I love this progressive revelatory walk with Jesus. If you have been following this site for a time, I hope you have seen the progressive revelation unfold. What amazes me is to go back and read some of the older posts and “see” hidden truths that I didn’t have “theology” for before but have come into understanding now. I don’t know if that makes your head hurt. For me it is glorious bliss to hear or read someone or see the puzzle pieces drop into place when the light comes on. I believe this is what Paul was talking about here:
Romans 12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (The Message)
Paul isn’t talking about molding your behavior to a perfect standard and therefore becoming acceptable to God. That is a religious concept that absolutely denies the power and finished nature of what Jesus did. Instead Paul is telling us that our minds need to be renewed by God’s truth about Himself and us. We need to see who He is to know who we are to understand what His plan has been from the beginning. Paul says this:
1 Cor 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (ESV)
So we need His revelation to have our minds renewed.
Stepping into the reality of our inclusion in the Holy trinity family absolutely changes everything. We move away from our “experience” or “what others have said” or “what religion has told us” or so many other voices that are re-enforced by the deceiver himself, and step into the light of His truth. When we see what a perfect family looks like and realize that we are part of that family then our perspective changes. It has to change. We have been inundated with lie after lie about ourselves to discover that God’s opinion and plan for us is so different from our natural understanding. Our fallen nature way of thinking has us hiding from God and trying to build bridges to His place when He has always been with us. Now, after the cross, He ups the ante and takes up residence in us. Check out these posts to see the progressive revelation: Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Godly Sorrow and Moved with Compassion.
Now I am beginning to see the “theology” behind the truth of our identity. Check out this teaching by C. Baxter Kruger. He is absolutely awesome at breaking down what seems complicated into such basic simple truths.
Much of this particular teaching is about the great “I am not(s).” It is that voice in our heads that says we are not worthy or accepted or loved or appreciated or smart or strong or powerful or so many others. These false truths find roots in our natural self often without our conscious awareness. When we are a child and a group of kids tells us we are “gross and not welcome at their birthday party” then…well…we can say we reject that lie but for most of us it takes root. Then over time the liar, the deceiver, the accuser, takes that lie and re-enforces it with circumstance and experience. Next thing we know we are a teenager that won’t ask our love interest to the dance because we are sure they will think we are “gross and not welcome.” See it? Our self-evaluation based on the lies of the enemy will dominate our thinking and become our lens that we used to evaluate every situation. Even our image of God is based on our own fallen interpretation of circumstance and experience.
It began in the garden with the devil challenging our very construction. He tells Eve she will be like God if she eats the fruit. The truth was she was already like God because He made her and every human in the image of God. So the devil is using the “who do you think you are” accusation to move us from a reality based on God’s opinion into a reality based on our experience.
This is why we needed Jesus. We needed the TRUTH to walk amongst us and become one of us and be the vicarious substitute for us. Even the devil took his best shot and Jesus didn’t bite:
Matt 4:3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” (ESV)
This is why we can believe what God says about us. This is why we can believe what Jesus had done for us and to us. He did what we were not capable of doing. He stood in our place as the perfect human and told the devil to take a hike. He joined Himself to our humanity and took up residence inside us and with us and became forever inseparable from us. So no matter how bad, how “real,” how powerful the lie, Jesus possesses and is the truth. He is in our worst place standing there with us. No matter what the enemy says or our experience proves…Jesus is the greater WORD. He is the WORD of God and the final answer in all circumstance.
When you “see” this everything changes. Even passages in the Bible have a new look. Here are a few verses from James in the ESV. Maybe you recognize them:
James 1:21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (ESV)
Check out the same passage in the Mirror Translation:
1: 21 Get rid of any remaining residue of evil that polluted your life before (if a quick temper was your problem then, don’t make it your problem again.) Welcome with sensitive embrace the word that powerfully conceives salvation in your soul. (Saving you from negative thought patterns and depressing emotional traits!) 1: 22 Give the word your undivided attention; do not underestimate yourself. Make the calculation. There can only be one logical conclusion: your authentic origin is mirrored in the word. You are God’s poem; let his voice make poetry of your life! 1: 23 The difference between a mere spectator and a participator is that both of them hear the same voice and perceive in its message the face of their own genesis reflected as in a mirror; 1: 24 they realize that they are looking at themselves, but for the one it seems just too good to be true, he departs (back to his old way of seeing himself) and immediately forgets what manner of person he is; never giving another thought to the one he saw there in the mirror. 1: 25 The other one is mesmerized by what he sees; he is captivated by the effect of a law that frees man from the obligation to the old written code that restricted him to his own efforts and willpower. No distraction or contradiction can dim the impact of what he sees in that mirror concerning the law of perfect liberty (the law of faith) that now frees him to get on with the act of living the life (of his original design.) He finds a new spontaneous lifestyle; the poetry of practical living.
Toit, Francois Du (2014-01-08). Mirror Bible: A selection of key New Testament texts paraphrased from the Greek (Kindle Locations 8649-8652). Mirror Word Publishing (Kindle Edition by Ten10 Ebooks). Kindle Edition.
I would encourage you to take a long look in the mirror. Your identity is in Jesus. Your identity is in what God says about you, what He has made you for and what He has perfected in Jesus. So Mirror Mirror on the wall…