Thank you to brother Marlin for sharing his heart with this writing. I pray that the manifold grace of God is also received by you –
Do you remember the moment that God first spoke to your heart and convicted you of your sin? Well, I will never forget the night the Lord opened my eyes to who and what I really was. For twenty-one years I had convinced myself that I was a sure enough decent fellow, “a good ole boy,” you know. My parents had raised me with manners and respect for others and I figured that was good enough.
Here is a great blog post by a sister in-Christ that gives great guidance to the abused. In my opinion, it has a great top 10 list for real Christian love. Also, the 4 points she makes on finding real love as a Christian is just as good as the top 10. Great wisdom. I love the title of her post too – To get the right one, ya gotta be the right one. Too often we look externally/selfishly at what we want instead of focusing on what God says we need.
Top 10 ways to Christian Love
- Listen without interrupting. (Proverbs 18)
- Speak without accusing. (James 1:19)
- Give without sparing. (Proverbs 21:26)
- Pray without ceasing. (Colossians 1:9)
- Answer without arguing. (Proverbs 17:1)
- Share without pretending. (Ephesians 4:15)
- Enjoy without complaint. (Philippians 2:14)
- Trust without wavering. (Corinthians 13:7)
- Forgive without punishing. (Colossians 3:13)
- Promise without forgetting. (Proverbs 13:12)
#1) Seek a true relationship with Jesus Christ. (Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you). There is NO relationship that can stand without God at the center of it.
#2) Quit looking! Let God “bring” into your life the one HE has chosen for you. (2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?) This does not mean just that they believe in God, even the devil believes in God and trembles because of Him. They also need a true relationship with Jesus Christ. Loving God first and foremost.
#3) Make sure they are of God. Keep in mind the devil knows what you are looking for also. (Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?) Just because someone teaches a Sunday School class or sings in a choir or even confesses to be a christian, doesn’t necessarily mean their heart is right.
#4) Do they reflect the true biblical love of God, not just hearers of the Word but doers also. (James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.) Keep in mind again, even the devil knows God’s Word but he doesn’t DO IT. Not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord is a christian.
When I was living a life full of selfish desires and a believer questioned my lifestyle, my first response was, “Who are you to judge?!” or “Who that is without sin may cast the first stone!” Basically, I used their belief against them in order to evade the truth that they spoke. It was an attempt at making them the scapegoat for my sin. This scripture was front and center in my life:
Romans 1:21-25 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
The fact is, I played a dangerous game of evading because the pride of life does not like wrongdoing to be revealed. The challenge is that my pride and self-serving ideologies did not make the truth all of a sudden untruth. It was merely scapegoating to keep myself puffed up and feeling ok in my sin – turning the truth into a lie. The problem with this is that I was holding onto the lie (the sin). It’s an attempt to remove my sin from the spotlight so I could feel better.
What is found in the midst of this is a portion of the gospel at work. My conscience bared witness to the truth and it made me uncomfortable. It did not feel good to be revealed, thus I glorified Him not as God, but became vain in my imaginations. My heart was darkened and was blinded by stinking pride. When truthfully examined, I wanted this feeling taken away. The only way I knew how to do this was to make someone else the problem. It’s evading, scapegoating.. It’s a redirection tactic to take the sin and try to make it the problem of someone else. This is exactly what I am attempting in such a situation –
Leviticus 16:8-10 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
It is an attempt to get rid of my sin by making someone else the scapegoat. It goes like this in my member: The truth of God hits, it’s uncomfortable, there is a need to eliminate this uncomfortable feeling, and I play the evading game by making another person or circumstance the scapegoat. “He/She made me…”, “Well, if this thing would not have happened..”, “You’re just acting all holier than thou!”, “Judge not!”, “Who is without sin may cast the first stone!”.. or, in simpler/more accurate terms: “I chose to act in this manner and instead of confessing my wrongdoing (humility/agreement with God), I’m scapegoating/evading the truth (pride/disagreement with God).” The problem with this is that it’s deception at its finest. I’m trying to cover my sin by using justifications v. agreement with the truth. We end up deceiving ourselves. We are trying to cover our sin through deceptive means. This is an internal spiritual response to the Light hitting our darkened areas, but we end up trying to atone for our wicked wrongdoings ourselves by hiding it and making someone else/something else the scapegoat.
There is only one Real Scapegoat.. His name is Jesus Christ. This Scapegoat takes our sin and replaces it with His Righteousness. The real Scapegoat has taken the sin –
John 1:29 The next day John seen Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
Reader, if you believe in God, please examine yourself. Our pride will deceive us. I’ve done it, many others have done it, and Jesus has healed us of our blindness. There is a point of breaking through the pride and being humble.. being truthful. When we think we are above this and/or we think we are not partaking in this lie, we are blinded. Ask Christ to help with the correct vision. It takes humility.
In summary, God is Light. The Light is Truth. The Truth has been revealed in the Word of God/Jesus Christ. When the Light hits our darkness, it doesn’t feel good. At this moment, we want this not-so-good-feeling taken away, thus we must take action to cover it. We can only choose 1 of 2 paths to appease the conscience:
- Disagree with the Light – Remaining blind, full of self, pride, etc. We ultimately end in an attempt to fulfill the gospel ourselves by making someone else or something else the scapegoat. Fully evading the real Truth of the matter, which is the fact that we have incorrectly exercised our free will.
- Agree with the Light – Humbling ourselves, confessing and repenting of our sins, and trusting in Jesus as our Scapegoat.
1 John 1:5-10 This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and are not in the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
I highly recommend this book – The People of the Lie. –
A predominant characteristic of the behavior of those I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts, they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection. The evil do not serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to themselves. In fact, they don’t bear it at all. And it is out of their failure to put themselves on trial that their evil arises. – M. Scott Peck
Praise God for the Body of Christ, thank you Lord. You surely are a help in time of need and you give the strength of an eagle when needed. Here is a testimony of God’s confirming word. It’s restful, peaceful, and edifying to know that I’m in relationships with the right people. I pray this testimony blesses and edifies you too –
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
Last night, I was invited to a gathering of prayer by a couple of brothers. They were unable to call and inform me that the place of prayer was not opened and plans had changed. That’s ok, as all things work together for the good for those that love God. I pray this water giving testimony blesses your heart.. Thank you Lord
Keeping track of words from God that are speaking to me in response to prayer. These entries may not make sense to you because you don’t know what I’m praying. :) At any enjoy the scripture if you do read.. I pray He speaks to you through the scripture pertaining to your walk with God and your life.
Forgiveness is a willingness to move in the opposite spirit. It’s easy to be nice to people who are nice to you, but how do you react to people who are mean and hurtful to you? Dr. Dennis Rainey says, “The way to become willing [to forgive] is to trade the insult-for-insult relationship for a blessing-for-insult relationship.”*
Doug Easterday says, “If someone is being unkind, what is the opposite? Be kind to them. If someone is berating you and being negative and demeaning, what’s the opposite? Being encouraging, building him or her up and loving him or her. I believe that as you walk in the opposite spirit, you can expect God to work on your behalf.”
God responds the same to all people. Jesus said the Father “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). His actions are based on who He is, not on how people treat Him or respond to Him. We are called to follow His example. In the Bible, Jesus offers a foundational new view for everyone who believes in Him and chooses to live for Him.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . . . If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? . . . And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? . . . Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-44, 46-48).
Holy Spirit, I can only do this through Your strength and enabling. I want to walk in the light of Your perfection. Amen.
Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.
Galatians 5:19-26 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, quarreling, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.