Fire Insurance or Life Insurance

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As we approach another religious observation of Easter, aka Resurrection Sunday, what is the take away from reflection on the Cross? I have spoken with many Christians on the topic; it seems the prevailing take-a-way is “Fire Insurance”. The carnal man, as we all are initially, is mostly concerned about avoiding hell fire. He wants that fire insurance. Knowing this, many churches have parked on the gospel of forgiveness to fill the pews. Most see the Cross of Christ as a means of avoiding damnation and relieving the burden of guilt. These are great blessings, but they are not the benefits most emphasized in scripture. A gospel centered primarily on the Cross as a means of forgiveness will always promote sin consciousness. This is so prevalent that most Christians see themselves as mere sinners. What is the result of this perspective? …more sin. Proverbs states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” If you see yourself as a sinner, then you expect that you will sin. This mindset binds you to the habits of death that the Savior came to free you from. This fire insurance is a carnal interpretation of salvation from those who have failed to understand the true virtue of the Cross.

As far as fire goes Christ doesn’t save us from fire, He assures us of fire. He tells us that our life’s work will be tested by fire, we will be purified by fire, and the Holy Spirit is the Baptism by fire. In fact, He desires that we would be ablaze for Him and His Kingdom. Fire is common for believers.

When I was a teenager, I had a discussion with a man on the bus who tried to persuade me that Christianity was a religion taught to me by my oppressor. He also told me that the cross symbolized death. He went onto to say that he couldn’t understand why people would wear a symbol that represented death. While the Cross does remind us of the death of Yeshua, it also reminds us more importantly of the power of His resurrection. Yes, Christ died for all, but He was also resurrected and obtained new life for all. The teaching of the Cross in Holy Scripture emphasizes this new Life. Yeshua said, “I come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.” The Cross of the Gospel of Christ is where the eternal life of Yeshua is made available to those willing to lay down their own interpretation of living. Existence outside of the life that Christ gives is filled with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life, and fear. The life given to us through the Cross of Christ is the life of an obedient son of GOD. The obedience in this new life is rooted in Love and is lived out in Spirit and Truth. It is a life that is pleasing to GOD; a life that is centered in GOD.

When the teaching of the Cross is limited only to forgiveness, it leaves men attached to their carnal lives. It offers them compassion without a cure for their suffering. So much more has been provisioned through the Cross. It was nearly impossible to know GOD before the Life of Christ was made available through the Cross. The only life obtainable was the life inherited through Adam, which rebels against GOD and questions His Love in unbelief. This carnal life from Adam is alienated from GOD in that it has made a god of its own carnal reasoning.

We have to leverage the love manifested to us in the Cross of Christ unto a new hope and belief, and to faith in the promises of GOD’s love, which goes beyond forgiveness but also brings the promise of a new and powerful Life.

The powers of darkness don’t want you to know the fullness of the Love manifested through the Cross. It is a divine Love that breaks the shackles of sin and enables you to manifest the Light of GOD. All sin is rooted in selfishness and fear. The scripture teaches us that GOD’s perfect Love cast out fear. Fear is diminished in us as we grow in our understanding of the Love of GOD. The secure embrace of GOD’s love frees us from self-concern and empowers us to love others with divine love. Divine love being that beautiful and sacrificial love, that gives at the cost of self to benefit others.

The true sign that we understand and appreciate the Cross of Christ is that we have also taken up our own cross, by daily sacrificing carnal living, that the spiritual Life of Yeshua might be manifest in us. Just as the Spirit raised Yeshua from the dead, the Holy Spirit is present in the earth to empower new life in us. The Holy Spirit opens the life-giving teachings of Yeshua to us, and affirms the love of the Father in our hearts. He who the Son makes free is free indeed. He frees us through the workings of the Cross.

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The Cost of Living

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It takes the same energy to run to life as it does to run from death. I say this because I have often heard people say, “It doesn’t take all of that,” in regards to living spiritually. On the other hand, I have seen the results of living carnally: baby mama drama, divorce, stress, poor health, financial duress, being bound to destructive cycles, and I have had the same thought…jeeez, it doesn’t take all of that! It is better to run to life without the stress of death snapping at your heels. The majority of people don’t develop a zeal for life until the reality of death cast a cloud on their horizon. Hardship is just a part of our sojourn here on earth. It can be hardships experienced in climbing against earth’s gravity toward new horizons or it can be hardships experienced in giving in to earth’s gravity and tumbling towards darkness. Living spiritually is the climb, while living carnally is the fall. Either way, it will involve some struggle and hardship. The rewards of climbing are eternal while the rewards giving in to the downward pull are temporal. In climbing, living spiritually, there is the tendency to lift others up as well. In falling, living carnally, there is the tendency to pull others down as well.

Thing is, the cost of living spiritually is a lot less than the cost of living carnally when you look at the total cost in the end. Carnal living is like the deception of a deferred payment plan where the high interest starts immediately on what you owe. When the bill arrives later, the debt is more than you can pay, then more debt is created by an act to cover the debt at hand and eventually every thing becomes due with no more extensions. Spiritual living is about paying the cost up front, as more of an investment in your life, with dividends that start showing up before you expect it and a great return in the end.

Through the light of Yeshua, I am sharing some principles of life that I hope will motivate you either to begin or to continue a struggle towards Life. The beauty of the journey to life is that Life actually loves you. Life calls to us through the person of Yeshua the Messiah who himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Yeshua has shortened the distance we need to travel because He ascended from Heaven to earth and brought Life within our reach. The distance we have remaining is the short distance to our knees where we surrender our efforts to sustain our own lives to the one who created life in the first place. Christ pays our debts and invites us to get rid of our struggles through exchanging our death for His life. That is a deal no one should pass up!

Be Diligent To Be Delighted

We are told to plan out our salvation in fear and trembling. This amounts to the urgent and intentional efforts we exert towards getting to know our heavenly Father better. The key is being intentional. In fact, it takes planning and intentional effort to grow in our relationships with other significant people in our lives. Our relationship with God is the only one that requires fear and trembling however, the more significant the person, the more of a priority it should be.

Dust, mold, and fungus are amongst the few things I can think of right off that grow or thrive from neglect or lack of attention. Who wants relationship that resembles those?

We are commanded to be holy as GOD the Father is holy and we are commanded to love. Ask yourself if you are proactively and intentionally taking action to promote more holiness and love in your being. We know this involves moving deeper into things that are spiritual and eternal, as well as moving away from things that are carnal and temporal. It also means drawing closer to GOD and seeking fellowship with His children. It means becoming less selfish. Our heavenly Father will orchestrate circumstances to shape us and guide us toward these goals. I believe we have a role in the intensity and frequency of the nudges in the right direction. As children of GOD we are not allowed to just drift. Our Father is committed to perfecting the work he began in us. If you do not like dwelling in whale bellies, being encompassed by your enemies, drought or famine, then be proactive and seek Him. Surely there are modern day equivalencies to these scenarios but they are just as undesirable and equally effective. Obedience is so much better than sacrifice.

As you ponder this, the natural tendency is for the mind to start producing a long list of do’s and don’ts, which can make you feel burdened and discouraged. Thank GOD there is an easier way. Instead of focusing on the HOW, we are encouraged to focus on the WHO. The “Who” is Yeshua (also called Jesus). Our Savior Yeshua is the Word, and the Word is the divine seed for everything GOD wants to reap out of our lives. If we will just abide in the Word of GOD, the fruits of holiness and love will break forth in our lives. Many people read their bible occasionally and read devotionals a little here and there, while at the same time spending hours engaged in worldly activities. Does occasionally spending time in the Word capture the tone of fear and trembling? It does not and this double mindedness leads to being inconsistent in our spiritual walk. We end up with a harvest mingled with a little fruit but plenty of thorns and weeds.

This is not a conversation about salvation. It is a conversation about having greater joy, greater peace, soundness of mind, inspiration to dig deeper and reach higher, having more fulfilling relationships with GOD the Father and those that mean the most to us. It’s about greater success at living well. So get fired up and make whatever adjustments you need to spend more time in the Word and with people who are seeking GOD and enjoy a harvest of life in abundance.