How We Can Know God

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - How We Can See God

One of the greatest travesties of modern-day Christianity and the church is we stop just short of knowing God.

We’ve created centers of learning about God that we call church.

We talk a lot about what we “think” God is like.

We strain out gnats and swallow camels.

It’s academic and not personal.

But unless God is real, we’re merely like every other religion -just another philosophy.

But God is an actual person who can be known and with whom a real relationship can be had!

My prayer of late has been how to truly know and experience God, and usher others into that.

Then, I saw something I’d not really seen before -something that I may have understood conceptually in my head but that’s now burning on my heart.

Consider 2 Corinthians 4:6:

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
—2 Corinthians 4:6

Now, juxtapose that against Matthew 6:23:

“But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
—Matthew 6:23

The Apostle Paul did not just say, “God commanded light to shine out of darkness” else we would think of this “light” in terms of what we can see visually, but he continued “WHO HAS SHONE IN OUR HEARTS to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

My God.

Now, compare that to Matthew 6:22-23,

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.

But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
—Matthew 6:22-23

Now, consider the immediately preceding pericope of Scripture in Matthew 6:19-21,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also.”
—Matthew 6:19-21

Ok. What am I getting at?

Those who have been born again do not “see” with their iris and pupils but with their hearts.

When Paul writes, “[God] has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” it should be apparent that we cannot perceive wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation (light) with the organ that pumps blood (heart).

So by “heart”, Paul is referring to a spiritual organ -the core of our spiritual being, and by “light”, he is referring to the life giving power that comes from God.

What Paul is essentially saying is the heart is the eye. It is the sensory organ by which we have any sensitivity to the spiritual dimension and that gives us the ability to perceive God.

The Matthew passages makes a contrast between a good eye and a bad eye -a good eye filling the body with “light” (life) and a bad eye filling the body with great darkness (not life).

I would argue that the “good eye” is a spiritual heart made alive in the new birth by faith through grace. And, the “bad eye” is the natural perception obtained through bodily sensory organs, experience and earthly ideation, which leaves the heart dead, hard and stony with no capacity to sense, know or experience God.

I believe Jesus provides a test in Matthew 6:19-21 so that we can know which “eye” we have: WHAT WE TREASURE.

The bad eye treasures “treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” (e.g. things material and that are dependent of the material: money, possessions, status, etc.)

The good eye treasures “treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (e.g. spiritual things independent of material things: virtue, fruit of the spirit, Isaiah 58:5-8).

Because, what we treasure, as Matthew 6:21 concludes, “There your heart will be also.”

Everything God commands is good and for our good. So when Jesus says “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” in Luke 14:33, He is not merely putting forward the price of discipleship, Jesus is giving us the prescription for nurturing a heart that can sense, know and experience God.

We can do more than “know about” God.
We can know God.
We can sense and experience God!

I want that more than anything.

And, our “heart” -the one that God gives, is our “eye” which gives us the ability to perceive, know and experience (be with) God.

Get that heart (humble yourself, repent, seek diligently for it).
And, guard it.

Thank You, God, Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ for answering my prayer. Not that I have attained, but that You lead me in the paths of righteousness that I may fully attain it, and, above all, that You are with me.

Thank You for teaching me to close my eyes and see through the eye of the heart You gave me so I can perceive, know and experience You.

#KnowGod #KnowingGod #gospel

52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #21 – A Quiz (About Fasting)

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #21 - A Quiz (About Fasting)

In week 21 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for a quiz.

I was at Rosey Baby’s for lunch and as I was leaving I passed a table where Monica Banks was having lunch with a colleague.

She was aware that I had recently accepted my call to the ministry and she motioned for me to come to her table.

Now Mrs. Banks was constantly investing in people, looking to develop leaders in the community and trying to help them get to the next level.

She asked me a question, “What does it mean to fast?”

She was quizzing me, because, being a seasoned woman of faith and also a minister, she knew the answer better than I did.

I gave her an answer that may have been technically correct but I could sense from my delivery and from her response that it was from my head but not from my heart. It was something I thought, not something I knew.

She responded, “Thank you, Reverend. Hug Melissa and those babies for me.”

That was almost two decades ago, and since that moment I’ve been pondering her question in my heart.

Providential factors: life, seeking, surviving a crisis of faith, and reading the following passage at just the right time brought her question full circle.

“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
—Deuteronomy 8:2-3

All that God does is to make Himself known. There is not only no higher good, there is no good beside that.

It is during a fast where the cloak of our sufficiency is removed and we are confronted with the depth of our earthly dependencies to the point of idolatry. We are confronted with our reaction to withdrawal from them and the true condition of our heart from which our reactions spring.

God’s objective toward us is to perfect us so that He can shine through us, like He does through Jesus, His only begotten Son.

**We can either do it with Him** and cooperate by willingly putting things down and exercise ourselves to godliness through disciplines such as fasting, **or it can happen to us** through a “forced fast” like the one experienced in this passage by the Children of Israel as they are tried and trained in the wilderness.

Either way, we’re going to be made to learn, if we’re His. And, it’s for our good.

“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”
—Hebrews 12:7-8

We can either seek out opportunities to confront those things that get between us and God, that block His love to and through us, or find ourselves thrust into situations that cause us to confront them, or both.

He desires to make us stronger, to conform us to the image of Christ, until like Jesus we are steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

It is a work that He will complete without fail.

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”
—Philippians 1:6

God wants to grow us to the point where, when the enemy attacks us at our weakest point, tempting us, our Strength is so overwhelming we can respond, “Man shall not live by bread alone [our earthly dependencies or whatever Satan’s offering], but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

But [Jesus] answered [Satan’s temptation] and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
—Matthew 4:4

Fasting is a spiritual discipline of forsaking natural satisfaction in pursuit of spiritual sustenance.

Without the **pursuit** of God, fasting is just dieting.

But, a real fast is much more.

Fasting is more than abstaining, it’s availing ourselves of the sustenance only God can provide, through seeking His revelation, obedience to what He reveals, while putting aside our earthly comforts and dependencies to rely on Him alone.

“In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’

But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know.’

Therefore the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?’

Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.'”
—John 4:31-34

Fasting is strength conditioning, where at the point of our weakness, His strength is made perfect. It is preparation for the trials that are sure to come.

I’m so thankful to my dear sister in Christ, Monica Banks, for her quiz that prepares me for the test.

I’m grateful.

#52WoG #fasting #spiritualwarfare

My New Found Freedom In Slavery To Christ

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - My New Found Freedom In Slavery To Christ

I am beginning to experience a wonderful new found freedom as a slave of Christ.

I have been in the bondage of worry, thinking that I have to take care of things, I have to make ends meet, I have to make a way, I have to do this, I have to do that to hold everything together, which is true if I’m building my own house.

But, Christ provides for His house.

When I forsake all as following Christ demands, abandoning my own ambitions for my own house and instead serve Him and His house, when His purposes are my pursuit **first** (πρῶτον – “chiefly” or “above all” as in Matthew 6:33, which means everything that follows is subordinate, whatever is 2nd, 3rd, 4th will not violate what is 1st), I find that I can have complete confidence that He will provide everything I need, including the grace needed to glorify God in hard times (2 Corinthians 12:8-9, Philippians 4:11-13).

Because, God’s glory is the goal and He will have it (John 12:28).

If I am truly in His house, the glory of the Father is my goal as is my Master’s, Christ.

His glory **is** increasingly becoming the singular goal of my life, and in this new stage of my walk with Christ, I am consistently seeing His perfect provision even though I serve imperfectly!

He is so faithful.

But it started with dying, beginning with dying to my own identity and my own ambition. You can’t serve two masters.

To enjoy this freedom and the peace that comes with it, I have to forsake all.

And, please do not confuse this as me saying I don’t have to work. A heart that loves compels action to prosper what it loves. I work and in many cases the job I do every day does not change, but what does change is who my work is in service to.

I am not saying I do not have to work.

What I am saying is, I don’t have to worry.

Christ provides for His house.

He will provide everything I need, including the grace needed to glorify God in hard times.

I only need to love Him and do what love does.

This is so freeing.

And, it results in better work too.

The challenge is not allowing myself to be seduced back into the clutches of my old master.

Please pray for me.

See: Matthew 6:24-33
#perfectourlove #work

This Is Going To Hurt

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - This Is Going To Hurt

I’m going to be real.

I have oriented my life around avoiding pain.

It’s evident even in the little things.

I cling to the sheets of my bed a little longer waiting for the chill of the morning to subside.

But there is nothing that hinders growth more than avoiding pain.

When I look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, He was literally in paradise.

But, unlike me with my bed covers, He didn’t think paradise was anything to hold on to (Philippians 2:5-8).

Rather, He considered the will of His Father to be greater.

“He became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross,” Philippians 2:8 says.

Doing that demonstrates a love that’s greater than His comfort.

It also demonstrates an unwavering trust of His Father.

I imagine Jesus, my Elder Brother, loving the Father and knowing His will to be perfect, steps forward without flinching, completely willing to take on the challenge.

God the Father asks, “Who will go for us?”

Jesus, God the Son, says, “I’ll go.”

As He goes, I can imagine Him thinking,
“This is going to hurt, but this is going to be good.”

I repent.

I aspire be like Him, to love God more than my comfort, to trust His plan, to go –to cast aside comfort and take on the day, fully embracing the challenges, pain and suffering before me to grow, and to be made like Christ, fit to rule.

I go. I attack the day out of love for my Father, trusting and executing His plan, thinking,

“This is going to hurt, but this is going to be good.”

Always Winning

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Always Winning

When we misunderstand what Christianity really is and the desire of our hearts are amiss, we can often think and feel that we’re losing when we’re actually winning.

In the biblical account of Acts 16 we observe how Paul and Silas have devoted themselves to the work of the Lord. There is no question that they are where God would have them to be, doing what God would have them to do.

Yet, by verse 22 of the same chapter, they find themselves having their backs beaten open, their feet shackled and being thrown in a dark jail cell.

Admittedly, were it me, I would have thought,

“What have I done wrong?”

“I’m trying to do the right things.”

“Then, why is this happening to me?!” as though obedience and living for Christ should only result in pleasant things and a life of ease without hardship.

But where did that idea come from? Jesus certainly did not teach that.

By the Spirit of God the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:12,
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

This, I believe, was born out of Jesus’s own words in John 16:33,
“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Obedience and living for Christ as a means of gain, attaining worldly pleasure and a life of ease without hardship is an insidious deception that Satan harvests from our own unregenerate, fleshly hearts so he can inoculate us with it later, a deception that can be reintroduced casually, subtly and imperceptibly –even from the pulpit as preachers tickle our itching ears with what we want, which infects our heart and causes our desire to be amiss.

It’s a Christianity that makes God merely a means to an end (“the good life”), when He should be everything.

This is why it is imperative to stay immersed in the Word, to submit to the Word, to stand on the Word and watch, guarding against my own heart because it is deceitfully wicked. His heart should be the pursuit and the Word is the seed of His heart being formed in me by the work of the Holy Spirit.

So, I repent.

The true aim of Christianity is TO BE WITH GOD.

That results in us:
Going where God goes,
Doing what God does,
Loving who God loves,
Wanting what God wants.

Where does God go? Everywhere. (Psalm 19:1-4, Matthew 24:14, Mark 16:15 )

What does God do? Making Himself known and giving life by doing so. (Isaiah 11:6-9, Habakkuk 2:14, John 17:3)

Who does God love? The world, especially those who love Him. (Exodus 20:5-6, 33:19, John 3:16)

What does God want? His creation redeemed, all things reconciled to Himself, Us conformed to the image of His Son, His children to be part of His work. (Genesis 12:3, 2 Corinthians 5:18‭-‬20, 2 Peter 3:9, Ephesians 2:10)

He did that.

All that He desires, He has done. (Isaiah 55:11)

Jesus’s last words from the cross, “It is [was/is/shall be] finished” recorded in John 19:30 was the cry of victory.

God has won.

And it is this reality and Jesus’s words in the latter part of John 16:33 that I believe Paul and Silas have confidence in and that allow them to respond to tribulation in the manner that they did -“praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25). Again, those words from Jesus were,

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

“I have overcome the world.”

The hearts of Paul and Silas were not amiss. Their desire was not for a nice house, a successful career or easy going. Like Jesus, their heart was to be with God, to the extent that they WANTED to share in Christ’s sufferings to be with Him and to see God’s will done –a will they were confident was being accomplished even in the midst of what appeared to be a setback.

And, God’s will was being accomplished.

“Then he [the jailer] called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'” -Acts 16:29-‬30

That night, the entire prison was witnessed to, the jailer and his entire household (which may have extended well beyond his immediate family, potentially including servants and their families, etc.) were saved and baptized.

Hallelujah.

Would this have occurred if Paul and Silas were sulking, crying, complaining and begrudging their circumstances?

No.

But Paul and Silas were operating from a position of winning.

Their example in Acts 16 encapsulates Romans 8:28-29,

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

“We KNOW…”

Paul and Silas were confident in the victory of Jesus Christ and they knew that even their imprisonment would work together for good.

And, what was that good?

That “whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Said another way, Paul and Silas knew that the good that would come of a seemingly bad situation was that either they (or another) would be made to look more like Christ (“conformed to the image of His Son”) and/or the family of God would grow (“that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”) which pleased God and therefore pleased them.

The Apostle Paul writes victoriously,

“So [at the end of the day] when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’
‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
-1 Corinthians 15:54-58

When my heart is amiss, it can feel like I’m losing even when I’m winning.

But when I center my hope and expectation in Christ, seeking those things which are above and eternal such as being with Him and being like Him, rather than seeking those things below and temporary such as worldly goods and pleasure, I can live joyfully in any circumstance to His praise and glory, knowing because He’s won, I’m always winning.

What do you see?

A prison cell to complain about or a platform to glorify Christ and secure a crown?

For those of us in Christ, everything is an opportunity “for we know ALL things work together for good to those who love God.”

Whether we seize it, depends on how we see it.

Delight yourself in the Lord, make Him alone the desire of your heart and you will see

Because He’s won, I’m always winning

Resulting in growth and life in Christ.

#perfectourlove #winning

Use It All

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Use It All

One of the greatest gifts given to me was from the Proverbs 31 Woman. It is the removal of the distinction between secular and spiritual -the notion that there are normal things we do (chores, business, etc.) versus things we do for God (church, ministry etc.).

The Proverbs 31 Woman demonstrates that it is the aim (the heart seen in verse Proverbs 31:11-12) that makes something spiritual and therefore it’s all spiritual. We, like she, can use everything we do to serve our Lord.

Why we do it and how we do it can all be used in His service.

It’s all spiritual. Everything can be done as a contribution to the Kingdom.

Use it all.

Biblical Women Who Lead And I Gladly Follow

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com -  Biblical Women Who Lead And I Gladly Follow

Of the people from the Bible who have influenced my life the most, two are women.

The way I aspire to live daily is inspired by the Proverbs 31 Woman who uses everything she has and does to diligently and faithfully serve her Lord’s house.

The way I preach is inspired by the Woman At The Well. “Come meet a Man who told me all things [who I have personally encountered]… Could this be the Christ?”

Their contributions, as with many women in the Bible, demand a respect, value and high view of women –a view which Scripture suggests Jesus held.

Move: The Master Makes A Perfect Piece With Our Imperfect Lines

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Move: The Master Makes A Perfect Piece With Imperfect Lines

Even when I say I’m “seeking God’s will” it can be a cop out.

I suffer from inaction sometimes and don’t move because in my flesh, my highest priority is to be safe –to avoid pain, suffering and death. I often stay put because the place I’m in seems safe enough.

Sometimes, when I say I want to know God’s (exact) will for my life, I’m often saying that what I want is a path without failure or pain.

But that is contrary to God’s will for my life.

We are conformed to the image of His Son and learn obedience through the things that we suffer. (Hebrews 5:8)

A perfect path without trial and error, is like only ever coloring by numbers when instead the Master desires to teach you to create the way He creates.

That requires my trusting the Master’s ability to teach me (heart) and my being willing to attempt to do what I currently cannot (action).

That involves striving, failure and the pain and suffering that results in.

Without the Master, we’d just make a mess.

But when we trust the Master, He redeems our foibles and failures and uses them to teach us how to make a masterpiece.

But what’s more, in His incomprehensible genius, the masterpiece He helped us create, in spite of our imperfections, is a perfect piece that He had always predestined to be part of a vastly greater and perfect design.

When we behold it, we can only help but praise, “How great thou art!”

And then, the lesson starts again.

God is not only bringing us through, He’s making us into something glorious!

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

I have suffered from inaction and didn’t move because my highest priority was to be safe –to avoid pain, suffering and death.

But, no more.

I repent.

My highest priority is to be with God.

If we have the Father’s heart or are even seeking His heart, we are exactly where we’re supposed to be.

If we are doing what is pleasing to Him or are even moving in an attempt to be obedient to what He has revealed that is pleasing to Him (through His Word), we are doing exactly what we’re supposed to do.

The primary thing is not a specific physical place (this city or that, this job or that, this opportunity or that) nor is the primary thing a certain activity (doing this thing or that) but a heart for God put into motion.

We need only to move in any direction with a heart to please Him and He will use it to get us exactly where He wants us to be.

Father, give me a heart like Jesus that is consumed with You and the fortitude like His to put it into action. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

So, I’m lifting my eyes to the Lord, and moving based on what I know of God revealed through the life of Jesus Christ, praying that the Holy Spirit will help me know Him more accurately as I consume the Word, trusting Him to take me where I’m supposed to go, to make me into who He would have me be and to use my life for His glory as part of His masterpiece.

I’m putting a heart for God in motion, however imperfect, and trusting Him with the rest.

Faith and Works

#thriveday

Salvation Requires Pinhole Accuracy

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Salvation Requires Pinhole Accuracy
Photo Courtesy of Ronnie Dankelman – Flickr

Salvation requires pinhole accuracy. Get it wrong and we die.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who is leading us to a place that requires unimaginable skill as a shepherd and leader to get us to.

He alone can lead us to this place: ¹

the only place where there is good pasture and life, ²

the place that if we don’t get to, we will perish. ³

It is through a Door that requires pinhole accuracy to navigate to.

That Door is Jesus, Himself. ²

The Door is not broad through which anything and everything can fit. ⁴

Rather the Door is very narrow. ⁴

There is an incredibly specific Jesus we must go through.

It’s not the Jesus of how we think He would be, or the one that we want Him to be, or the one of our politics, but it is the real Jesus that came in the flesh, who died for our sin, who was raised from the dead and now lives before God forevermore. ⁵

Finding that Door, let alone getting through it is impossible, it’s like getting a camel through the eye of a needle. ⁶

But, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” – Luke 18:27

The kingdom of God is at hand. Humble yourself. Repent and plead to God to help you. Expose yourself to His Word.

If He grants you ears to hear, the Chief Shepherd will appear.

Follow Him, alone. ⁷

He will get you there. ⁸

As a pastor, I am merely an under-shepherd and my one job is to keep your eyes on the Good Shepherd and direct you in His path. ⁹

Follow Jesus, alone. ⁷

He, alone, will get you there. ⁸

#perfectourlove

¹ John 10:7-8, Acts 4:12
² John 10:9
³ John 3:16-19
⁴ Matthew 7:14, Luke 14:13
⁵ Revelation 1:18
⁶ Luke 18:25, Matthew 16:17
⁷ Matthew 23:10
⁸ John 10:27-30
⁹ 1 Corinthians 11:1

Jesus Goes Hard

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Jesus Goes Hard

This is me some days.

A lot of days, actually.

Struggling to get myself together and out of bed because I don’t know where I’m going or if where I’m going is worth the trouble.

But, Jesus goes hard.

He’s driven.

His goals are not like our goals.

He didn’t leave heaven to acquire houses fit for the cover of “Southern Homes and Garden” or for a certain lifestyle. Jesus said,

“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” – Luke 9:58

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:28

And to the point of daily discipline, He said,

“I must be about My Father’s business.” – Luke 2:49

Jesus left heaven and got up everyday because of His love for and dedication to the Father.

But, I’m not so enraptured by a feeling of love for the Father that it propels me out of bed every morning. Many days I’m not excited. Many days I don’t feel like it.

“Lord,” I say, “I’m not there yet. Help me.”

And, He did. This is where He teaches me. Jesus says,

“Not My will, but Yours [Father] be done.” – Luke 22:42

Simply put, action in loving obedience is not a product of desire but decision. This is what Jesus demonstrates here.

I have to do, not based on what I’m feeling but based on what I’ve decided based in loving obedience to Him. His Truth and His Spirit give me that capacity. It is an appropriate application of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

But, I’m right. I’m not there yet. So, I have to “exercise myself into godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).

It’s not about daily motivation, it’s about daily discipline.

I have to do what I don’t want to do in loving obedience until it simply becomes what I do because obedience has become part of me. Thus, “exercising myself into godliness.”

I feel it’s also important to observe that Jesus did not move aimlessly. Hebrews 12:2 says that, as our example, as the one who ran the first race and set our course –as “the author and finisher of our faith”, Jesus endured pain and suffering “for the joy that was set before Him.”

Jesus was not pressing toward a thing –an achievement or an event.

Jesus was pressing toward a state, “the joy” –abiding in the pleasure of the Father.

“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” – John 8:29

That “abiding” is in a continuous tense, meaning, it’s not just something that will happen in the future. In Jesus’s case, it always was, it will always be and it is right now.

His pressing was not for Himself, abiding with the Father was His natural state. His pressing was for our abiding.

“Father, I desire that they also who You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” – John 17:24

So, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

Therefore, I seek to go forth *abiding* more so than *doing*, having God’s heart to see people loved: seeing them delivered from the death of sin, given life through the knowledge of Him by the face of Jesus Christ and that life nurtured by His manifold grace through us in service.

I seek to go forth abiding, Him being a part of everything that I do.

It’s strange. That state, “abiding”, both results from and results in “always doing those things that please Him.”

So, if I’m not enjoying an abiding with Him, the answer is “doing those things that please Him” (loving people: making Him known, serving, etc.).

And, when I’m enjoying abiding with Him, the result is “doing those things that please Him.”

Love is “doing those things that please Him.”

Consider 1 John 4:12-13,

“No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

Love is “doing those things that please Him” and it is how we abide.

Love is how we experience God.

And, that’s the joy: being with God.

Love is how it is done.

Jesus goes hard for it.

Then, so will I.

So, I press.

#perfectourlove