Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Domino Effect

Through my entire adult Christian life I’ve contended for the freedom of others as well as my own.  And I fully understand that Jesus Christ alone, by His grace through my faith in what God has done, is the only formula for true freedom from the curse of sin, death, and the grave.  I have confidence in that truth, and it has granted me solace and deep peace since the day I trusted in Him alone for my eternal salvation.  I believe it’s all said and done deal, based upon His promise and His action on my behalf.

But in like manner, through my entire Christian life, I’ve regularly battled lies that have laid siege to my mind, will, and emotions.  All by way of the misinterpretation of life events, a poor understanding of biblical truth, and even twisted views of Christian faith and practice handed down from one generation to the next.

Often in those times when my faith and feelings collide and spiritual gridlock seems inevitable, well intentioned Christians will ply the standardized messages of encouragement or even chastening with the hope of helping.  I’m grateful for their offerings of succor to a freeman who by the very nature of modern religion is starved and in need of God’s entire truth so freedom can finally be actuated, and not just seen as an ideal for hope on the horizon of harder, and harder religious work - grit.

Some may even say that we battle demons, and truly some do, but most of us battle lies we believe to be true about ourselves, others and even God.  And it doesn’t take a hoard of minions from hell to derail or sidetrack us from the life of peace and freedom we actually have in Christ – but only one well-placed and strategic lie.  And that can come from our own misunderstandings or even the words of others – all without our cognitive awareness.  Keeping in mind we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the only weapons hell has to fight with – lies.

Jesus came into the world, shed His blood and die for the payment needed to cover all our sins.  But further and often overlooked, is the other reason He came.

Hours before Jesus’ death on the cross, for the payment of humanity’s sin, while being interrogated by Pilate, our Lord states this secondary reason for His coming into the world.

John 18:37 “…I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth.  All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”  (NLT)

Because Jesus is here to testify to the truth, and we who are redeemed by His blood have immediate access to His ear and His voice, our entire freedom in Christ (the evidence that God has actually done something in us) pivots on our willingness to FACE the lies that wrestle for our allegiance, and engage Jesus in a discussion of what is true and what is false.  And that can only be accomplished by paying close attention to what we are FEELING at any given moment of duress.

Yesterday I received some very distressing news.  It caused very bad feelings, and I rapidly traveled downstream with those bad feelings.  Fortunately love, grace and a new day finally came.  But my freedom from those bad feelings only came when I faced the lie that had caused them, and consulted with Jesus as to what was actually true – versus what I felt was true (the lie).

By identifying what I was feeling (I felt cheated), I then was able to go to Jesus and tell Him that very thing.  “Jesus this feels very unfair and I feel like I’ve been cheated in a really big way!”

I told Him what felt true – I’d been cheated and it hurts.  Then I asked Him where that feeling came from and to show me it’s origin.  He showed me a time and a place where I was taken advantage of and how I felt alone and at risk.  And so I asked Him was I alone and at risk in that memory and time, and He said I was not and that He was with me the whole time.  I asked Him to tell me the truth – not just what I “felt” was true and He did.

At that very moment, the bad feelings that were sourcing from a lie I believed to be true about myself deflated and peace actually arrived.  My heart was filled with His words, His truth, His love, and His peace.  No longer did a lie hold sway over my mind, will and emotions – but His truth had set me free.

Now during my time of duress and bad feelings was my salvation in question or jeopardy?  Of course not, but gone unchecked, as they often do, those bad feelings based upon a lie would have compounded as the next lie was encountered, and the next and the next.  All of which tend to pile up and will eventually derail our faith.  And when our faith is derailed we wander around as freemen appearing to be bound and confused – and we are – with piles and piles of lies left unchecked.

Yet the fact remains: If I deal with that one root lie, many other lies and misinterpretations begin to fall like dominos.  Oh we may think it’s the demons, but most often it’s the lies.

Please see it this way.  If we knock down the very first or root lie that has been seated in our soul, countless, if not all the other lies will fall, because lies beget lies, and bad feelings beget bad feelings.  And only the most stalwart people of faith can “fake it” until they get to the next challenge and the pressure compounds and compounds and eventually they burst – everyone does.

And I will NOT fake it till I make it, because that makes me a fake and feel good addict and I will bounce from one experience to the next, never actually dealing with the root cause of all my bad feelings, but only moving from one coping mechanism to the next.  Good feelings junkies pepper the pews of our churches and tend to migrate from one “good” experience to the next – because they’ve never fully dealt with the cause of their good-feeling-addition (their bad feelings based on lies believe to be true about self).

Now granted, we all like to feel good, but true and lasting peace CANNOT be faked or even compared to our search for the next good feeling.  Only a peace that surpasses all explanation and comprehension will truly satisfy us; especially when the winds and waves batter our foundations.

So let me ask you: Are you ready for The Dominos Effect?  Are you ready for Jesus to speak truth to you and begin to hear the clatter of all those dominos fall; those lies and bad feelings that have been stacked up in random twists and turns within your soul?  Are you ready to fully experience His peace – real peace?

I know I am and I’m grateful for The Domino Effect of His truth in my life.

The Domino Effect – let it begin now!