November 19, 2013

Thoughts from Mark

We are all born with certain characteristics.  We are blends of the two parents who gave us life.  And, we are in the image and likeness of our God.

After we are born, we continue to adopt characteristics into our nature.  Immersed in the environment we grow in, the influences of that realm mark us in our developmental stages of life.  Those markings etch our DNA determining how we think, decide, act and live.

Unless vigilantly protested, these characteristics become our identity as we enter adulthood.  Because its the way we always were, we believe it was the way God intended us to be.

Some of these characteristics cannot be changed.  As much as I might want a smaller nose, each morning the mirror reminds me of my striking schnoz…

Others can be changed.  In fact, they are designed to be overcome, beaten, moved on from.

Here’s the point: just because you were born with it, just because you grew up with it, doesn’t mean God intended you to have it or to be it.  

But this argument is consistently applied to conditions we can never remember living without.  The assumption that God designed us to have diseases, abnormalities or sinful conditions is a product of a clouded perspective.  The cloud being our experience.

…it was so that the works of God might be displayed in Him.  (John 9:3)

The disciples were perplexed by this too.  They asked Jesus who sinned so that a man was born blind.  Jesus’ answer has been assumed to mean that God caused the blindness.  What Jesus meant was his condition simply is.  No one is to blame – not the boy, not his parents, not God.  But God shows Himself strong through weakness.  A man’s blindness is God’s opportunity for glory.

You see, man is to be in an ongoing state of becoming.  As long as sin rules in this world, we will see people born blind.  Man’s staunch unwillingness to allow malfunction and disease to continue is the only way to turn this thing around.

Man’s becoming starts inwardly.  He must see his “pre-existing condition” not as God’s will, but as a mountain to climb, as a glory opportunity.  Our sickness, our deficiency is not a teacher.  The Holy Spirit is our Teacher.

Until sin and its effects on humanity become our enemy, we will legitimize them.  We give them power every time we say “I was born this way.”  Sin wants to be accepted.  It wants to remain under the radar screen as an “Oh well, I guess I just have to live with this.”

Until our response is a resounding, from the depths of our being, “NO!”, it will continue.  And every battle we turn tail and run from, is one more day the world – your world – lives groaning, awaiting its release from captivity.

Some of you reading this will assuredly think of Paul asking God to remove the thorn in his flesh.  Jesus replied, My grace is sufficient.  Again, most read that and assume that God wants Paul to just endure it.  That’s because we don’t understand grace.

Grace is divine influence upon the heart, divine empowerment for life.  Paul wanted the thorn removed.  Jesus wanted Paul, by His grace, to live his way through it.

When we pray, we think in terms of God doing things for us.  When God hears our prayers, more often than not, He comes to empower us through the very thing we prayed for Him to remove.  We think He didn’t answer.  He did.  He graced us to win the battle.

This is not a “God’s will” issue.  This is an “our will” issue.  Victory over sin and death is won in Jesus.  Grace – His life in us – is our authority to administrate His victory in every area of our lives.  Too many of us stand on the sidelines of the battle with the biggest weapon in the fight, right in our grasp.

And our enemy is so thankful we don’t realize it.

The earth knows.  It groans its knowing.  Do you hear it?

Become.

In love,