Expenditures (excerpt from Neutral Ground)
We must find neutral ground to hear God. This means that we must not base decisions according to principles or our opinions, we must discern the body, and we must get rid of the garbage in our hearts and minds in order to really hear Him. When we yield to God the Word becomes flesh, and it flows!
(an excerpt, a few minutes, from a time the church was together….)
From Neutral Ground: To Hear and Experience God
There are any number of things that can get in our hearts and cloud us and keep us from being able to hear God, such as holding opinions or vantage points, the way we are wired, our perspective, or our past theology and present theology.
For instance, God wants us to be wise stewards of our money. Therefore, we tell ourselves, to spend “X” amount of dollars on “X” thing would be too much money and therefore outside of God’s will, so it’s not up for consideration. “I’m not going to do it, that would be a waste of money, that’s too much….” We have taken something that’s true—God wants us to be wise stewards of our money—and have filtered it through our own interpretation, our own opinion of finance and American economy, and the other things that have become a part of who we are. We have added these things to that vantage point, where it’s not exactly the same any more.
It’s our job, if Jesus is going to be our Lord, to find neutral ground so that we can hear Him. Despite what I think about finances, I have to get back to neutral ground. That’s the ground that we need to live on if we are going to hear God, case-by-case and day-by-day. We must somehow turn the volume down on our opinions, our perspectives, and our vantage points so that we can hear God. And if He wants me to spend $1,000 on parakeet food, then that’s His business, because it’s His money! That’s not a license to be random and crazy. It’s a call to bring our hearts to neutral, and recognize that we are not the center of truth and the “experts” of truth and the “decider” of how things are—even though we are basing things on principles that are true and valid.
Do you remember the woman who broke open the alabaster jar of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ head? It was worth a year to a year and a half’s wages. Think about what that meant. Here we have $50,000 worth of perfume (in today’s money) and this woman, out of the blue, breaks this alabaster jar and dumps the perfume on His head! And Judas has a real problem with that (interesting that it’s Judas). Judas’ “opinion” is that the money would have been better spent on the poor. “We should have given that to the poor.” And Jesus shuts Judas down. Is it because Jesus is careless and has no concern with other things, like helping the poor? No, something else is the issue…God’s Lordship in our lives. If we don’t have the CAPACITY to take a jar of perfume worth $50,000 and break it and pour it over somebody’s head, then on that issue we cannot walk with God, and we cannot hear God.
But the converse is also true. Jesus takes a picnic basket lunch and multiplies it and turns it into gobs and gobs of food where it seems like plenty is everywhere. Then He instructs the disciples to take twelve baskets and go through and make sure nothing gets wasted. “What do you mean nothing gets wasted?!! How can you waste anything when you make things out of the air? Why is waste an issue!? What are we going to do with it!?…” So it’s not a careless, indifferent lifestyle towards the things that God gives us. You can’t make a new law into “just live carefree, spend what you want, and trust God to bail you out with a picnic basket lunch.” But it does require that somehow in our heart we are able to find neutral ground.
An essential element of this important stepping Stone in our growth of “finding neutral ground, that we might hear GOD”—is this Command and Prophecy from God:
“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But admonish one another DAILY, encourage, warn, be called-alongside one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened and deceived by sin.”
And in terms of making decisions about buying a house, a car, or doing other things, one of the primary roles we play in each other’s lives is to help each other find neutral ground. The role we play in each other’s lives—its main value—is to dislodge us and bring us back to neutral. “Are you sure you need that car? Why is it that color? Why do you need a red car?…” Our role in each other’s lives is to make sure we are on neutral ground, because that’s the only ground where any one of us can hear God. It’s not that I need three people to “yes” my decision before I can buy a car or do whatever. It’s just that on our own, if we are not admonishing one another daily (it’s a COMMAND by GOD to do so, not an ‘optional extra’ if you feel like it, by the way! Heb.3:12-14)… It’s just that on our own, if we are not “admonishing one another daily,” we will be “hardened and deceived” by sin (according to God), and not even be conscious that we are only looking at red cars. “Hardness” (which God prophesied for those who do not have “daily” input from other Saints) means we don’t “feel” the prick of conscience even when we are wounding Jesus (“conscience seared, as with a hot iron”) and “deceived” means that we think it’s “everyone else’s problem”. A true Disciple of Jesus, a Christian, wants ANYTHING other than to be “hardened and deceived” and “given over” to the control of their own flesh! We need the input of other people, not to tell us what to do—but to keep our hearts in check so that we LIVE on neutral ground….
THAT Place ALONE, Neutral Ground, is where we may find Jesus, in all of His Glory. Only in that Place, “neutral ground”—HOLY GROUND—are we truly Transformed into His likeness, and live in the “greater works than these shall YOU do” and 1Corinthians 12 Gifted Together-Life.