Wednesday, January 03, 2007

# 182: Hearing is Believing

This post is a sequel to # 181: “Christian Perfection.” It might be best to scroll down to post # 181 and read that first, thus giving you a better understanding of this section.

Was it not Marx who said, “Tell a lie often enough and soon the masses will believe the lie”? How much more believable would it be to tell the truth over and over again? It will be even easier to believe. Most of us are gullible in certain areas of life; if we want to believe a certain “whatever” badly enough, we will accept it as truth whether it’s a lie or the truth.

Usually the young are more inclined to believe most of what they hear. That does not exclude adults. They are more apt to believe lies when it comes to spiritual matters, where hardly anything is cut and dried.

The very young are the best of believers. They will believe almost anything their parents tell them. Case in point: When parents continually tell their children positive things about themselves, they will believe and follow through by making what they were told about themselves a reality.

A real live case: In an average household, two run-of-the-mill parents had a daughter. From when she could start to understand, this little girl was continually told what a good girl she was. She became the best child any parent could ever expect. As the little girl grew older, she was always told what a good job she was doing, at whatever she was engaged in. She always wanted to please her parents, even if it wasn’t what she desired. Very often she was told that she would succeed at whatever she attempted. She became receptive in learning many academic skills. Repeating, she always was told what a great job she was doing. At a very young age, she felt extremely secure in whatever she tackled.

This little girl not only knew she was loved by her parents, she also knew she was needed; there is a big difference. She never was shooed away at bedtime or at family affairs, but was always included in all that was going on in that home. Frequently, she was told she was the best and smartest little girl in the world—an exaggeration. This went on as she grew older. When she entered school, she was always in the top of her class and finished school with honors. She went on to college and still excelled in all she touched, until finally, after ten years of college, she earned her degree. Everything the parents told this girl, she believed and acted accordingly.

Now, let’s go to the very opposite end of the spectrum; I don’t know of any specific case, but I’ve heard of families that continually said negative things to their children, like, “Oh, you are so stupid, disobedient, lazy, a pain in the butt,” and so on. Guess what? Children that are treated and talked to that way believe their parents and act accordingly. As is very evident in the above illustrations, most often, we as adults also act out what we are told concerning the type of people we are.

Now to the spiritual implications concerning this axiom, God uses the same principle in dealing with those who belong to Him (His children). When someone decides to live and believe as God requires: CONVERSION. Right off the bat, through Scripture, God tells this individual that he/she is perfect in His sight. If that individual truly believes what God said, he/she will think, “Wow. If God sees me as perfect, I better start changing my ways," and she/he does. Now here is the catch: If that person isn’t continually reminded of his/her new status with God, it might slip her/his mind as life goes on.

Now the question is, how do we keep on the tip of our mind how God sees us and what He expects from us? Easy question. Read the Bible daily and memorize key portions that will remind us of how God considers us as perfect. Memorizing portions of the New Testament works like magic: As we continually review those verses, we become a part of whatever we are reading; those verses become ours. We must continually be reminded of how God desires us to live up to the HIGHNESS STANDARD OF HOLINESS. Because he made us holy, now it is our part to live up to that holiness like that little girl who was continually reminded of what a perfect girl she was.

Here is what God said in the Old Testament concerning how we must be constantly reminded of what He requires. Deuteronomy 6:5-9. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your forehead. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” The part I like best is still good advice today: “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit down and when you walk along the road.”

Of course, at that time, there were no Bibles in book form as we know them, only Scriptural scrolls that were not available to the common people—just to the religious leaders. Now that we have the Holy Bible readily available almost everywhere, the Bible is all we need to keep reminding us of all that God has for us and what He expects from us. Only thing is, the Bible is of little value if it is not read and practiced daily. When one makes every effort to truly believe they possess a perfect standing with God, then one’s life will/must start to change dramatically. Whatever you do, don’t expect your church leaders to encourage you to live up to the perfection we were given. They will undoubtedly say, “That perfection is only positional in heaven and not a reality here on earth,” or something of that sort.

Let us not forget; we must continually be reminded of our perfect standing with God. First we must verbally acknowledge in our conversations with others and in our prayers how God sees us; and second, repeating, we must confirm that life-giving belief by reading and memorizing those portions of Scripture. Like that little girl, we eventually start living a holier and more perfect life, day by day. Guaranteed. Don’t live that way and it is guaranteed you will live as the world dictates. And I hope you know what the final result will be.

Belief in what God has said and done is the motivating factor for acquiring holiness (living a life of love for God, which is evident by obedience to Christ’s teachings). Hebrews 10:14. “. . . because by one sacrifice he has MADE PERFECT forever those who are BEING MADE HOLY.” [emphasis added]. God does not want us to merely be in a perfect honorary position with Him via the perfection He freely gave us; He also wants us—a must—to experience that perfection. Matthew 5:48. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Do you think Jesus Christ/God would give us commands that were impossible to keep? Absolutely not. Jesus was asked by an expert in the law, in Matthew 22:36-40: “. . . ‘which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” These commands are repeated over half a dozen times. As it says, they are the basis for all other commands, making love for God and neighbor the most crucial/imperative ingredient in the complete Holy Bible.

Christ implies by those commands, “If you believe what I teach, you have or I will give you the ability to live in accordance; remember, I made you holy so that you can and will continually make every effort in perfecting your love for Me and neighbors. That is what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. When God speaks, his disciples listen and act.” Where do we stand? Check out this verse in Luke 19:28. “Do this and you will live.”

In conclusion, remember that it is only natural to live up to what one believes about oneself. It is a law of nature that God uses to get us to love and live as He commands. Therefore, we must listen to God as He continually tells us (his disciples), via His Book, how holy we are, perfecting love and holiness through the process of belief. We have been told since who knows when, by organized religion, that those commands are impossible to keep. That is a lie fabricated by Satan himself. Remember, we only attempt to live up to what we believe about ourselves. We must believe what God tells us about ourselves, that WE CAN LOVE God and neighbor as He requires. If you believe what religion teaches, that is the mother of all excuses to live as one sees fit.

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