The Christian Recliner
Is there such a thing as putting too much trust in God? This is something I experienced and just woke up from the Christian Recliner. I pray this blesses you and wakes anyone else up from being asleep as a Christian..
I’ve put things that are my responsibility on His plate to handle.. i.e. “Whew.. there ya go God.. I can’t do this. I have faith in you to do this work in me! Praise the Lord!” – and what I’ve done is went overboard. I put things that were my responsibility on His plate. What happened? There was a misunderstanding of some recent studies on absolute surrender to God.
The Christian recliner I’m referring to is when we fail to take responsibility in areas that are ours to be owned. We are responsible agents and play a huge role for the Lord’s work in our salvation. He’s the author and finisher of it.. The Word doesn’t say, “He’ll do it all.. sit back and relax in your cozy Christian recliner.” We have responsibilities, according to His Word, that cannot be ignored. In the Word, we find many responsibilities that we have as Christians. Our conduct, attending Church, reading the word, praying, confessing and repenting, striving towards the goal, etc.
For instance, we must exercise our will to repent from sin. I have said things like, “God, you do this work of repentance in my life. *ahh* much better. *Whew!* Now I’m at peace.. It feels so great to get this burden off of my shoulders. “His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.” – Hallelujah! Amen! Awesome, I don’t have to do anything, He’s got it! You’re the Vine! I’m the branch! I just kick back.. you and the Father will do this work in me.” – The Christian Recliner.. giving our responsibilities as a Christian up to God (or ignoring them all together). It feels great.. peaceful.. all ends up feeling really really good. I felt a huge spiritual uprising in my life.. All was going great! The problem? The evidence proved that nothing happened, no change. Why? Because I completely ignored my responsibilities..
We have to be wise and watchful as Christians.. not sitting back in a recliner, snoozing away. We can’t continue to do the same thing, over and over… and expect something to change. It won’t. If things aren’t changing, I need to always go to God and say, “What am I missing? Why isn’t this work of purification happening in ___ area in my life? I know it’s your good will for me and you wouldn’t withhold such a thing in my life.. so what am I missing? What am I not doing that I should be doing? Or, what am I doing that I shouldn’t be doing?”
…and He said, “You’re missing your responsibilities. Repent. Get in the Word. Pray.” – Get out of your recliner Christian.
Hebrews 12:2-4 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, unless you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Hi Joseph, I wonder if there is a balance to what you are saying here. There are some things we as Christians sort of “know” we are supposed to do. It takes a while for us to work out what these things are, because as baby Christians we will tend sometimes to do what our church or favorite preacher says…if the church says memorize Bible verses, etc., for example, some of us do this, thinking this is what God requires for all of us.
As we mature I think we sometimes come to understand things differently from God’s point of view. For example, my memory is fading, so for me there is frustration in trying to remember verses. On the other hand, there are some verses that speak to me so much that I try to retain them for a while, because they may be teaching me things that God has been trying to work in me for a long time, and I resonate with these verses. And so I try to follow the path that is edifying for me. By edifying, I don’t necessarily mean the easy path, because what God seems to require of me sometimes is not at all easy.
But the point is that I try to follow the spirit as He leads…if a person doesn’t know what they should be manifesting in terms of “works”, it would be better to ask God to show them what they should be pouring forth from their lives. When we pour forth correctly, these fruits should taste good to us to a degree, unlike dead works, which like rotted fruit becomes corruptible.
A person might ask whether they should be fasting, for example, and then if there may be a “yes” from God, there might be the asking about fasting from what? If it is from food, then is the fasting for one meal a day for a time, or what? What God has for us to accomplish should bring us into a peace with perhaps a tension. There may be a quiet tension because the flesh will not appreciate being dismantled. But more so, there should be a peace that this is the way of God that I should walk in. If the tension makes one cranky and irritable you may be overdoing your sentence to the flesh, and may need to pace yourself a bit. The focus should be on following God in peace and not in human perseverance. The flesh avails nothing. We should crucify our own dead works, yet there should be some type of offering(s) to God from our lives which gives a fragrance to God which smells of life everlasting. Spirit Presence, but not pressure.
Yet Jesus shows us this high way of “resisting unto blood, striving against sin”. This for me is so far above where I am at, and I would imagine where most Christians are. To pray so intensely to God, that one would not offend Him, to keep oneself from straying ways, to pour oneself out like butter (or blood) and cringe at the thought of perhaps putting God’s pleasure on the brink. Not that we would worry that we would not be perfect or unforgivable, but that we so intensely identify with God’s desires that we would break in the way that He breaks when we humans do not desire His desires.
This is co-unity with God, when we would cry internally at the slightest thought that would not blossom into lilies in God’s heart. Yet there would be the knowing of forgiveness. This kind of thinking seems so foreign to me that it seems unattainable, but it is not. But only grace can lead you into this kind of thinking. Human striving is simply our way of trying to deny that Jesus saves. Yet striving to put a smile on God’s face is evidence of his glory being shared in us.
With that out of the way, I’d like to share a little internet discovery, a way to find some of the best Christian writings. (If you have spent seemingly fruitless hours online trying to find inspired writings, you might like this.)
1) Go to Amazon.com (or other book website you like)
2) Once on Amazon, click on “Books”
3) Under “Department” click on Christian Books & Bibles
4) Click on, say, Christian Living
5) Now you can sort (near the top on the right) by Avg. Customer Review.
What comes up is pages of 5 star rated books. The one with the most reviews may be at your local library. Most of the books will allow you to read a sample to see if you like the material. This is for those of you who like to pursue God’s different ways of revealing Himself…
Sometimes there will be “most helpful” reviews which will give you a decent summary of the book. If the book appeals, you may be able to find the author on Youtube or a related site. Or infrequently there may be a pdf file of the book online. Or you may find quotes by the author online, (assuming you don’t want to buy the book but like the author’s message).
Anyway just a way to find some excellent living words…
Sorry to divert from your message in this way Joseph, but it wouldn’t be right to not share this, ’cause its been good reading.
Being at peace without reclining but resting but hopefully pursuing, Mark
Oops sorry Joseph maybe you can delete one of my responses above. Mark
This was very good – “Not that we would worry that we would not be perfect or unforgivable, but that we so intensely identify with God’s desires that we would break in the way that He breaks when we humans do not desire His desires.”
Getting the mind off of self and onto Him… Off of the “reward system” of salvation and onto what is just, right and true. Truly loving God.. as He loves us. A great unity..
As always, thanks for sharing brother. I pray others are edified by your post, in Jesus name. amen.