My last post tried to explain our need for redemption. Without it we will never hear from God.
Today, let’s look at what else we will need for solid communication with our Lord and Savior.
John 3:3 “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’”
Dr. Willard begins a significant part of Chapter 7 with the words of Scripture “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 2:5 and 1 Peter 2:21-23 “For this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps. ‘He committed no sin and no deceit was found in His mouth.’ When He was abused, “He did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.”
Is this intimidating?
It should be…
What is Jesus telling us? We have to become a new person in order to fulfill our mission here on earth. What a role model Jesus Christ presented to us in 1 Peter. Would you be able to do what He did in His life? As a Christian, these Scriptures are defining us, telling us what we must do.
Can you “wrap your mind” around this?
This is Christianity 101 in just a few pages…
1.God acted on us human beings so we can live fulfilling lives in His Kingdom here on earth. God cares. As I wrote about the “original sin” in my last post, we have to admit that God does not seem to want that to be a part of our permanent makeup. He wants something better for us. He wants us to have an opportunity to have more of the mind of Christ than we now have. If we can find a way to learn more about God’s creative and sustaining will for our lives, we have a chance to meet our potential as humans here on earth. I find it amusing that Dr. Willard uses an analogy of humans and kittens and cabbages to explain how we have the potential to have the mind of Jesus. Humans have the “power to act and respond in specific kinds of relations”. A kitten is alive and it can respond to a ball of string but it cannot respond to Scripture. A cabbage is alive to soil, water and sun but it is not alive to the effect of Scripture. Only man has that ability. But we have to choose to use our potential; we have to want to be born again.
2.Those born again, manifest a different kind of life. When a person chooses to be born again, a power from God begins to rule in a “born again” person’s life. Keep in mind, man is biologically alive like a kitten and a cabbage but spiritually dead to God because of what happened in the Garden of Eden. This new birth establishes a spiritual connection that supersedes the spiritual death of original sin. New life “enables us to see and enter the Kingdom of God as participants. It opens the door of the mind and enters the heart. From there it is able to progressively transform the whole personality.” I love Dr. Willard’s use of Mark 4:14 here as he writes “The sower sows the word”
What does this mean for you?
Only you can answer that.
I know what it means for me and I can tell you why I did not understand this in my past. Honesty from your writer will be helpful here.
I was too stubborn to let God have His way with me.
I wanted to control my life. I wanted to reserve some of my choices to get what I wanted and I wanted freedom to choose to sin and have “fun”. I was too selfish to see that the best life I could have on earth was giving my life to Christ. I thought I could find the best way to have my best life. I was too obstinate to understand that the worries I had could have been eliminated by God. I wanted to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish and doing God’s will was just a distraction from my goal. I knew better than God.
As I look back, I had no real purpose for my life, or at least, my purpose for life was not very significant. The reason it was not significant was because I was directing my life, not God.
With God directing me, I have a better understanding of what I should be doing.
I aspire to the powerful words of C.H. Spurgeon which Dr. Willard uses: “We have been raised from the dull sphere of mere mind and matter into the heavenly radiance of the spirit-world; and now, as spiritual men, we discern spiritual things, we feel the forces which are paramount in the spirit-realm, and we know there is a Holy Ghost, for we feel Him operating in our spirits.”
There you have it:
The greatest thing I will ever understand about hearing from God…