January 24, 2017

Thoughts from Mark

Conundrum: a confusing and difficult problem or question

I think Christianity has some conundrums. And because I love the church so much, I want to wrestle with them. Whether it be together with you, or on your behalf. So consider this an invitation into the ring with me.

If I had to boil them all down into one, it is this: Does our experience match the Truth? And I think it’s why there is a noticeable gap between the church and the world. Yes, I think there is a gap. In the church’s effort to connect with and be more appealing to the world, it unwittingly expands a canyon between the system of this world and the kingdom of God.

Here is the gap I see every day: the vast majority of struggles among believers are the same ones with which those in the world struggle. This gap is a direct result of the unresolved conundrum.

Here are few examples of the conundrum played out in our everyday lives:

Our Experience: We need a touch from God. We are desperate, longing, hungry and thirsty for Him.
The Truth: We are IN Christ. Those who hunger and thirst shall be satisfied. The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us.

Our Experience: We need to put God as our first priority.
The Truth: He is the center of who we are. He is before all things, in all things and holds all things together.

Our Experience: The devil is a powerful thief and enemy.
The Truth: Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. He is a completely defeated and disempowered being under the full authority of Jesus AND believers. The greatest thief Jesus describes is OURSELVES.

Our Experience: It feels like God is far away. I wish He was closer.
The Truth: He is always with us, never leaving or forsaking us; an ever-present help in times of trouble.

Our Experience: I just want to run. I want to leave this world and earth behind.
The Truth: This is ours – every problem, every person, every place we put our foot. We were created to bring heaven to earth. The earth and the kingdom of God is our inheritance.

Here is the reality: the “Our Experience” is what the world is saying. Ones who live void of the Spirit of God, excluded from His life by their own choosing. Of course they are hungry and desperate for a touch. Of course their priorities are all out of whack. Needless to say they are easy prey for the devil and his lies. No wonder they feel alone and just want to run away from it all.

But this isn’t US. This is not what we say we believe. We are filled with a very different Spirit. Washed in a very powerful blood. Seated in a very high place. To say this is “our experience” is not living what Jesus made available to us.

To share the same experience with those who deny God flies in the face of the One who made us more than conquerors.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11)

This may be hard to read but Paul is writing to Christians here. And the conundrum is that we WERE washed, sanctified and justified in Jesus and the Spirit of God. This is the reality of who we are. To live a life contrary to what’s been done for us and in us is lunacy. It just doesn’t make sense.

Why live a such a life while the whole of heaven and the Father’s Spirit is right here within us?

And that’s the gap between the church and the world. Why would a world desperate, deceived and void of real life come running to a house full of the same? We have somehow equated being broken and struggling as a compassionate connecting point with the world. No! We were broken but now we have been saved: healed, delivered and made whole. We were struggling but now we are victorious in Christ Jesus.

Our connection with the world is what we WERE and more importantly, what we now ARE. The life abundantly provided us in Jesus closes the gap our conundrum created. We have been born again unto our Father. His Spirit is a raging river of abundance filling and satisfy every part of who we are.

Everything the world is longing for is right here, IN US.

What you feel, and the living reality of who you are, do not always equal one another. We will feel and think things simply because we live in this world. Let the feelings come and let them go. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Then, tell Truth to remain.

As your friend and fellow wrestler in the ring, I am in labor until Christ is formed in us and this conundrum can be put to rest once and for all.

With all the love in my heart,