Thursday Evening, November 22, 2001
Hi! : ) Don’t let yourselves be pressured or blackmailed by anyone anytime who wants to “join in” to “the church life.” I’m not saying some meals now and again with those of questionable devotedness to Light-Walking aren’t fine sometimes, just don’t be pressured by them. Anyone who “sees something happening” and wants to “join in”—is suspect. They either already love Jesus, and you, and are demonstrating that “through thick and thin” in daily non-elaborate life, or they may well be “using” God (and His Work) to gratify self-life (though “religious” self-life seems so noble!) TRUE Christianity is a CROSS, not a theme park; it is a love relationship, not a “hot date.”
To continue with this rather foolish and worldly-minded thing called “dating” as an analogy: When you’re young—a pretty face motivates the average unSpiritual young person dramatically. Attractive appearance, money, complimentary words, a “fun” personality, charm, upward mobility and worldly measurements of intelligence, the “right” age or education or skin color…these are extremely motivating to the average young person seeking a relationship with the opposite sex. Even unregenerate men and women, as their hormones settle and they grow and are sobered into wisdom by life experiences—even those without the Spirit—usually come to realize that when they were young, they weren’t even looking for the things that mattered the most! The most important qualities of a relationship are not the shape or color of the bag of carbon and water, or their money or wit (those things can, and almost certainly will, change dramatically as seasons come and go). The qualities that really make a relationship weren’t even considered in those early years, as the ego and hormones and childish foolishness and worldly training by parents, peers, and Hollywood had made them blind. The truly important issues emerge from the haze of self-life and worldliness as we grow older and wiser. Loyalty, trustworthiness, patience, endurance, selflessness, sensitivity, vulnerability, humility…the fruit of the mighty tree of God-like love. Those things, and others like them, “last.” The others are sugar-coating on some kind of “pill”—but WHAT?
So, you see the analogy (as also illustrated in a recent letter to a man presumably seeking Jesus, below). The family you speak of, and 10,000 others like them, can never (must never) be intertwined into and included in the daily Events of our lives based on words or notions or so-called “vision” or so-called “doctrine,” or compliments or excitement or loneliness or biological bloodlines or geographic proximity, or common history, or same-aged children, or personality or age or home educational or health food preferences, or conferences attended or common books read! Only skandalon can build lives into HIS “Church Life”—rather than the conjured man-concocted nonsense that uses that name, or “house church,” or “community,” or whatever the next fad will be. We either “lay down our lives for our friends”—through thick and thin, when there’s nothing to join, nothing to belong to, nothing to be invited to—or it is a counterfeit of Life.
Would YOU tell your 3 year-old baby boy that you will love them and be there for them—but only after you’re not too busy with other things, and when they’re old enough to be more interesting and to give you something back? If a person only wants to “come out and play” when there’s something in it for them, they are like the foolish juvenile looking for self-gratification, mentioned above. Or like the deranged “parent” mentioned above. Love doesn’t function like that. And since “God IS love,” the Body of Christ must be built on Christ-like Love—not a “cause” or an “idea” or a “movement” or a “way.” Those things take care of themselves. True Life is born, not in the mind, or out of human desire or need—but is born at the foot of the Cross, with the only goal to live out Isaiah 53, together daily with those who, “from the least to the greatest,” ALL (Acts 2:42-47; Lk. 9:57-62) will live that way as well. “ALL” their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Christ-ianity, rather than man’s sentiment, guilt, fear, ego, superstition, and loneliness—using the Bible as a credo for fulfillment of religious self-life and “community.”
An author of a best-selling golf book recently told me of a bunch of families (golfers) who were wanting to buy some land together in California or South Carolina so they could experience “community.” As long as you have a “rallying point” or common thread to scintillate the flesh, any pack of animals can “nest” together and feel “spiritual”! That is not the Church Jesus said would batter and destroy the very gates of Hell with its hatred of sin and the devil. It is a humanistic, self-serving counterfeit, better known for its cringing at the Light of exposure in daily life, than for its dismantling of the evil empire and its ways in people’s lives.
Moral of the story? Those who will love Light (vulnerability—Jn. 3; 1Jn. 1; Jas. 5; Heb. 3:12-14) and are “not offended” in Skandalon, who are there for a Cross for others—not a show or a club or a buddy or a movement—only those people are welcomed into our lives. The others, those who “would not” (“would not” be gathered—as Jerusalem, as the “rich young ‘ruler’”—and those who “would not” have this Man to be KING over them, they only want to “belong” and have their own way) can only be “visitors” in our lives, until it all means enough to them that Brokenness is evident, and selfless living for Jesus and His is their only priority.
Here is that letter to the man I mentioned earlier who is hopefully finally seeking Jesus:
Hi Eddie… Good to hear from you. I have waited patiently for you to See some things for years now, wanting the REAL thing for you rather than “a good environment for the boys,” or “good day-care” or “free day-care,” or “I want to live a better life,” or “These drugs and evil things are going to kill me if I don’t stop them, so I should get some religion and some good folks to help me quit the bad things and do good things.” All of these things—every one of them (re-read the list!) is total evil self-love, no matter how “admirable” they sound to most religious folks. Those things would just be adding more sin to all of the other sins.
You do what you do for JESUS, no matter what the cost, or if you ever get anything out of it—or it is not conversion at all. There are no “conditions” on Jesus and no way to “use” Him for your own gain or purposes, no matter how “noble” those purposes seem to YOU. That is humanism and self-love and false religion—and we weren’t going to give in to any of those things with you.
I tell you all of this, waiting anxiously (as I have been, we all have been) for many years—to hear of the REAL thing—a LIFE SURRENDERED TO JESUS TOTALLY, without self-centered “strings attached,” or you would feel like you got a raw deal. When it is the real thing, and you are truly Encountering and Saved by Messiah, the Son of God—you will serve Him with all your heart, whether or not you ever “get anything out of it” or not. You will lay down your life for others, regardless of whether you ever get anything in return, or are ever appreciated or recognized or respected or included or anything. You would even gladly go to hell itself for the privilege of loving and obeying Jesus for your short lifetime here. Self-indulgence, drugs, worldly lusts for goodies of any kind—do not have any bearing on your decisions. You are abandoned to whatever He wants for your life. You are motivated by, “HE IS WORTHY”—not by your own desires. That cannot be sabotaged by the enemy, nor can it ever become stale or boring or undesirable. That is how JESUS lived, and the Cross He invites you to “take up daily” for others.
What do you think? Is that what you’ve come to, or are you still trying to climb the fence, rather than to come through the Door? (Jn. 8-10).