Witnessing

Tuesday Devotional: 2 John

bibleRead 2 John

God never desires partial healing.  The healing of the Lord is complete and all encompassing.  There is sickness in this world, and Jesus Christ came to overcome and conquer it.  Jesus Christ did not come to redirect or guide the world into a better way of living; he came to completely restructure the world into a new way of living.  When the healing power of the Holy Spirit enters into this world there is no remnant of the passed life with him.  What remains are faint and distant memories of a former way of life that hold no place in the present.  This healing power is so unprecedented that the only natural instinct upon receiving it is to share it with anyone and everyone you come into contact with.  Upon receiving healing from the Holy Spirit there is no “I have to” share the gospel out of duty or obligation.  There is only “I have to” share the gospel because the world needs this power and healing I have also graciously received. 

However, one must constantly be aware of what is actually being shared.  All we can share is Jesus Christ alone.  He is the power.  He is the healing.  In nothing else is there the power for transformation and change that is in the name of Jesus Christ.  If the gospel is shared in power and in truth there is an unequalled healing in store for the entire world.  The gospel shared in power and truth will change lives completely and will unmistakably yield good fruit.  However, if the gospel is misrepresented, healing will be overpowered by suffering and pain.  Good cannot win because the good news was not preached.  The gospel cannot and will not be effective if it is not received as it was established, in truth.  Anything short of the truth in the gospel is dangerous and will not result in healing.

As one seeks to share the gospel out of a desire to heal, one also learns to avoid those who share a gospel of lies that will only prove to destroy and prevent healing.  Christ is all and is in all, and when sharing the gospel there is no message other than exactly what has been lived and shared before. The reason for the stable and consistent nature of the gospel’s integrity over the years is that it is only in the natural state of the gospel that the world has experienced its healing effects on the suffering of this world.  After experiencing the healing truth of the word, the choice to dilute or weaken the gospel for any reason whatsoever becomes completely ridiculous. The gospel of Jesus Christ is truth and the healing it promises is real.  Clinging to his truth will result in the truth of complete healing, whereas being distracted or overcome by falsity will only result in progressive sickness and pain.

Tuesday Devotional: 1 Peter 1

Read 1 Peter 1:13-25bible

Nothing about the new life in Christ is realistic.  Everything about it pushes the standard limitations we place on what is possible.  Approaching the word of God and how it applies in this world is completely unrealistic from the reality established by the world we have been raised by.  Everything about the new life in Christ calls us to expect what our world teaches us to never expect.  The world leads us to believe that certain things are not to be expected, that certain things are out of the range of possibility, and certain things simply cannot be.  The concept of genuine selfless love for another is clouded by our belief that the limits of our human hearts can neither handle nor be expected to exhibit such unrealistic love.  The concept of complete abandonment to an authority that has the power to permanently change us from paralyzing insecurity to confidence and contentment is not realistically possible. We are wary of anything that might tempt us out of the real world and into a mere fantasy state.

There is no synchronicity between the new life in Christ and the life we were born into in this world.  The two lives are in a state of constant contradiction.  The more one is overcome by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the more one begins to perceive oneself as a “stranger” in this world.  A stranger that has a home somewhere else, but is nonetheless in this world with a job to do.  That job is not to reproduce or replicate the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of others.  That job is to simply bear witness to the power of the Holy Spirit in our own life.  One cannot simply share the expectations of the Gospel with another and expect that those expectations be received, followed and cherished.  Rather, they are completely unrealistic and should receive an adverse reaction.  If one is listening and understanding the implications of the words of the Gospel, these words are not liberating.  To begin with, they are crushing by the magnitude of what they expect from us.  They are unrealistic and impossible.  They should not be taken seriously— if the words are the only witness.

However, witnessing the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in the life of another suddenly opens the door of possibility.  The real-time power of the spirit of Christ in man is the only witness that can effectively lead a person from utter desperation in the face of the Gospel’s expectations to complete satisfaction and hope.  We are not meant to read the words of God as one reads literature.  Literature is from man and for man and thus will be received by man as man would naturally receive it.  The words of God are from God, for man. They will shake us, press us and ultimately change us.  Our expectations when standing in the presence of God must only be to expect something entirely different from ourselves.  However, what we should expect to find is beyond our reality and supernaturally good.

Tuesday Devotional: 2 Timothy 2

bibleRead 2 Timothy 2:1-13

God does not need man.  God desires man.  In order to accomplish his objectives in this world, God does not need us, but he wants our involvement so that we can witness him at work.  The involvement is not assistance, but participation.

We have a distorted perspective of our role in the works of God in this world.  We often bear witness to the works of God in our immediate surroundings and like to inflate our roles in the process.  We reason ourselves into believing that without our openness, or obedience, or righteousness, the outcome would not have been possible.  This is a lie.  The truth is that the healing or change to which we were made privy was prepared and put into effect long before God called us into the picture.  The truth is that God did not need us so much as he included us. The healing or change that we witnessed was as much for our benefit as witness-participants as for the person or situation being healed or changed.  God’s desire to include us ultimately had little to do with the person whose change we witnessed. It has everything to do with us seeing a powerful presentation of the Father and his majesty.  This was a moment we were meant to see, but not so that we could stake any claim in what we saw.  We were brought in to see what we saw so that we could tell the world about it.  Our involvement in the works of God in this world is for us, but is never by us.  God involves us in his work so that we can build our faith with the truth that God is for us and nothing can stand against us.  God desires for us to be involved in his work, and be about his business.  He does not desire to work in private or keep us at a distance.  He provides us every opportunity to see him work, though it would be easy for him to work alone and accomplish his goals in private. From the beginning he walked with us and invited us to work alongside him.  This is because he loves us. He knows that we can only be made complete when we know him to the point of knowing what he is capable of, and are completely overwhelmed by how efficiently and powerfully he works while still making time for his children.  He daily calls us into his work, not for us to help him finish, but merely for us to be with him while he works.