SeekersTrove.com—Treasure Beyond Measure

The Reason Why

In this paper I am going to explain some of the more contemporarily controversial things in the Bible, and it is important that I lay some groundwork first. The first thing that a person must understand is that there is nothing more important in this world than coming to know God. It is impossible to understand anything in the Bible unless you understand this about knowing God.

It is all about God's Plan. We are part of God's Plan. Please stop a minute and consider who is the primary character in our existence. Who is the most important one? Who is the central figure in the drama we call our lives?

My friend, what I am endeavoring to show you is the most important thing that you will ever see in this world. Everything revolves around God. We either line up with God or we don't. We either listen to what God has said in the Bible, or we continue in ignorance. The only truly important thing that you can ever do is to come to the true knowledge of God. And I don't mean the generic, offend no one, "God", but to truly come to know personally the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the physical embodiment of God Almighty.

Let's get things into perspective so that you can see and understand what I am saying. If you are fabulously handsome or beautiful, and wealthy beyond all reason; if you are known on sight by all of the people of the world, and they all worship you for your wisdom and wit, but you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, truly, then what is to become of you after your physical death? What did you gain? Nothing. Nothing at all.

You see, this is God's creation; his plan; his operation. God has his agenda. I am trying to be as blunt and clear as possible about this. God is the man. He is the big cheese. It is all his ball game, so to say. We are playing with his ball, his bat, his field, and his game. What you think doesn't matter. Do you understand what I am saying? Please consider what I am saying.

You can hold onto what you think, if you want to, (many people do), but consider the importance of what I am saying. You can continue to think that you are the most important person in your world, but if you do you will miss the One that really is the most important.

My friend, I sure hope you are hearing me. The sole purpose of the universe is to bring into existence the children of God. That's it. All of the billions of stars and the billions, upon billions, of galaxies, are there only to show us, (God's children), the unfathomable power and greatness of God our Father. When God's plan is over, that is, when he gathers up all that are his, God will remove the physical universe and the realization of the purpose of our being brought forth will be realized, that is, we will be with God in heaven, for ever and ever. God's very own children--amazing.

Now, unless you understand what I have just said, you will not be able to understand the Bible's purpose. Nor will you be able to understand why God requires the things that he does.

Something else that is very important for you to understand is that the only thing that God wants out of all this, is for you to know him, and through that knowledge, to love him. He does not want a bunch of minions bowing down, being little yes men, and yes women. There is nothing that we can ever do for God that he couldn't much more easily do for himself. It is all about love and proper respect due to One who certainly deserves it. It is about worshipping God, because of his goodness, his righteousness, his holiness, and his awesomeness. God is worthy of your honor, respect, and obedience.

Now just a quick word on just what the Bible is, and is not. The Bible is not a rulebook. Living a life that pleases God is not about how well we live like the Bible says, rather it is about getting to know God. It is about searching for understanding and then living in the light of that knowledge. It is about being changed, in your inner person, to actually become like God. It is about having real faith in God, and living by the power of that faith. It is about not only knowing what the Bible says, but knowing what it means. This is the subject of the remainder of this article, that is, knowing why things are the way they are, and through that knowledge understanding God better, and through that better understanding, growing closer to God.

The Role of Men and Women

I have been asked on a number of occasions why women are portrayed in the Bible as being subservient to men. This is a good question and should be asked. The first thing I would like to say is that women are not in any way inferior to men in God's eyes.

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NIV84)

In Christ there is neither male nor female.

Matthew 22:30

At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (NIV84)

In heaven we shall not be men and women at all. We shall be like God himself, neither man nor woman, but like God; not animal, but spirit. The soul within you is not of this creation, but rather is spirit. The soul within you does not have a sex. However, God has placed your soul, temporarily, inside the body of a male or female and has instructed you to act out a role in obedience to your gender. Someone might think that they should have been placed into the body of the opposite sex, but they are where God put them, and one must accept where God has placed you, and live the life that he directs you to live. To do otherwise is rebellion against God. Remember what is at stake here: Your eternal relationship with God, or not. Your place of eternal residence. Oh please consider the consequences of rebellion. Consider too, the joy of living eternally with the God of love and peace and justice. Consider the fact that if you don't repent of your rebellion toward God that you will have to live forever with the likes of the pushy and selfish people of the world. There is a reason God won't let the rebellious into heaven. Who would want to live there if he did? Please consider what I am saying.

Is what God is asking so difficult? He is asking you to deny your flesh for maybe seventy or eighty years so that you can have a relationship with him forever. Oh my friend, God is good. What he wants is right. But, you will never see this without faith. Without faith you will never put aside what you want, for obedience to what God commands. Without faith you just won't do it. But, if you see God, by faith, and believe his Words, then you will have the power to resist sin's temptations and to live in obedience to the Word of God, knowing that it will all be worth it.

Ephesians 5:31-32

'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' 32 This is a profound mystery -- but I am talking about Christ and the church. (NIV84)

Look at this fascinating passage. The human institution of a marriage between a man and a woman is a picture of our relationship to God through Christ. The man/woman marriage is a teaching tool to show us about our relationship with God. In the human marriage the male represents the spirit-being God, and the female represents the physical-being mankind.

Now God is asking you to act out your proper role. If you are a man, he is asking you to act out the role of provider and protector--God's role. If you are a woman, he is asking you to act out the role of trusting in your husband and submitting to him and obeying him. Please let me explain.

Woman, God is not asking you to live in an abusive situation. If you love the Lord God, and out of reverence for him, you submit to your husband, and your husband acts in an evil manner toward you, then God will free you from the bond.

1 Corinthians 7:13

And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. (NIV84)

Now what this is saying is that if an unbelieving man is married to a believing woman, and he loves her anyway and is willing to keep her as his wife, in a manner that is in peace, then she must not leave him. Let us look at what follows this passage.

1 Corinthians 7:14-15

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. (NIV84)

God has called us to live in peace. God does not expect a woman to live in an abusive situation. The Bible is not a lawbook. You can't look up this passage and say, "See, it says that if the man is willing to live with her, she must stay." That is lawyer thinking. Listen to what the Spirit is saying through the whole passage section. People who don't understand the truth have used these passages to bind women into unholy bonds of slavery to wicked men. Shame on them! Yes, God hates divorce, but there're things worse than divorcing a wicked man, you simple and closed minded person.

Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (NIV84)

Now again, before anyone goes running off with their lawbook in hand, Paul is talking about a proper marriage between a loving couple. God is asking you wives to honor your husbands as though they were Christ himself. Now why do you think that God would want you to do that? God wants you to do that because through your obedience you will gain the knowledge of God. Through your obedience the faith that is in your heart will bloom and fill you with joy and the knowledge of the love of God. If you, in your hardness of heart, refuse your role then you will not be able to understand who God is. It's as simple as that.

Ephesians 5:25-30

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church -- 30 for we are members of his body. (NIV84)

Now, for those men that would like to bind women with the law of Scripture, are you living as this passage says that you should? Hmmm. Have you given up your life, so that you can do for your wife, as Christ has done for the Church? Such a man will treat his wife with tender love. Such a man will not seek to bind his wife, but to free her, as Christ has freed us from the slavery of sin, so that we can live in the freedom of love and peace and joy. Such a man would not use the law to hold is wife, but his love and kindness, and gentleness, to keep her with him.

In order to understand something you need a frame of reference. A person born blind cannot understand the difference between red and blue. A person born blind has no frame of reference from which to draw, to enable them to understand this difference. God has built this universe, which we live in, so that we can have a frame of reference from which we can draw, in order to understand Him better. God has commanded that we obey him regarding how we are to relate to our husbands and wives, so that we can then understand how God feels about us, and how we should feel about him.

Through our obedience to God's instructions regarding marriage, we can truly understand how God does not bind us to him with law, but with kindness, and mercy, and love. He woos us out of the world into his loving embrace. And through that loving kindness he keeps us to himself. Though God has made a "law" about not divorcing, it is not through this "law" that he keeps us. Neither is a human marriage kept by law, but by love and kindness and respect. Neither a human marriage, nor our union with God, can be kept by law. Faith is the power that holds both. A woman's warranted faith in her husband, and her husband's warranted faith in his wife, keeps the marriage together. Just as our faith in God has been proved warranted, we endure the pressure and persecution of the world to remain in God's loving embrace. Because of faith we are willing to endure. Because of faith we trust that our "husband" will love us, and keep us, and provide a place for us in his eternal kingdom. Knowing this, we submit to him. We reflect this faith in our human relationships. And if we should commit a loveless act toward our spouse, or toward God, we should immediately repent and ask for forgiveness

To summarize this about marriage, we can say that the human marriage between a man and a woman points to the relationship of a human to God. It is for this reason sanctioned by God. Divorce points to the separation of a person with God and it is for that reason that God hates it. If it points to God, then it is good; if it does not point to God, then it is bad; it is very simple; yes?

It is important to always keep in mind that what God has sanctioned is always designed to bring people to him, and what he has forbidden, was forbidden, because it will end in the eternal death of people. God's ways are always for the benefit of those that will obey them--always.

Children

It is important to understand that the world, and in fact the universe, is exactly what God planed for before he ever uttered the words of creation. God can do anything. Nothing is here because of chance.

It was his plan that he would make his children male and female, and that they would bring forth more children through the union of marriage. God could have created all females and a system where procreation is a matter of the woman's own egg simply start developing into the birth of a new child, but he didn't. God could have devised a system where a fertilized egg is deposited into some type of organic incubator from which a fully developed adult person emerges, but he didn't. It is important to understand this, because we can then ask God why he did what he did. I mean, that if something is here, then there is a reason for it. God doesn't leave anything to chance.

God created a system whereby a husband enters his wife and this results in a new creation. This is not an accidental by-product of creation. This is exactly what God wanted. The new creation that results from the fleshly union, produces a being of flesh, and points to God's creation of his children. But, God's children are spirit, and only hidden temporarily inside bodies of flesh. And God's children result from the entering in of his Spirit into our spirit, this is what is called being "born again."

John 3:6-7

Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' (NIV84)

Next to the marriage itself, children are our greatest frame of reference from which we can understand the things of God. To the godly couple, children are the source of the greatest joy obtainable within the marriage. Children give the marriage meaning. Children are the purpose of marriage.

The relationship that exists between godly parents and their children is exactly like our relationship with God. How can God love me when I am forever crying about this and that, and messing up here and there? He can because he is my Father. Just like in a human family, if we hold the faith in our parents as being our parents, and if we obey them, and honor them as such, then the relationship is maintained. And just like in the human family, if a child breaks the faith relationship with their parents, and believes that they do not need to obey them, and they do not hold their parents in honor, then the relationship is broken. No godly parent wants to see their children regard them as not being their parent, anymore than God wants a person to break away from him.

Matthew 18:14

In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. (NIV84)

Likewise, if any child is lost and goes away, but then considers their situation and then repents and comes back to ask for forgiveness, no godly parent would deny them their return.

All of these things can be understood about God, because he has given us children by which we have a frame of reference to understand God's motivations.

So again we see that that which was ordained by God is good because it points to truth about God. If we get in line with what God has instituted then we place ourselves in a position where God can reveal the truth to us about him. If we allow the selfish desires of our flesh to harden our hearts against obedience, then the truth will remain unknowable to us.

Homosexuality

I have had many people ask me what is wrong with a homosexual relationship between two consenting adults. The problem with it is that it does not point to God. Spiritually, it says that "I don't need God. I am self-sufficient." Such a spiritual lesson leads to the eternal death of the person, and for that reason God hates it, and has forbidden it. God is very protective of his children and he has forbidden anything that will hurt them. God is not into making rules and into punishing. God is into raising his children in a way that will result in their growing up to be like him morally, with regard to goodness, kindness, gentleness, and such.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (NIV84)

If these qualities are the fruit of the Spirit then you can be sure that these are the qualities that describe God. God wants you to have the same qualities, and he will guide you to that end, if you maintain the relationship of faith with him through Jesus Christ, and fellowship with him through his Word.

Whatever feelings a person might have, must be weighed against what God has commanded. If you are seeking to please God, then you must resist what your body wants to do, and obey the Word of the Lord. You see, the Bible does not deny that homosexual feelings exist, only that they must not be followed, because they do not lead to God.

Romans 8:5-17

Those who live according to their natural instincts have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by their natural instincts cannot please God.

9 You, however, are controlled not by your natural instincts but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation -- but it is not to your natural instincts, to live according to them. 13 For if you live according to your natural instincts, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs -- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (NIV84)

I have made some minor changes to the wording of the above passage to make things clearer. I don't like the NIV's translation of "the sinful nature", so I replaced it with, "natural instincts" and adjusted a few pronouns to make it flow. This "sinful nature" obscures what the Spirit is really saying about following the promptings of the Holy Spirit rather than the promptings of our body's drives.

In the above passage the "sinful mind" is the mind that is ruled by what their body wants. A person ruled by their body's desires will not come to the knowledge of the truth. The body is selfish by design. Love--the nature of God--is selfless by design. The two don't mesh, and never will. You, that is the spirit person within, must take charge and tell the body what is what. The mind is caught in between the voice of the body and the voice of the soul. You, that is your soul, must decide whether to follow the body, or to obey the Lord. This is the whole thing in a nut shell.

Anyway, we can see clearly from this passage that we must resist the body's demands and obey the Spirit's. But this is not a painless thing to do.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (NIV84)

Paul is saying here that he had to force his body to come in line with what God requires. And so we too must all resist what our bodies want, and out of love and reverence for God, obey his Word.

As I said in the beginning of this article, God is only asking us to play the game his way for a relatively short time, and then the benefits derived will last forever. Homosexual relationships are forbidden because they do not bring the practitioners closer to God. God is unwilling to let you go, so he has forbidden such relationships. If you resist your bodies desires and obey the will of God, then you will reap a harvest of eternal peace. And my friend, everyone has drives that must be resisted. We must want God enough to deny ourselves, and seek to please the One we love.

Adultery

What is adultery in its simplest form? It is the breaking of faith with your union partner and uniting with another. Spiritually it is the breaking of faith with God and putting your faith in something other than God. The most rampant form of spiritual adultery today, is putting one's faith in Democracy and Capitalism. I tell you that if it doesn't point to God then it is bad--period.

A democratic government looks good, but if in the end those that have trusted in it are eternally lost to God, then what good was it? One cannot put one's faith in politics and in God. The idea that we should have a say in the government is completely unscriptural. Heaven is not run by the democratic process. Heaven has a King that sits on the throne and we live by what He says. People have been wooed away from faith in God by the promises of prosperity brought through Capitalism, and the promise of freedom through democracy.

Revelation 17:1-2

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries. (NIV84)

Notice the reference to adultery. It is because the whole world has been seduced by her promises that the day of destruction will soon come to the whole earth.

Revelation 18:4-5

Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; 5 for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. (NIV84)

Please don't think to argue with me and say that democracy has proven to be a better form of government than say, a kingdom, or a theocracy. The book of Revelation shows us the result of our democratic, capitalistic, freedom to all, form of government. Don't be deceived by what looks like progress. Those that have their faith in this government are not free, they are in bondage to sin, and will reap destruction. Oh what a waste. Anything that does not point to God is wrong. God is the only important thing that we can ever have, so to say. A relationship with God is everything, nothing else matters.

Before I move on to something else, I would like to say something about these prevalent teachings going around, concerning the prosperity of those that have faith in God. The kingdom of God within you has nothing to do with worldly wealth. Don't listen to teaching that tells you that God wants to make you prosperous in this world. Worldly money means nothing. If worldly wealth were connected to faith and obedience, then Jesus would have been the richest man on earth. I don't believe that Jesus owned anything beyond the clothes that he wore.

Matthew 6:19-21

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV84)

All this believing for this or that, or confessing for this or that, is evil. If what you value is in this world then your heart is wrapped up in this world too.

The world is full of lies. Virtually everything about it is wrong. The "American Dream" is a disaster. Anyone who believes it will perish. It is not in this world that we set our hopes. If you hope that your children will do well in school, so that they will get good jobs, and be successful and happy in the world, then you don't really understand. Unless your children develop real and true relationships with God, then all is not well. I am mentioning your children, because what you hope for them, is generally what you hope for yourself.

Nothing in this world matters beyond your developing a faithful relationship with your Creator, through Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter if you never find a loving spouse. It doesn't matter if you have no friends. It doesn't matter if your parents think that you have gone bonkers. Nothing matters beyond God. God is forever. Human relationships are only for this world. Oh please consider what I am saying.

I am not saying that the loss of these things will not bring pain. Yes, loneliness, and unacceptance, are difficult to bear, but what you gain far exceeds anything that you lost. God has promised us so very much, if we believe in him and wait patiently for what we hope for.

My friend, you cannot be at home in the world, and at home with God, at the same time. If your heart is in heaven, then you will be a fish out of water here on earth. It is unavoidable. When you watch those movies that depict the "prom queen" and the "captain of the football team" don't be deceived, that is not success.

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world -- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does -- comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (NIV84)

My friend, do you think that John was kidding when he said this? Do you think that I have misinterpreted? Do you think that I am wrong? Where your heart is, there also are you.

John 15:19

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (NIV84)

Movies and television are designed to tickle your human natures, that is, your natural instincts as human animals, but you must not be led so; you are a spirit being, that was created in the image and likeness of God. It is from the spirit that you worship and obey God.

John 4:23-24

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. (NIV84)

My friends, sometimes I think that it is me against the world. I mean, ten-thousand voices for the world, and just little old me speaking for God. Sometimes I wonder if anyone will listen to what I am saying. I mean, who am I that anyone should listen to me? I go to the Lord in prayer and ask him these things, and the Lord always responds the same way to me. He always asks me, "Is what you are saying the truth?" and my friends, I always reply, "Yes Lord, I believe so."

My friends, please don't think that I have some direct line with God. I don't get any more of a connection with God than you do. I know only what I know. I know only what I have understood from God's Word. I have come to God, and have said to him, that I will believe anything that I can understand in the Bible, and God has opened things up to me, not because I am any better than most, but rather because I believe. Oh, I so wish that I could convey this to others. I know many things in the Bible only because God has shown them to me. If he has shown them to me, then surely he will show them to you, if you will look and listen to him. The only thing that I can say for myself is that I am persistent and honest. I get so tired of church people opposing what I say.

I also get so tired of hearing the TV preachers going on about what we get out of coming to God. My friends, if you are in this for what you can get out of it, then you have missed the whole point. If you believe the message, and because of faith, give up your life, then you get God. That is it! You get him in your heart; where he will lead you into all peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is what you get while you are in this world. If this isn't good enough then what can I say? Hmm? What can I say.

God has saved you from the selfishness that is in the world, so that you can walk as Jesus did. Don't be fooled by the "freedom" promised by democracy and the "free market." Don't look to the world for anything. At this time the world's god is Satan. At this time the world's promises are all lies.

If I happen to be born into this world into a wealthy family, and if I happen to be handsome, and intelligent, and find myself the captain of the football team, and if I marry the most beautiful girl in high school, and if I graduate from medical school and earn $300,000+ a year, and am the pillar of my community, but do not know God, truly, then I have gained nothing. Being born in the United States of America is only a blessing if I take the free time that I have and use it to seek out God in truth. Material blessings mean nothing. God has blessings galore for us in heaven. We are living in God's testing ground. God is looking for those that will love HIM. He is not about money or power; look at Jesus Christ! Was Jesus about worldly wealth? Was he about worldly power? Was he about looking good and being cool? Come on! Jesus saw the promises of heaven, weighed against the wealth of this world, and he chose heaven, so should YOU!

Matthew 4:8-10

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' (NIV84)

My friend, world politics and the world's economic practices do not point to God, so do not be deceived by them. The only true freedom is the freedom from sin's power. Death awaits all who do not obey the Lord Jesus Christ, spiritual death that is, which leads to eternal separation from God.

God Pointers

I hope you see the theme that is running through this paper. Everything that points to God is good, and everything that does not, is either bad or a waste of time. Everything that God tells you to do is to bring you to him, and everything that he forbids is because it leads away from him. He loves you, and wants you, so he has laid down guidelines for you to follow.

Leviticus 19:19
Keep my decrees.
Do not mate different kinds of animals.
Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. (NIV84)

These things in the law are not there because God really cares what you plant in your field, or what sort of material your clothing is made of, but rather they point to Him, in that they tell us not to mix evil with good. We are to be only for what is good, only for what God has called us to. If it points to God then it is good.

Discipline

My friends, it is not easy to resist the body's desires and meekly obey the spirit's instruction. The body wants what it wants, and is not shy about letting you know just what that is.

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (NIV84)

Here Jesus said that it was light and easy, but earlier we saw Paul say that he had to beat his body into submission, so which is it? Light and easy, or painful and exhausting? Is Jesus right and Paul wrong? Well, for starters, it is not Jesus and Paul that we hear, but rather the Spirit of God. The Scriptures are all from the Spirit of God, there are no distinctions. The resolution to the seeming contradiction comes with the understanding that it is easy if we will do it, but if we persist in disobedience, then God will turn up the discipline until we get in line.

This is done by God because he loves us, not because he is a hard person. He is a good and loving Father that will not give up on you. He will do what is necessary to keep you in the family, and to bring you to maturity. Ultimately God will not stop disciplining you until you are like Christ, if in fact you are in his family. God's aim is to make you as good as Christ, and until this is your aim too, things will continue to be difficult.

Matthew 5:48

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (NIV84)

We will never be perfect, but perfection is nonetheless our aim. As we strive for perfection our imperfections come to light. We struggle with this, we struggle with that, but we grow. Growing is hard work. It is painful when the Vinedresser prunes off the dead and unproductive parts of us. The very fact that the Father loves you enough to prune you should be cause for great joy.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (NIV84)

It is not an easy task living up to your big brother, Jesus. We are weak; he is so strong. But weak, or strong, we must press on to the end.

My brothers and sisters, it is through our conforming to the biblical image that we become like Christ. It is by distancing ourselves from the world, that our awareness of our dependence upon God is made known. It is by letting worldly thoughts and ways go, that we find peace.

I have shown you why some of the things in the Bible are the way they are, but you should know that everything God wants you to do is for your benefit, whether or not you understand exactly why. Frequently it is only after you obey that you come to understand why.

Trust in God. Read frequently from the Scriptures asking the Lord to reveal their meaning to you. Obey what you see in the Scriptures, and don't worry about what others at church think. It doesn't matter what they think. It matters only that you are doing what you think is right. This is the meaning of the following passage.

Romans 14:23

But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (NIV84)

Always do what you believe that God wants you to do. Just as the wise child listens to and obeys his or her parents, so we to should look to the wisdom of our Father and trust that he is right. Obedience, by the way, is not doing what you want to do, but doing what you don't want to do; doing it because your Father told you to. When you do what you don't want to do, but are told to do, you grow. When the growth has run its course, then you are changed and it becomes your nature to do the thing. When the growth has run its full course you will be found to be like Christ.

Luke 6:40

A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. (NIV84)

Conclusion

I live in the body of a male human, and so I know something of what that body wants. It wants to be like James Bond. It wants to vanquish all its enemies and have beautiful women fall all over it. It wants to be secure and to have its way with everything. It wants to be desired.

None of the things that the body wants will draw us closer to God. The best thing that we can do is to not listen to any of our body's desires, and to listen instead to God's instructions. God will guide us up the path to christ-likeness. We are, after all, God's children, so it is fitting that we should be growing to be like him. This is God's desire, and should be ours as well. If this is not your desire then don't even think that you are a Christian.

If your aim in this life is to gratify the desire for worldly pleasure, then you will perish, and will forever be excluded from the presence of God. If you are faithless then this will be enough for you, but if you really have faith, then you will deny what your body wants, and live in obedience to what God has ordained, in the hope of living with God in heaven.

My friend, even a heterosexual marriage is given to man as a concession. The purest life is one lived for God alone.

Matthew 19:8-12

Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

10 The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."

11 Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it. (NIV84)

Jesus here clearly says that the best situation for a person is to never marry. He said this because the best situation for a person is to see past this world and see clearly God. It is best to see, and believe, what God has for you, and to live in the light of that faith.

My friend, the prize is not of this world. The prize is God. We must seek out this prize and live to obtain Him.

God has allowed us to marry a person of the opposite sex because it points, indirectly to him. If your faith is such that you cannot contain yourself then marry, but understand what it means, and understand what your true goal is. If you marry, then remain faithful to your spouse, as unto the Lord. Unfaithfulness in marriage is unfaithfulness toward God. Do not seek to gratify your body's desires through unholy unions. Unholy unions will not bring you closer to God. Closeness to God is all important.

In all ways seek the path that leads to God. Conform to his way. Believe in his way. There is a reason for everything that God requires, so trust in him.

 

This article can be found at SeekersTrove.com