I HAVE FAILED! Well those don’t seem like very encouraging words do they? But it is true and I feel I have to tell you about it. Nothing like bringing out your dirty laundry in front of a multitude of people I always say. You see, the Lord went away and there were a couple of things He wanted me to do in my life until either my life is over or until He returned, which ever happened first. And I haven’t got them done yet. In fact, I seem to always be going the wrong direction and doing the wrong things. I fear that I am soon to be out of time one way or another. What was I supposed to do? Here, lets take a look!
John 13:  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Romans 13:  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Yes, all the law and the prophets hang on two commands; to love God with all our heart and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. You see in some twisted way I thought that loving someone was somehow connected to straightening out their doctrine, bringing about a unity in worship or by having agreement in eschatology. Nowhere does it say that I am to do these things! I just thought that was what I was supposed to do. Truth is, the only thing I can do in this area is promote my own understanding. Sure, I can have all the right scriptural support for these “beliefs” of mine but these are still only my own opinions and are subject to my own understanding and experience. Our insistence on convincing others of what we believe to be revelation from God only creates more division in the body. This has become extremely obvious in the discussion forums and chat rooms of the Christian WEB. Everyone claims he has heard from the Lord or heard a voice or had a vision or revelation. I sometimes think I am the only one left in the Church who isn’t hearing God speak in an audible voice.
We are supposed to be one body, and still we have separate Web sites that cater to people of particular views for example pretrib or postrib. Should they meet up in the same discussion area it is another bloody battle. I know I have been right in the thick of it with my big blood drenched sword just flying. Did I convince anyone of anything? Did they discover the love of God through my warfare? No. To the contrary all I did was hurt others and drive another wedge between believers. Sometimes I might have been absolutely right in my position. But that did not change anything for the better. A person is not going to accept even the truth until the Lord has prepared their heart to receive it. It is more likely that I will drive them farther from the truth by my arguing with them. Wouldn’t it be better just to love and offer encouragement? This is all we are really called to do anyway. You know if God was really concerned that all of us have the correct doctrine or understanding I think He would have stationed big glorious and powerful angels on every corner to police us. They would be standing there for all to see and would keep us on the right track. But that isn’t what God did. He put it all in the hands of frail and faulted mankind and gave us all the free will to do right or wrong; The freedom to choose between killing or healing, between lifting up or putting down. Too often I have done the wrong thing, in the name of Jesus /Yeshua. Root out those heretics and bring them to repentance!!
Yea sure, It’s just another inquisition! And all the while singing songs of praise to God.
I Peter 1:  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Love one another? That’s hard. Some people are just not all that lovable. But I do love YOU God, with all my heart! I John 4:  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
But Lord, these people hate me. How can I love them?
JN 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Yes you see, Yeshua went to the cross without complaint, appeal or defense. He never said a word because His love was greater than His suffering. I’ll say that again; His Love was Greater than His suffering! And yet I find it difficult to have love for a brother who does not see things my way. How can I even think about loving those who hate me in return? Yeshua forgave the very men who were nailing Him to the cross, right then and there not after a time of “healing separation” but right there while they were driving in the nails. I hold bitterness for a long time and stew over harsh treatment. A time is soon coming when I may be called to love as Jesus loved. Will I be able to do it? Will I be able to look in the face of my jailer or executioner and to truly forgive him and offer him love? Probably not. Because I still love myself and my own opinions more than my neighbor. I can be sure of this by simply counting the number of times I have to apologize and ask forgiveness. Love my enemies? Yikes, I have trouble loving my wife and family! I say I love them, As long as life is smooth and no one is troubling my day or placing demands on me. When the pressure is on my love usually appears a bit shallow or stretched real thin. I might fool others with this but I can never fool those who I am supposed to be in relationship with and I will certainly never fool the Lord!
Isn’t this more of the attitude we should have?
I CO 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
You see, the only thing that I can really share with people to help them is Yeshua. It is unlikely that I will ever find a group of believers on this Earth who really agree on all things. All of our opinions and understanding is a little bit different from one another. But there is ONE thing that we all can share and agree upon and that is the things that Yeshua has done for us personally in our lives. Because these are not opinions but real experiences with the living God. The only way I can really help another person spiritually is to allow Yeshua to pass through me to them, His life must pass between us. Anything less than that is only my own faulted flesh. God does work through us, yes, when we allow Yeshua to pass through us. We are like glass. And He is the light. If our glass is dirty we diminish the light shining through it and reduce its glory. If we are clean and pure we do not restrict the light and it comes through to those on the other side. Now we all have personalities and as such we add a certain amount of color to the light. This can’t be helped. In fact it is a blessing that helps us to see God’s infinite nature more clearly. Some of us are blue some magenta, some cyan. When you have all of them present at the same time guess what happens? You get pure and rich white light. It’s Like standing inside a church in front of a stained glass window. All the colors blend together into white light. If the window is dirty on the other hand there just won’t be much light coming through. The dirt that is on my flesh in the form of sin and bitterness restricts the flow of pure light. Repentance and submission to the Holy Spirit gets “our glass” clean.
One sin that many of us have been holding onto is the sin of self promotion, aka PRIDE. We’ve got this idea that we understand the great mysteries of God and need to teach others all this great truth we have a hold of. It’s all vanity. It’s like the tail wagging the dog. Or the bacteria on the slide under the microscope telling all the other bacteria about the one behind the big eye that watches them. It’s vanity! If someone asks your opinion then you are free to share your thoughts; otherwise we are better off keeping our mouths shut. If someone came bursting into the room and said, “Listen here my friends, I have got the truth in hand and I am going to set you all straight!”, you will likely work real hard at ignoring them. If they persist in making noise you are going to engage them in an exchange of words. Neither is going to be moved very far from their own position and both will likely leave the room upset and hurt. Now if another person comes running into that same room and says, “Listen up my friends, I want to share with you the wonderful thing that God has just done in my life, the miracle we have witnessed!”, I think you will stop whatever you are doing and will listen. Because you know that a great mystery IS about to take place. The new life of Christ which has touched this person is about to pass from them to you and change you from within your spirit and all you have to do is listen. We don’t have to understand exactly how this happens. We can just accept that it does and receive it with thanksgiving! This is why your personal Testimony is the most powerful thing you can share with another person. I can expound on the scriptures all day and at best I might give you a new way of looking at a passage. On the other hand, if I tell you how the Lord delivered me from the deepest darkest part of New Age occultism, you too might be delivered and you will at least see another bit of His Glory, like the shekeina light that was left on the face of Moses when he came down from the mountain.
There are all sort of things that we can talk and even fight about, Pre-trib verses Post-trib verses Mid-trib, and Pre-wrath. Or once saved always saved. Literal verses Spiritual. Historical verses future. Old covenant and New covenant. Messianic Jew verses Messianic Israel. There are hundreds of items we could use to tear at one another. But what is to be gained? All we do is further fraction the body into smaller and smaller pieces.
Col 3:  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Love one another as I have loved you, is what Jesus said. How do we do that? We need only take a stroll over to the sermon on the mount in Matthew Chapter 5 to see how exacting the law of Christ is. We are not to be angry with a brother, or we are guilty of sin like to murder. We are not to lust for anything that is our brothers or we have stolen from him or committed adultery against him. We have so much to learn about love. I do anyway. You know the nations will be judged according to how they treated others and will be separated like sheep and goats. All based on how they “treated one of the least of these my brothers.” Matt 25. So how ARE we treating one another? What do our words bring to others contention or healing, blessings or curses?
James 3:My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.  For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.  Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.  Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.  Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. What witness do we give with our words and with our actions? Are we truly living as Christ and loving as He loved? This is what we are called to do.
I have failed. I have brought anger and strife to the church by trying to promote my own ideas. How much better to simply love and encourage, to sing spiritual songs together, to share our experiences together.
John 13:  He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded….  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Are we greater than He? I have failed! But seeing my error, I will set out once again, with a fresh washing by the Spirit and the word and will try once again to walk the path before me. Would you like to come with me? It’s not going to be an easy path for sure, because it goes places that we have never been and I fear that I might loose myself. But we don’t have to walk it alone. No! He is there before us. If we can just keep our eyes on Him, we will make it. Yes indeed we can make it! At the end we can come to view our own reflection in His eyes and say, “It is no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me.”
"When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness." -Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Jewish adventures in the diaspora.
Scripture, ethics and spiritual formation