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Appeasing the gods..Pagan practice in Christians lives

July 16, 2007

 

   We have Christian “myths” that we live with and do not even know it. One of the most prevalent myths is the idea that our external circumstances are the result of making God happy or mad at us.

   We live in on a roller coaster controlled by indwelling sin that takes us down hard and fast. We know we cannot be perfect, but we try and try and try. How many of you have thought that a bad turn at work was the result of punishment for sin, then wondered why God has blessed blasphemers and atheists. How often do we attribute something good that happens as the result of our appeasing God with a moments worth of faithfulness?

  How many times have we come “back” to God because we think our daily struggles are the result of sin, then when all is smooth again we fall back into our godless habits and lifestyle?

  There are some biblical patterns that move our thinking in that direction, but we to often divorce these moments from the view of relationship. Rather, we tend to view these events as hard fast rules governed by a Being we feel we have to keep happy for our peace of mind and prosperity.

 The myth is that we change how God treats us on a day to day basis. We view our wrongs as the reason God is punishing us, and our rights as reasons God is blessing us.

The truth is that God sees us as just and justified in Christ.

but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:4-7  ESV

Our justification is the direct legal result of our renewal by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. God does not see us as just and unjust according to our works. We do not earn or appease his displeasure because we are good today but bad tomorrow.  1 Corinthians 6:11 says the same thing,

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Romans 10:10

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Romans 5:1 sums up my point here:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we [1] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our justification is a gift of grace (Rom 3:24) given by the renewal from the God the Holy Spirit because of, or through our, faith in Christ. Our faith itself is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9) and our faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) God has given us everything to be in the right relationship with him.

 

Sooo….if our standing with God is always “good” then why do we have these ups and downs? How do we know they are from pleasing or displeasing our Lord? Why do we seem to struggle where those that hate God prosper?

The connection is relationship. God moves us toward growing in our love for him as sons to a caring, long suffering, father.

Rom 8:15,23 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Gal 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Eph 1:5 he predestined us[1] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

 

Certainly our sin can cause the delay and even loss of earthly gifts. There are also so many other things that God has not removed from us in spite of our sin. It is shallow and narrow minded of us to read into every situation as approval or disapproval from God. He is not a tea-leaf or a fortune cookie.  God is a father, moving us toward a pure relationship with him. A relationship that is grown and cultivated by love and adoration.  Just as our earthly fathers disciplined us for growth and maturity, so does God:

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?  “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.- Heb 12:3-11

Rather than reading our daily events as blessings or cursings from God, we must read our heart and relationship with Him.

God is not a pagan deity that has to be appeased with the rising of every new sun.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2007 10:43 am

    Josh.
    Good thoughts on the subject. My struggle comes in the form of the daily “supposed to do” things that we have come up with. These are not bad to do every day and probably should be done multiple times a day, but my struggle usually does not involve serving God through serving others, my struggle comes in the perseverance in personal prayer and Bible study…I go through these times like a roller coaster and that is the most frustrating thing in my life…

  2. Kymanika permalink
    July 17, 2007 2:41 pm

    Thanks Seth,

    Most my posts come from reflecting on my own growth in the faith. I figured most would indentify with me here. :-)

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