A spiritually sick, rebellious fool? Guilty as charged!

That was so great. Just today, I got a major rejection from a brother who is a great person but who thinks I’m not and doesn’t want to do business together. Like 3 different people who I think are pretty great don’t think the same of me. Please don’t criticize them. That’s not my point.

I’m pretty new to the radical grace of God. So, facing this level of rejection would fairly devastate me in the past for, maybe a week. Then it would hurt for a long time. Well, I can’t tell you how comforted I am that God says I’m great. And his opinion has judicial authority. I’ve heard this in church a lot. But, somehow, I’m really getting it now. I’m finding new levels of peace and joy.

I’m a pretty messed up person, if Jesus weren’t in the picture. I get great strength from remembering many times each day that I’m God’s favorite person (tied for first place with everyone else, btw) and he sees me as innocent and worthy. I really like how you, Steve, wrote this post. It really encouraged me. I need to think about these things about 100 times every day to keep myself in peace/joy.

The Grace Base

I have been accused on Charisma news of being a spiritually sick, rebellious fool (by another Christian, no less).

I admit, I am! Guilty as charged!

If I wasn’t sick I wouldn’t need the Great Physician. Yet, as Isaiah says:

“By His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4)

Amen?! Christ didn’t come for those who are well, remember, but for those in need of a doctor.

And, I admit, I am rebellious. I rebel against God. I rebel against His love. I find myself unfit to be a recipient of His amazing love. Yet as I experience it I open my heart a little more each day.

And finally, I admit, I am a fool. A fool for Christ, yes, but also a different kind of fool – the foolish kind. I make stupid mistakes. I mess up relationships, say stupid things, get angry, have lustful thoughts, envy…many of the sins…

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A Trail of Breadcrumbs on the Path

I write because I have desperately needed and FOUND quite a bit of peace and joy and have come out of depression and anxiety.  I know many people are where I was for 40+ years. They’re not sure if they can ever know peace/joy (i.e., be happy). My hope and intention is that my various short posts in this blog can be used to “turn a light bulb on” in your life (assuming it’s not already on – and it’s not on for most people).  You don’t have to live sad (depression) or afraid (anxious). 

AS IT TURNS OUT, LIFE IS FAIR AFTER ALL

We (humans) often complain or at least assert that life isn’t fair because we see such great gaps in living conditions between the impoverished/oppressed and the wealthy/free populations of the world.  Well, as it turns out the difference in these circumstances only causes a microscopic difference in peace/joy levels between people-groups of different economic levels.  But, the Gospel of Grace is available to everyone.  And this is the thing that makes a peace/joy difference HUNDREDS of times greater than different economic levels.  But, anyone can experience the Gospel.  And the Bible even suggests that wealth is an OBSTACLE to grasping the Grace of God. I would SO, SO, SO much more rather be impoverished but know and believe the Gospel of Grace than be wealthy and not know it.  

As it turns out, life IS fair, after all. We all have the opportunity to live in peace/joy. I have experienced such joy by knowing and believing (as best I could at times) the Gospel of Grace this last year, and the UNMATCHED joy it can provide, I can now say that I now understand that God IS FAIR and LIFE IS FAIR.  Because the Gospel of Grace is knocking on your door all the time, waiting for your acceptance.

However, I am thinking at this point that not that many will find it. Another topic.

Similarity Between Unbeliever and Extremely Mature (Radical Grace) Believer.

When I became a Christian 30 years ago, I understood and wanted badly to 100% believe that my sins are not counted against me in eternity.  But, I didn’t understand this part of grace:  that we no longer need to carry emotional guilt or regret for our missteps.  And, because the way I think is very detail-conscious, I would literally become aware of some large or small sin probably every few minutes all day long.  I also totally understood that Jesus had raised the bar on the Law such that even getting impatient with your “brother” (for just one example for how severe “the standards” are in the Bible) is an incredibly serious offense. So, I was hyper conscious of sin.  I believe I had, indeed, passed from death to life.  But, as a tender soul, I entered a world of moral and ethical and behavior standards that was impossible to satisfy.  And it was a world I took very seriously. I carried a tremendous amount of guilt.  In order to be able to function with all that guilt, I learned to ignore and suppress my feelings.  So, I thought I was OK as I suppressed my feelings.  But I was building up internal emotions that came out in verbal abuse on occasion directed at my loved ones and came out in addictions of various kinds.  So, in some ways, I was BETTER OFF emotionally before I asked for Jesus’ pardon, because I didn’t have a very sensitive sense of sin before that point. So, I lived almost 30 years in such an emotionally/spiritually unhealthy frame of mind.  

Now that I understand that I “can” no longer sin because the Law no longer has authority over me, in some ways, I feel more like I felt before I accepted Christ.  Because, remember that at that point of my life, I ALSO didn’t have to contend with the Law, since I gave it no validity as a non-Christian.   Is this clear?

So, I just wanted to express this thought above.  I’m not entirely sure what the significance of that is.  But,I felt that I should document it.  

Rich Young Ruler – Resolved

This story troubled me for years.  I heard lots of pastors attempt to explain why Jesus didn’t tell the Rich Young Ruler (RYR) about the Gospel of Grace. None of their attempts/explanations over many, many sermons and years didn’t satisfy my soul.  Then it became clear that it WAS a story pointing to grace very clearly. I’m happy to explain to you why I believe I know this is True.

I’m stunned that none of the hundreds of preachers I’ve listened to, some of whom preached on this story, didn’t see it as a story pointing to grace. To me, this points to how FEW Christians including pastors understand the radical grace of God, which I believe is the pearl of great price. If you don’t understand how The RYR is a story pointing to grace, please leave a comment and we can correspond.  I want you to have the pearl of great price. 

I no longer want to struggle each day to control/fix/manage all my earthly circumstances to get what my soul needs. Doesn’t work anyway.

Isn’t This PROOF That The Gospel Has No Works Element?

Aside

I like to converse with Christians who believe there’s a works element in The Gospel.  Proponents of both views (no works vs. a works part) can site many scriptures that they can use to support their view.  But, I believe there is a smoking gun that proves the case for one view or the other.  Here it is:  Whichever view fills you will peace/joy and  sense of well-being.  I think God was clear that when we believe the Truth, we will have major peace/joy.  He calls it many things in the Bible.  The Truth will set you free.  A peace that passes understanding. The abundant life. Fruit of the Spirit.  Living water. And others. For me, as soon as a works element is suggested in the Gospel, it makes me afraid and depressed.  So, I figure that can’t be true because it doesn’t put me in a state that would match up with these “names” for the state of peace/joy offered to those who believe the Truth.   Also, take a minute and read the “comments” of blog readers who take the radical grace view and see how joyful these people are.   I can read authentic joy between the lines of those comments.  You don’t find this in comments from those who espouse a Gospel that has an element of works.

SEROTONIN

Google the definition for Serotonin if you don’t know what it is.

I suspect that God set it up such that when a human being thinks/ponders/meditates on the Truth of God, Serotonin is released in the brain.  I suspect this is the full or partial reason the Jesus said, “You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.”

When I’m unhappy, I try to figure out what un-truth is resident in my thoughts/beliefs that is causing my lack of peace/joy. If/when I figure it out, I correct that thought by meditating (pondering) on the countervailing/corresponding/disagreeing Truth. I get happier.

If what I’ve written above is true, then each of us has a way to neutralize depression/anxiety and replace it with peace/joy.  It’s by thinking/believing what is True rather than what is un-true.  I have found, though, that searching for God’s Truth can be hard work and can take a long time.

There are lots of “Christian” viewpoints.  I believe we can tell which Christian view is True according to God because The Truth will give you a great sense/emotion of well-being/peace/joy.