Mercy, Service, Transformation, Full Perspective
In a sense it is almost a shame that so many people only turn to the Bible in the bad times. Bad times are the times when we are most consumed with self. We tend to take the Bible at what we want it to mean instead of what God intends it to mean.
It is a common complaint of dissenters that the people filling the Church's pews are mostly in it for themselves. Unfortunitely, these dissenters are mostly right... atleast in this modern age.
Take this passage forinstance:
The very first tendency of modern readers is to read these verses as some form of self help. How is these statements going to help me? What can I do to help myself do these things?
- Two things should pop out at us instead:
- kjv@Romans:12:3 that "self" is as much of a hinderence as it is aid
- kjv@Romans:12:1 that we are being addressed as "brethren" a gathering much bigger than ourselves or our local Churches.
From these two selfless (or balanced self) focal points onward a alternate perspective should be identifiable that of the gathering that Christ has in mind. The perspective of self help takes second stage.
The very thing that dissenters dissent from "in it for self" then disolves when self is balanced with the greater needs of the "Body" of the gathered.
In terms of the brethren, we are not a gathering because somehow we were able to figure it all out, or because we were raised a better caliber of people, or because we got a hold of the right self help guru. No exactly opposite, we are brethren because we suffer the same shortfalls as you, because our common answer is Christ and Christ alone.
We are brethren simply because Christ paid the price of sin for us to be so!
I know that this doesn't immediately appear to be of any consequence to you at this moment of need, but, stay with this traine of thought for a moment more.
Next, you'll notice that the Apostle Paul beseeches us "by the mercies of God".
- What does Paul mean "by the mercies of God"?
- It is strictly by God's mercy that we called to be gathered as brethren out of this present destruction.
- Even as we are being gathered we are yet falling short individually and collectively and therefore God is having to continue being merciful.
- If not "by God's mercy" then "by what"?
How we wish that there were no consequence to our thoughts and action (in-action in some cases), this would be the self serving view of mercy. It serves no other purpose than our own.
God's mercy is shown in that while we don't deserve it He yet offers it as the sole means of our personal and collective deliverence. It means change and redirection however.
Not only are we ignorant of what God's mercy actually means but, also where it can be found and observed.
You are welcome to view my specific notes on God's mercy note:MercyOfGod . Hopefully you can sense the big picture verses small picture approach struggles.
Given the fuller understanding of and broader acceptence of God's mercy, Paul then beseeches us to present ourselves to God a "Living Sacrifice". There is that word again - "self".
You might be asking yourself (pun intended) "how is this going to help me get out this current situation"? I might say that my (wife, boss, neighbor, addiction, lust, temper, etc...etc...etc..) is my problem. These are all in their own unique ways outgrowths of "self". And the reasons that I have let them become the problems that I have is because I have followed the control of "self" rather than the control of "non-self".
Take notice then that Paul is prescribing the sacrifice of one's "self", living or continuing without self for His glory alone.
How well does this apply then to divorce or abuse or addiction etc...?
Check out my notes direct note:LivingSacrifice
This world is goal orriented, to have the trophy wife, to have the primo job, to have the leisurely and prosperous picture frame family. We are judged by what we have done for ourselves.
God is subtly replaced by lofty goals and intents, rarely achieved, rarely worth the sacrifices.
I think most of us realize that this pusuit is not all that it is cracked up to be so we are a bit less assertive about it. We replace God with much more down to earth goals and distractions.
Being "transformed by the renewing of your mind" is a common pursuit today as well on both secular and religious levels. If you were just to think this, or believe this, believe on it so hard that the veins in your forehead buldge, you can achieve (fill in the blank) on your own.
God helps them that help themselves afterall right? kjv@STRING:God+AND+help+themsel
This is simply conforming to the world view. "Prooving what the good and acceptable will of God" is quite another thing.
The immediate proof of all of this working in your life may not be that your bail bond is anonymously paid or that your Uncle comes asking forgiveness for his molestation of you. The evidence may be that God has led you to a similar abused soul to comfort and share His hope with; to deliver a group of you plural by His mercy.
Self cannot be our sole focus.
My notes are found at note:ConformTransform
Measure of faith
We could read this and say "well then I just need to increase or build up my measure of faith" alluding to either faith in one's own self or perhaps faith that God will swoop down and settle all of their issues if they increase their belief to a certain level.
Consider as well that many today believe faith is relative, it doesn't matter what you have faith in, all faith leads to the same good.
Paul speaks here of a faith that is measured out and given, this wide and this high. It has limits. It can not be anything that you want it to be, it can not be anything two or more people gathered together can have faith for. God is not at our beckoning and command, we are at His.
As you sift through the many references and resources that I have provided in my notes, it is my hope that you will click on this Comment Board:SelfHelpBible1 pages discussion baord link to particiapate in the sharing and feedback of others. You are welcome to join any of the discussion (see: home:UserContribution )
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