Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Lesson in Obedience

Ok! I have put it off long enough!

I can feel God buckling me down like a parent pulling their unwilling child to Disney World. We all really want to go there, but for some reason we put up a stink.

And God wins. He has been calling me to “write” more and more these days. I have not really fought it. Rather, I have just found so many other things that beg my attention. Instead of fighting it I have let is slip to the background.

To be honest, I don’t know which is worse.

Regardless, this morning I heard Him in the middle of my run. He had me stop in the middle of my stride. Turn around. Walk back to my apartment. I showered, got dressed and plopped down.

So here I sit! And having read all that, what am I writing on? Obedience. How does 'Obedience' interact with answering questions on identity, Grant? Hey! I am glad you asked.

It ties in perfectly with something that I wanted to write about any way. I began a teaching about a week ago filling in some gaps about who we are and our identity. (I believe it was titled ‘Who Am I: Your Identity’, or something like it.)

Without further ado, I will go into it now.

To begin, I want to lay a brief foundation about this. It all goes back to Truth vs. Facts.

For years after receiving what I would call 'The Identity Message', I have been drawing the following teaching on napkins, paper towels, the back of my hand and anything else I could to relay it to my willing (and sometimes unwilling!) recipients.

I will teach it the way I have taught up until now, and then throw a wrench into my own machine to show you my mistakes with this teaching.

So, in a nutshell,

There is Truth and there are Facts...

...which can be understood as spiritual and natural (or unspiritual).
When you get saved, you now have Truth residing in you. You can choose to align with the Facts (say, for example, 'I am sick.') OR you could choose to align with the Truth ('Christ says that I am healed, so I agree.')

This sounds foolishness, and it is, but 'He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.' But, it also starts to make theological sense. Follow this...

You are righteous because He says you are righteous in Christ, even though you are unrighteous in the natural.

Again, your healing is a Truth, even though it may not be a Fact yet.

So, in the spiritual, you were made righteous totally and completely by Christ. Nothing can change that or shake that.

In the natural, your body (including your brain and what it tells you about how logical this is or is not) are not yet redeemed. (Read the book of Revelation to find out more about your body being resurrected.)

Faith simply allows what is True in the spiritual to become a Fact in the natural.

You say, "I am sick."
I say, "No, you are healed."
Who is right?
Well, what is your definition of right?

If you believe that the Facts are what is right, then you would be correct. It is a Fact that you are sick. But its not the Truth according to me. I believe that Truth is correct. So even though it is a Fact that you are sick, to me it is not right because it is not Truth.

People who align with Facts are usually prone to simply accept them because, 'Hey! It's a fact. I am sick.'

People who align with Truth are usually prone to reach for more (more healing, more of the miraculous, more of God, etc.) because, 'Hey! God says I can obtain more! I don't have to accept the facts.'

This set me free in a BIG way when it came to dealing with "am I saved or not? Am I going to heaven or not?" I will let you come to your own conclusions here.

I used this concept quite a bit, and it came to be known as "Above the line; Below the line." "Is that 'Above-the-line' thinking, or 'Below-the-line' thinking?" is a phrase I still use often.

And I believe that as an illustration these diagrams can be very useful when understanding the complexity of our spiritual lives, but there is one point I just caught myself on.

I have told people the following when they would talk about knowledge. So many people are so proud of what they know. And I am talking about Christians.

Christians, more than a few, all seem to "know." They "know." They know what God is up to. They have the most accurate knowledge on who God is, and how He operates in the earth. They have the down-low on God. They KNOW. (Just ask them. They will tell you.)

I believe that their heart is wrong in this. It seems to me that they are edifying (idolizing) their brain. They are get their trust from how much they know.

So, my quick and easy retort came to "Well, that is 'Below the line' thinking. I mean, all of your knowledge is not inherently bad. It is good to know all that you know. But it is still wrong."
"Well, how do you mean, Grant?"
"Well, Steve, let's look at the trees in the Garden. What were they?"
"The Tree of Knowledge of Evil, and the Tree of Life."
"Nice try, Steve, but look again. You have the second one right, the Tree of Life. But the first tree, the bad one, is actually the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil."
"What are you saying, Grant?"
That the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is still wrong. God doesn't want us eating from that tree. It's good to know what is good, but its divine (spiritual, righteous, etc. 'above the line') to eat from the Tree of Life.

This is the teaching as I taught it, even as recently as a week or two ago. But it struck me recently that something was wrong here.
What was wrong about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Grant? Why was it bad? I mean, after all, God said that if we ate of it we would be like him, knowing the difference between good and evil.

And we want to be more like Him don't we? So what is the problem?

The problem is obedience.
(You knew I would get back on track, didn't you!)

Obedience is what God was asking for in the Garden. You can call it by a slew of other words:
  • submission
  • total dependence
  • totally receiving His gifts of peace and provision
  • surrender
So, does the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil go above the line or below the line? I mean, it was in the Garden of Eden, so can it be that bad?
That being a wonderful question, I have simply added this thought to my diagram.

There are several things which obviously align with God: redeemed vs. unredeemed, righteous vs. unrighteous, obedient vs. disobedient.

There are other things which should go on here, which are not so obvious; knowledge vs. foolishness, healed vs. sick, rich vs. poor, etc.

Now, I have chosen personally to have all that God will allow me to have in this earth; knowledge, healings, riches, miracles, etc. I choose it because I believe He has paid the price for it.

But what would make something like knowledge below the line, or disobedient? What have I seen in my Christian friends as described above that would make me be so critical of it?

I believe that I so hastily put knowledge below the line because the true measuring stick of what goes Above the line or Below the line is that which is like God vs. that which is not like God.

The knowledge that I have seen many Christians exhibit is esteemed in a way that is not like God. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil may not inherently be bad (He planted it in the Garden), but man's disobedience in eating it may have caused our use of it to be not like God, thus below the line.

I thank God that He has corrected this thing in me. I believe that the diagram of Above the Line and Below the Line can be used very well to discover if a belief or action or thought is Godly or not. Used correctly, the diagram can be very helpful. Used incorrectly, much like the Tree of Knowledge, it can itself fall Below the Line!!

I hope you got something out of the much-awaited lesson.

God bless, and have a wonderful day.

No comments: