Attitude Part 2
We live in very interesting days, or maybe I need to say very scary days. And now I just let you sit there with this single statement.
Previously, I started to talk to you about attitude and how our attitude towards following instructions gives us blessings or penalties. Or with more churchy words, how following God's commandments will give us blessings or curses. And yes, we already heard the cries coming up, but now we all live under the grace that Jesus provided. Yes, we are under grace, but for this series, we place that specific question on the back burner for a little bit; we will get to that point on a later day.
If we want to have a discourse on a topic, we do need to know our backgrounds before we can have an edifying conversation on this topic. We sing it so often in the church, that song that is woven through the messages the last couple of weeks.
Trust and Obey, 'Trust and Obey, because there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, then to trust and obey.'
Oh, and it is nothing new, of course, this is an old song. There are more songs like this. 'I surrender all, All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.' Or with a more modern song that is so loved by many. 'Yes' from Shekinah Glory says; 'I'll obey Jesus, I won't stray, Jesus, this time I've made up in my mind, I'll say yes. My soul says yes, my mind says yes, my heart says yes, yes, I will Jesus, I'll do what you want me to do, I'll say what you want me to say, I'll go if you lead me, if you lead me I'll go, yes, I want to do your will, my soul says yes.' Then the word of the Lord says, 'There is more than I require of thee.' And the answer is still Yes. I truly enjoy all of these songs and I love to sing them. There has, however, been one great issue with all of them, and it is not the content of the lyrics. The issue is that for too many of us, these are just words, they are just songs; they are not confirmations of the way we are willing to change our attitude towards God.
Paul wrote a very interesting article in the letter to the Romans, we call this chapter 12. So let us read this together, Romans 12 from the Tree of Life Version:
Romans 12 (TLV)
Be Dead to Self
1 I urge you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service.
2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For through the grace given me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think—but to use sound judgment, as God has assigned to each person a measure of faith.
4 For just as we have many parts in one body—and all the parts do not have the same function—
5 so we, who are many, are one body in Messiah and everyone parts of one another.
6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace that was given to us—if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
7 if service, in our serving; or the one who teaches, in his teaching;
8 or the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who gives, in generosity; the one who leads, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy—detesting what is evil, holding fast to the good.
10 Be tenderly devoted to one another in brotherly love; outdo one another in giving honor.
11 Do not be lagging in zeal; be fervent in spirit. Keep serving the Lord,
12 rejoicing in hope, enduring in distress, persisting in prayer,
13 contributing to the needs of the kedoshim, extending hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you—bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.
16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be proud, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own eyes.
17 Repay no one evil for evil; give thought to what is good in the eyes of all people.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in shalom with all people.
19 Never take your own revenge, loved ones, but give room for God’s wrath—for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,' says Adonai.
20 Rather, 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing so you will heap coals of fire upon his head.'
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
A great word from Paul on the full surrender of our mind, spirit, and soul to God and to live a life for Him. Then when we read this and see how Paul thinks about serving God and how to act towards that which is coming our way, what is then modern men's attitude towards God.
a) Is your relationship with God on fire in the Holy Spirit? Do you daily read the words of God in your Bible or in books from Christian authors?Do you listen to His music and do your utmost to stay away from the negative influences of the world? Is your relationship deeply satisfying, and are you able to tell God everything that you have on your heart? Do you have constant communion with God through His Ruach Ha'Kodesh, His Holy Spirit, and a YES attitude?
b) Or maybe your attitude towards God is more like, 'Yeah, hmm, yes, I do my best, it is not bad. I read my Bible sometimes, and you know I like that song about the river of life too. I know God, you know, but we are just not that much in contact. Every day? No, I'm way too busy for that. I go to church on Sunday and sing and read and listen, but I'm so busy I need some me-time too.'
c) Then the c category of people: 'Oh yes, I'm saved, hallelujah, and I went to church. Yeah, but not anymore, it just... no, it doesn't do that much for me anymore. I go on Easter and Christmas, I listen to K-love now and then, but yeah, that's enough for me. Yeah, you might call it that, the fire is not burning for me anymore. Hey, come on, I know God, but with me living in America and God in Africa, that communication is just over a too much of a distance.'
d) Then lastly, we have the person like this, the one that has heard of God, has heard about Jesus on T.V. and in the coffee shop, and in the newspaper. God and with Jesus, grace yeah cool you know, and Buddha, Allah, Shiva, Confucius, Joseph something, yeah, they are all good people. All these people, you know, they all teach you to be good, and then you all will be with your God one day. We need to be respectful to each other, live and let live you know, let them marry, doesn't matter. You need to look at yourself, are you good, do you feel your inner peace, have you found the sanctuary in you? Come sit here with me and share some of this electric magnetic spiritual transcendental power together.
Thus for today, we really have four ways we can start to look at the message. We can look at it with the eyes of each and everyone of the four I just described.
Zealously on Fire through the Holy Spirit, guided by God, each and every day decisions have already been made.
Wanting to live a life for God and active in His Word, but burning Low, with some hard decisions to make now and then.
Too much to do, too much work and too many decisions to make, just cannot have all that can and cannot controlling now, it is too limiting. The fire is nothing more than smoldering coals with some hiss now and then.
The last attitude we talked about, I would say; 'Fire, what there is fire, where is the fire, oh my God, fire, call 911, fire, oh my, oh my, fireeee.'
What category do you belong to? It is not about being perfect in any of them; it is about the attitude that is associated with them. What category do you belong to? Only God is perfect, which makes Him the Holy one. God is Holy. We as believers have been made Holy by Him through the acceptance of His Son Yeshua Ha'Mashiach. When we come into heaven with Him, we will receive this holy and perfect body. In the meantime, on this earth, we do our best to come closer and closer to Him, to live life more and more according to His Holy Word, growing into this form of perfection that we call Holiness. This growing into His image, this growing into Holiness is what we call progressive sanctification. Thus, the question still stands, what category do you belong to?
It is sad to say that most Christians still live life in the second or third category. There are also a lot, and I mean a lot of so-called Christians that find themselves in the fourth category. Psalm 103 tells us more.
When David went to the kingdom of Achish to flee from King Saul, he was recognized by the servants of Achish. Because of this and his fear for the king, he changed his attitude and pretended that he was a crazy or insane person drooling. All this is according to 1 Samuel 21:10-15.
Ah, but you might say there we are talking about Abimelech and not Achish. That is because Abimelech is most likely not a given name when we look at the word and splice it up into two syllables we see Abi/avi and Melech. Because we talk about it so much, we know that Melech means king, as in the blessings Melech A'Olam king of the world. The Hebrew does not use any vowels, thus we spell Abimelech Aleph Bet Yot Mem Lamet Kof Sofit (which makes the ch sound as in bach). Then we have the letters Aleph Bet, which is the noun meaning father. The word ab is not like our word for father; it is also used as in our idea of founding fathers, thus not necessarily reserved for the male parent and used metaphorically for other people, but rather a word of unknown and unparalleled meaning, which expresses respect to persons of authority, including the male parent. The Yod letter that follows this makes the ab part possessive as in father of or my father. Then in this, we understand the Abimelech is the title for the king as the father, the ruler, the magistrate of this land.
Ok then wow, now Psalm 34 Tree of Life Version. But before we read this, I would like to provide you with the knowledge of a word that might be new for you in this text. Kedoshim: means the people that live holy lives, the holy ones, those set aside by God, which through Christ could mean you, as the Jews were the people set aside by God.
Psalm 34 (TLV)
Taste and See
1 Of David when he feigned insanity before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left.
2 I will bless ADONAI at all times. His praise is continually in my mouth.
3 My soul boasts in ADONAI. The humble ones hear of it and rejoice.
4 Magnify ADONAI with me and let us exalt His Name together.
5 I sought ADONAI, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
6 They who looked to Him were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.
7 This poor man cried, and ADONAI heard, and saved him out of all his troubles.
8 The angel of ADONAI encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.
9 Taste and see how good ADONAI is. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
10 Fear ADONAI, His kedoshim, for those who fear Him lack nothing.
11 Young lions may lack, and go hungry, but those who seek ADONAI want for no good thing.
12 Come, children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of ADONAI.
13 Who is the one who delights in life, and loves to see good days?
14 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking treachery.
15 Depart from evil and do good. Seek shalom and pursue it.
16 The eyes of ADONAI are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry.
17 The face of ADONAI is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
18 The righteous cry out, and ADONAI hears, and delivers them from all their troubles.
19 ADONAI is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those crushed in spirit.
20 Many are the distresses of the righteous, but ADONAI delivers him out of them all.
21 He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken.
22 Evil kills the wicked those who hate the righteous will be held guilty.
23 ADONAI redeems the soul of His servants no one who takes refuge in Him will be held guilty.
Why would it be then that for many a Christian, the attitude they have is only the b. version or maybe even c. or d.?
Well, they will say we have a relationship with God, and our attitude towards him is so that we know him, but it is hard in this world. The relationship with God is strained, to say it nicely; it is not rich and overflowing. When they describe their lives, you hear words as hard, difficult, attacked, defeated, discouraged, yes even this, we will hear depressed.
When under so much attack, running, fleeing, what did David say again?
“2 I will bless ADONAI at all times. His praise is continually in my mouth. 3 My soul boasts in ADONAI. The humble ones hear of it and rejoice. 4 Magnify ADONAI with me and let us exalt His Name together. 5 I sought ADONAI, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
For so many Christians, this is just not true; they are just not able to say, “In All You Do, Praise The Lord.”
In the Drash on the Mount, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in Heaven is great.”
But then again, for many Christians, they do not experience a lot of joy.
In the first letter of Peter in the first chapter, we then read:
1 Peter 1:4-6 (TLB)
4 And God has reserved for his children the priceless gift of eternal life; it is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And God, in his mighty power, will make sure that you get there safely to receive it because you are trusting him. It will be yours on that coming last day for all to see. 6 So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here.
But still, many Christians do not see the joy in the victory that lays ahead of them, and they are not able to Praise the Lord in all they do.
In All You Do, Praise the Lord.
The question then becomes why?
Well, for most, it is because of bad habits, habitual and many times sin that they are not aware of or are badly informed about that controls their lives. It is like a room that is to store the blessings through the Holy Spirit, but then this room is still occupied by those things that make the Ruach cringe and turn away from.
But guess what? They are not aware of this or that this is sin. It still grieves the Holy Spirit, and the place that could be occupied by blessings from God is now ignored and not used. They are ruled by the flesh, not by the Spirit. Many in this group of people are doctrinally illiterate, and many times they have been deceived by false teaching.
Thus, there is indeed not much spiritual fruit on which they can be recognized as followers of Yeshua; not much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Because it was Yeshua who said that by the fruit you carry, you will be recognized; the apple tree does not carry oranges. You just don’t see a lot of Holy Spirit fruit because of sin.
And then there are others. They are not really ruled by their flesh, and they love the Lord, and still, they do not enjoy that burning fire relationship with God. Then what is missing? Where is the Holy Spirit Fire? Where is the abundance, the joy, the happiness that we so long for?
The quick and dirty answer is that when in a tough spot, they might offer a quick prayer to the Lord, but they are still not living their lives for Him. And they might not even realize it. As a result, God is not blessed; God is not given All the Glory and All the Praise.
Start blessing God.
Your going to church is like going to the psychiatrist; you feel happy for 30 minutes or an hour, you empty your burlap sack with one rock of experience after another. Then when you go to the psychiatrist, you come in carrying that burden; you empty that bag, and you feel that a weight is off your shoulders. Wooohooo, that feels great. And then your time is up, and you need to put them all back in the sack again. We are doing the same in church; we are laying all our rocks on the altar of God's grace, and then before we go, we do not know how fast we need to run to pick them all back up again. We do not have an intimate relationship with God in which we trust Him so much that we just can leave those rocks at the altar of the cross.
God then turns them into something different, an experience instead of a hurt or burden. Like a rock is being copied and made out of paper-mache. It is still the same size and still the same shape and feel, only, only the weight is gone.
The question to get to a closer and better relationship, A Holy Spirit Fire relationship, is all our surrender to His will, “Yes,” “I surrender all,” “trust and obey.” Not a pick and choose, not I don't really like that, this is what I like, not that, this, I surrender All.