world. Christ tells us that we are to no longer to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

I know this appears impossible and that we all fail continually, but with God all things are possible. We are able to abide above in our mind here and now; therefore it is a matter of fixing our mind on Christ, and resting in Him and His eternal Truth.

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

The child that Paul speaks of here refers to all of us before we knew Christ as our Lord and Savior. The man he speaks of is the one who has chosen to change his foolish, worldly, and self-centered ways. He has done away with those foolish, prideful, and lustful ways that result in failure, fear, hopelessness, and discouragement. Our vision is clouded by the things of the world, and we cannot see clearly the path that Christ has prepared for us. While we remain here on earth, the best we can do is to be faithful; and to rest in the hope that he has promised us; and to allow the Love of Christ to control our hearts and minds, as he accomplishes his will through the remaining days of our lives. 

His Perfect Love can be ours to enjoy.
We can live the victory Christ promises here and now.
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Love is patient ... is the beginning of enjoying all that the Love of Christ promises each of us.

God bless you my friends, Bob