Stepping out of the bushes!

Jn 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.  (ESVST)

This is it. The purpose of Jesus on the cross, Jesus raised from the dead, the Holy Spirit in our lives…

That we would know God!

When I miss this truth about God and instead am fixated on sin I am fixated on the thing that kept me from seeking Him. I can’t know God while hiding in the bushes. I can’t know God while cowering in fear because of my sin. I can’t know God when I am afraid of Him knowing me. I can’t know God when I wrongly believe he despises me. I can however know God when I come out of the bushes and meet Him face to face.

 I must know my righteousness to come out of hiding. It has to be complete and total and absolute righteousness as if I had never ever sinned even once. It can’t be metaphorical or positional or anything even remotely like that. If it were then I would make God a liar. I would claim he could ignore my stuff and pretend to see Jesus instead of me. That is ludicrous. God knows everything. My desire is for him to know me. I want him to see me and not Jesus. I want him to love me not because of Jesus but just love me for exactly who I am no matter what I do. I want him to love my mistakes and cherish my foibles.  I want to know He will pick me up and dust me off. I want to know that I can come completely out of the bushes, stinky, dirty, blind, dumb, rebellious, selfish, stupid, arrogant, prideful, lustful, coveting, boastful, angry, mean, tired, hopeless, depressed and sinning and know that he will look at me and without hesitation and give me a hug.

Here me, please…That is who He is. That is who you are. He forgave you the day he thought of you. He forgave you the moment you went from dream to reality. Don’t believe me?  Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

“But wait a second pastor lance, what about confessing and repenting and getting baptized and believing and hearing and all that?  Come on you are breaking the rules for membership brother. You are treading on thin ice. People are going to get the wrong idea. You are letting people off the hook. At the rate you are going everyone will think they are saved.”

PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the point. This is the purpose. This is the why Jesus. God wants us to know Him. He wants us to know how unbelievably good He really is. He wants us to jump into his endless ocean of grace and let him love us again and again.

When we finally begin to see this, we begin to believe, we listen to the truth of God’s nature expressed by His Holy Spirit.  We look up, we dare to open our mouths and utter (maybe even just squeak out the request) “help me Jesus.”  Then he comes in full force and with all his glory (manifest goodness).  The celebration in heaven begins. They declare “today a child is born.”  There you were just a moment ago trembling in the bushes, believing in every lie spread by the enemy. Even your church friends and family have beaten you down with the condemnation of sin. But Jesus steps up the edge of the forest and sees you there. He calls to you and you step out. He gives you his righteousness and you give him your dead life. He breathes his life into you and everything changes.

Can you see how this Christian thing is not a club initiation?  Can you see that there aren’t any bylaws or agreements or secret handshakes or anything like that?  It is you and God. He calls. You hear. You dare to believe and he does everything else. He was never mad at you. He isn’t waiting for your pinky finger handshake or blood-brother ceremony or signature on a membership contract. This is a divine exchange and rebirth. It is supernatural and irreversible. 

As a new little baby in Jesus you now have eyes to see and ears to hear. You have a new heart that understands. You have the Holy Spirit as your guide and Jesus as your certainty. You have the mind of Christ and the will of God in your heart. You get to be like your big brother and he will always be there to do the heavy lifting.

Listen, I do understand the “club mentality.” When we feel excluded we get angry.  When we feel rejected we get angry.  When we are accepted we feel loved.  When people agree with us we feel included.  When we join a club we join a group of people who have agreed to think the same, believe the same, share the same and agree on the principles of the club.

The Kingdom of Heaven is not a club.  Being a son or a daughter is not joining an organization.  Being a follower of Christ is not a commitment based on will power but a bond of a blood relationship.  Jesus is my brother.  God is my Father.  The Holy Spirit and my spirit are one, joined.  The transition from one state to the other is not a legal agreement but a change, an adoption, a marriage, a transformation.

Being born again is a supernatural transformation in type, identity and relationship.  We were just a fallen human.  Now we are a divine spirit bearing new creation.  Before I was a lost, dead and orphaned from God.  Now I am a child of God.  Before I was separated from God and had no way of knowing His goodness.  Now I am reconciled and redeemed.  I am no longer an enemy but a friend.

I didn’t join a “get out of Hell” club.  I didn’t join a church of common interest complainers.  I stepped into a new identity, new composition and new family.  To deny the transforming power and say you are the same person is to belittle the monumental, supernatural event of becoming a child of God.

Before as an Adam I had no way of seeing how good God is.  As a member of His family I can’t help but see how good He is.  For me when I was “baptized for salvation” (that was our last of our club bylaws) I had no concept of these truths.  I joined a club, yes I did, but God is so gracious that he heard me say “help me Jesus” and I can say that I was born again.  This is the mercy and grace of God.  I may have lived like a lawyer trying to keep the law and living a miserable life but I was different inside.  I may have entertained all kinds of wrong, evil, stinking, desperate, rebellious and just plain mean thinking but deep down it wouldn’t stick.  I could manufacture a situation where my selfish nature would justify a behavior.  I would say “but if I don’t get this who is going to give it to me?” or maybe I would say “it doesn’t hurt anyone else and I enjoy it” or maybe “they deserve what they are getting so I’m going to let them have it” or maybe “I’m just mad at everybody because no one understands or cares so I am going to just do what I want.”  Still Jesus came and made me a new creation.

I lived in wrong thinking and wrong believing for a very long time.  I never heard about the superabounding Grace of God.  I never knew that being born again was a supernatural transformation.  I never knew that my new nature was divinely derived.  I just didn’t know.  I didn’t know that the transforming and renewing of my human mind would only happen in a relationship with the Holy Spirit.  I had no idea that His power and divine love would flow through and in me to change me and my surroundings.  I just didn’t know.  Well now I do know, now I’m free and I am sharing it with you. 

Step out of the bushes.  I don’t care if you are the best, church going, moral absolute perfectionist, best mom on the planet person.  If you don’t have a relationship with the Holy Spirit you are missing out on what it means to be saved.  If you don’t know Jesus you are missing the purpose of His cross.  If you don’t walk with God in the cool of the morning then you are still in the bushes.  All of our human derived rules and bylaws will not get us out of the bushes.  Only believing in Him will bring us into the light.  Only a born again experience will transform our thinking, unlock our minds and bring us into a relationship with the Holy Spirit.  I’m not saying that anyone reading this is headed for Hell.  That is between you and Jesus.  If you believe He saves you from Hell then I know He honors that belief. 

I pray that we all move past our clubs and into His arms.  I pray we are all saved again and again.  I pray we are all born again and again.  I pray we all receive another baptism of the Spirit again and again.  I pray we all step out of the bushes and into the arms of our good and loving Abba!

Yay God!

Lance

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