I HAVE MADE A LOT of deals in my life, but I have found none better…
UNTIL YOU BELIEVE that being good is not the goal for the life you really want, you will be in bondage.
Certainly you will suffer fewer consequences if you act “right” and the fear of natural consequences is most likely the primary motive behind “being good”, but as a strategy for life, it will never lead you to peace. Or rest.
It is a counterintuitive truth, I know, but so is much about what Jesus taught. Let me explain.
If you try to be good, you will look good out there and you may fit in. Or feel like a fraud.
If you work hard, the boss will say you are good, and you may feel significant and secure. Or feel like a hamster in a wheel.
If you are over-responsible for others, you will definitely be called good, even an angel on earth, and you may feel loved. Or used.
However, if you expect to get your needs met out there, you become a slave to “being good”. And doing.
I didn't understand this truth so the day after my encounter with Jesus and realizing I had lost my Bible—probably a decade before—I bought a new one. Reading it became the most important thing on my busy agenda because I needed to know why he loved me after revealing to me that he knew the real me.
He also said he wanted my life, but he left before he explained what that meant. All I knew is that I had some work to do, and as a typical Type-A personality, I was going to be ready for his return, which I expected in the next week or so.
Like other business ventures, I was intent on winning in this one. So, I focused on what seemed to be important to him, which was presented in his case against me—why I called myself Christian. Naturally, I focused on being good.
Using my best thinking, I enrolled in a Bible study at the church so I could learn how to be a Christian in which God could be proud to call me his own. Gaining knowledge would certainly help me win. And become a good person.
Then I would be prepared for whatever it was that he wanted my life for. (Not to mention how good I would look to him.)
When I reflect back to those early days and years of trying so hard to be good and do right, I stand in amazement at how God got me here, where I am telling you that being good is not the goal. Read More...
HIS VERY NAME CAUSES your spirit to quicken upon hearing it and conjures emotion, whether you know him or not. Take a moment to capture your thoughts about Jesus because it will be very important to the work we are doing.
Do you believe in Jesus or not? Either way, capture the reasons for your choice.
If you are making me wrong for asking you where you stand, please create a space in your mind for the possibility that it can be of great value that you do not.
Let me say, too, that I am not in the business of converting you to Christianity, and, if anything, I would like you to stand on the outside of any religion. If this statement conjures fear, please capture your thoughts about this as well.
If you are devout in any religion, even atheism, my work should not threaten your beliefs, but rather it should cause you to be fiercer in what you believe to be true.
What is important to me is that you be fully present in our work and not afraid that I want to force you to give up any beliefs that work well for you.
I know firsthand how precious our beliefs are and how we like to protect them like we would our best friends.
The religion of Christianity has caused an aversion to, or an avoidance of, Jesus for many people, but my relationship with Jesus has caused an aversion to, and avoidance, of Christianity for me.
I seem to be in good company for in Revelation, the last book of the Bible, Jesus had a message for seven particular churches, especially in chapters two and three, and for the most part, it was not pretty. In my opinion, his message would still ring true for the organized church today.
It was obvious that Jesus had a problem with religious groups during his time on the planet, and he was killed while trying to break them free from their faulty beliefs and counterfeit strategies related to God.
He was accused of blasphemy against God, while God himself said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5)
This conversation is important because as you find faulty beliefs and counterfeit strategies that you want to change, you will need to replace them with new beliefs and strategies.
All beliefs come from one of three places; personal experience, the witness of the personal experience of another person, or some form of media.
Above all else, you do not want to exchange one faulty belief for another faulty belief. This will only lead to another counterfeit strategy which, given enough time and stress will also fail you. Read More...