Integrity

Franchise owners ensure that outlets maintain standards. The Lord is even more concerned with the use of his name.

“Listen to me, O family of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and born into the family of Judah. Listen, you who … call on the God of Israel.

Isaiah 48v1

It is very easy for us to apply labels, but is the inside of the tin as described on the outside?

You don’t keep your promises, even though you call yourself the holy city and talk about depending on the God of Israel …

Isaiah 48v2

We are identifying with Jesus, the truth. When teaching his disciples to pray to the Father, he said, ‘Hallowed be your name’. How does our speech reflect our hallowed Father?

Thankfully that same prayer says, “Forgive us our sins.” Mercifully he knows when we fall short and is ready to forgive. He is also ready to intervene when we slip. I once made a flippant statement to which a colleague took offence – “… and you call yourself a Christian!” He tried to prove me corrupt, but the Lord justified me to that colleague. I was so grateful.

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Live the Truth

Only when we understand Jesus, do we understand life, for He defines it. When we understand Him we are aligned with the One who is the Life.

Jesus was challenged over the validity of his teaching.

 “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”  (John 8:13)

His defence was curious. His basis for validity was-

I know where I came from and where I am going. (John 8:14)

It would seem this implies that when I want to be sure of my validity, I need to know where I come from and where I am going. The person who understands such things often appears secure in relationships and free. Yet, Jesus’ statement about the Pharisees holds me back.  He says –

“But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.” (Jn8:15)

The implication is that the focus is not on our own identity, where we come from or where we are going, but on Jesus’ identity.

My testimony is validated as my life becomes more aligned with the Jesus the Way and the Truth and the Life. This alignment occurs as I grow to know Him through making the choices in life that He leads me into and empowers me for through His Spirit. Taking these choices requires a security and freedom not in my own identity, but founded on Jesus love and life.

A more detailed study can be found at Biblebase2AdaringFaith

Word & Spirit – false dichotomy.

The division between Spirit and Word is a false dichotomy of our time played out between conservatives and charismatics. Do I experience God through the Spirit’s leading in worship and seeing Him at work through the miraculous? or, Do I experience Him through seeing Him transform people from the inside out as they live in obedience to His Word? The answer must be a resounding YES to both.

We should learn from the mistakes of the great false dichotomy of the last century: The division between Love and Truth  played out between liberals and evangelicals. At its heart was the question of the modern age, ‘Who is right?’ In the battle between liberals and evangelicals when the love of God was pitted against the truth of God, those who loved separated themselves from truth.  They tried to be the source of love and spiritually died. Those who focused on Truth to the denial of love, lost the heart of Christ’s love becoming cold and hardened to people’s felt needs. The Church became weaker and to this day is suffering.

The tragedy of our church is the split between those who seek to control behaviour through the Word while ignoring the Spirit who makes the transformation possible. And those who want the power of the Spirit while ignoring the inconvenient truths of the One who sent Him. Without both our spirituality becomes self-centred.