Saturday, June 18, 2011

Self and legalism

How utterly difficult it is to get some devoted folks to realize that all their efforts to be good, all their rules based on the Sermon on the Mount about how to live a holy life...is a subtle spiritual trick of self. They try in their own strength to forgive their enemies, they try in their own strength to die to self!... when all that is needed is Jesus making us die to self.

It's easier for a monk to give up on the world than to give up on Self.

The Lord generally doesn't explain things to our human understanding. The Lord explains things to our spiritual understanding. This is one reason why God uses dreams and Jesus uses parables.

We can do NOTHING of our own will. Repeat: we can do NOTHING of our own strength. This is difficult for folks to understand, but I repeat.... even when we try to be holy in our own strength, the way the human spirit works is that all this striving and "will-worship" will lead us to either failure or success...and this success will lead us to trusting in self for our own righteousness.

What changes us or makes us holy? Only the word of God purifying us from within. Read the word ..not to pride ourselves in how holy we are that we have read the word...but read the word because the very act of reading it makes the word alive in us. We do not change ourselves by reading the word and deciding to be good. We read the word and see the mirror of ourselves and our God in the word....and when we understand it...then the word itself changes us. Again, the word doesn't change us because we decide to change. But the word changes us because we have read and understood it. It is God inside us Who does the work.

The same goes for preaching. We cannot trust that preaching will convince anyone of anything. The greatest sermon is nothing unless God chooses to use it. The worst sermon is the height of power if God chooses to use it. Anyone can love a great oration, anyone can be stirred to love God because of a great sermon, anyone can be made to feel guilty because of a great sermon. But the sermon that causes someone to FOREVER part from his self, the world, the devil, his legalism, his own self-righteousness, his strange/childhood/wrong notions of God and coming to see and truly enter into a relationship with God as God truly is...only God can do that.

The same goes for praying for the sick or healing. If we have perfect faith, perfect holiness, and we pray for the sick trusting in our knowledge and holiness and faith, nothing will happen. When we pray for the sick we must be aware that God is in us working God's will, and we (with our faith and holiness) are nothing. Then miracles occur. In all things, we must forsake self, deny self, look away from self. 
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