Sunday, July 08, 2007

Continuing to Go On and On...

While praying, I had opened up to Colossians 2:13-23. It helped me to understand what God truly wants for me. I was struggling with the condemnation of other people’s judgments. God continues to show me that I am perfect in His eyes, and so are the rest of you.

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the changes against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross of Christ.
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing, Christ himself. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don’t let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud. But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For we are joined together in his body by his strong sinews and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God.
You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch.” Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.”

Through arguing with many readers and writers about what is truly right or wrong in God’s eyes, I received answers through prayer and meditation as well as by reading the bible. People love to condemn and try to tear one another apart in God’s name, but if you really think about it, what good does it do to only anger someone who believes differently?

I’ve continued on defending myself and the way I live, however this time, I will just send my message that God gives to me and share it with those who need to hear it. I truly believe with all my heart that God loves each and every one of us.

All of us are flawed in a perfect way.

Does this sound like a contradiction? Probably. But when Jesus came to this world and died on the cross for us, He took our sinful nature and nailed it to the cross, as the scripture says above. I do believe that Jesus’ death was the price paid in full. I believe it was strong enough to conquer the sins that we all have within us. With that being said, I still believe that homosexuality is not a sin, however, all of us have a sinful nature that we just cannot shake off alone. We need help. And by that, I mean, we need help from God, to grow and mature in His word. We need to follow Him, find Him, accept Him and love Him. We need to have the spiritual maturity with the approach of a child; a child that wants to learn more from their father. Desiring more understanding and discernment is a wonderful thing. It isn’t philosophy or ‘worldly thinking’—it’s pure determination to want to seek a better relationship with God. What can be wrong with that? Who’s “truth” is better than yours? Who has the right to make that decision based on religious beliefs? God gave us choice, yet mere human beings won’t allow us to accept the choice. They want to continually fix us and make us into an image similar to them. Ironic, since we’re all in the image of Christ.

With many people coming onto my blog insisting that their truth is the way, maybe it was out of love- their truths act as human knowledge, leaving us, {me} to believe that they were condescending and judgmental. I accept the fact they believe that homosexuality is an abomination, however, for me, it’s different. I read it differently from the bible and the scriptures tell me a whole different story. It’s not “gay theology”, it’s my interpretation of how God speaks to me.

So, with that being said, I thank everyone who has given me their beliefs, opinions and judgments. I feel that they possibly did try to fix me…out of love. So, thank you, to all who have taken the time out to show me their truth. We may never agree upon a “truth”, yet I will always be thankful in my heart that your motives were in the right place.

God bless!


EDIT: Please visit Dave's blog and see how the relationship he has with God is so beautiful and so perfect. This is exactly how I feel. I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks Dave!

14 comments:

Christinewjc said...

Deb,

It's not "our truth" or as you put it "their truth", it's God's Truth that matters most! I hope that you will consider reading my latest post at Talkwisdom. I have quoted extensively from a book written by a great Christian University professor (and theologian, apologetics master) who is much more learned than either you or I.

I am glad to see (if, in fact, you were referring to me) that you see that the Christians who come here to share the truth of God's Word with you are doing so "out of love" and because "our motives were in the right place."

I did a comprehensive study on Colossians a while back. I will post some of the notes that are in my NIV study Bible (which were written by biblical scholars). When you read them, you will see many areas of agreement with your statements and conclusions in your post. However, you will also see areas that don't agree with some of your statements and conclusions. It is my hope that you will read them and notice how very important it is to use "exegesis" when studying Scripture while not attempting to place "our own meaning" (esogesis) upon the text. We all, (including me!!) need to be careful and wary of doing that, knowingly or unknowingly. We all must be held accountable to Christ one day. None of us share the gospel perfectly. I have often fallen short on this very thing. But God's Word is Perfect and when we use it as our "plumb line" we are much less prone to error.

Please know that everything I am sharing with you is not because I think you are a bad person, or, not a true Christian, or, that you are entirely wrong in every little detail. You have shared some awesome insights and accurate points about God's Word with your readers. The Lord is looking down from heaven and saying "well done, good and faithful servant."

But there are areas where we may not see that spiritual "block" that can deceive us (and then, others along with us). I know from which I am speaking. I was a victim of such spiritual deception in the past. It was different from the topic of discussion here, but it was something that I needed to perceive in order to be set free from the error(s).

In a previous thread, your comment kind of indicated that you wanted me to "leave you alone." I can't Deb. I can't because I love you too much. It's not a physical, worldly type of love that I speak of, it's the love that comes from (and through) the agape love of God that pushes me to recall that "God does not want anyone to perish." It's also a sisterly, type of love that leads me to continue conversing with you. However, there will come a time when the Holy Spirit's leading will tell me to "shake the dust from my sandals" whenever someone won't hear the Word of God or any necessary corrections (based on His Word, not my own!) being shared. When that happens, I know that my "seed planting time" or "correction motivation time" with that person is done and I should move on.

Anyway, here's the study notes that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. You can choose to keep this comment off your blog, or post it. It's totally up to you, dear.

Do take care and I pray that God will be with you and lead you unto all truth through the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ.

Christine

*******

Colossians 2:13-15 notes: Before we believed in Christ, our nature was evil. We disobeyed, rebelled, and ignored God (even at our best, we did not love him with all our heart, soul, and mind). The Christian, however, has a new nature. God has crucified the old rebellious nature (Romans 6:6) and replaced it with a new loving nature (3:9,10). The penalty of sin died with Christ on the cross. God has declared us not guilty, and we need no longer live under sin's power. God does not take us out of the world or make us robots - we will still feel like sinning, and sometimes we will sin. The difference is that before we were saved, we were slaves to our sinful nature; but now we are free to live for Christ (see Galatians 2:20).

Colossians 2:14 notes: The written code that was canceled was the legal demands of the Old Testament law. The law opposed us by its demands for payment for our sin. Though no one can be saved by merely keeping that code, the moral truths and principles in the Old Testament still teach and guide today.

We can enjoy our new life in Christ because we have joined him in his death and resurrection. Our evil desires, our bondage to sin, and our love of sin died with him. Now, joining him in his resurrection life, we may have unbroken fellowship with God and freedom from sin. Our debt for sin has been paid in full; our sins are swept away and forgotten by God; and we can be clean and new. For more on the difference between our new life in Christ and our old sinful nature, read Ephesians 4:23, 24 and Colossians 3:3-15.

Colossians 2:15 notes: Who are these powers and authorities? Several suggestions have been made, including
(1) demonic powers
(2) the gods of the powerful nations
(3) angels (highly regarded by the heretical teachers) or,
(4) the government of Rome.

These powers and authorities were probably not the demonic forces in 2:10. More likely they are the angels who were mediators of the law (Galatians 3:19). The Colossian false teachers were encouraging worship of angels. But at his death, Christ surpassed the position and authority of any angel. So rather than fear angels or worship them, we are to view them as deposed rulers. Paul meant no disrespect toward angels, but he showed that they are not to be compared with Jesus Christ. Some scholars believe these powers are the powers of Rome. By his resurrection, Christ stripped the power away from a world empire that seemed to temporarily defeat him.

Colossians 2:17 notes: Old Testament laws, holidays, and feasts pointed toward Christ. Paul calls them a "shadow" of the reality that was to come - Christ himself. When Christ came, he dispelled the shadow. If we have Christ, we have what we need to know and please God.

Colossians 2:18 notes: The false teachers were proud of their humility! This false humility brought attention and praise to themselves rather than to God. True humility means seeing ourselves as we really are from God's perspective, and acting accordingly. People today practice false humility when they talk negatively about themselves so that other will think they are spiritual. False humility is self-centered; true humility is God-centered.

The false teachers were claiming that God was far away and could be approached only through various levels of angels. They taught that people had to worship angels in order, eventually, to reach God. This is unscriptural; the Bible teaches that angels are God's servants, and it forbids worshipping them (Exodus 20:3,4; Revelation 22:8,9). As you grow in your Christian faith, let God's Word be your guide, not the opinions of other people.

The expression "unspiritual mind" means that these people had a self-made religion. The false teachers were trying to deny the significance of the body by saying that it was evil, but their desire for attention from others showed that, in reality, they were obsessed with the physical realm.

Colossians 2:19 notes: The fundamental problem with the false teachers was that they were not connected to Christ, the Head of the body of believers. If they had been joined to him, they could not have taught false doctrine or lived immorally. Anyone who teaches about God without being connected to him by faith should not be trusted.

Colossians 2:20 notes: The "basic principles" are the beliefs of pagans. See 2:8 for more on Paul's view of non-Christian philosophy.

Colossians 2:20; 3:1 notes: How do we die with Christ, and how are we raised with him? When a person becomes a Christian, he or she is given new life through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 2:20-23 notes: People should be able to see a difference between the way Christians and non-Christians live. Still, we should not expect instant maturity in new Christians. Christian growth is a lifelong process. Although we have a new nature, we don't automatically think all good thoughts and have all pure attitudes when we become new people in Christ. But if we keep listening to God, we will be changing all the time. As you look over the last year, what changes for the better have you seen in your thoughts and attitudes? Change may be slow, but your life will change significantly if you trust God to change you.

We cannot reach up to God by following rules of self-denial, by observing rituals, or by practicing religion. Paul isn't saying that all rules are bad, but no keeping of laws or rules will earn salvation. The Good News is that God reaches down to human beings, and he asks for our response. Man-made religions focus on human effort; Christianity focuses on Christ's work. Believers must put aside sinful desires, but doing so is the by-product of our new life in Christ, not the reason for our new life. Our salvation does not depend on our own discipline and rule-keeping, but on the power of Christ's death and resurrection.

Colossians 2:22,23 notes: WE can guard against man-made religions by asking these questions about any religious group:
(1) Does it stress man-made rules and taboos rather than God's grace?
(2) Does it foster a critical spirit toward others, or does it exercise discipline discreetly and lovingly?
(3) Does it stress formulas, secret knowledge, or special visions more than the Word of God?
(4) Does it elevate self-righteousness, honoring those who keep the rules, rather than elevating Christ?
(5) Does it neglect Christ's universal church, claiming to be an elite group?
(6) Does it teach humiliation of the body as a means to spiritual growth rather than focusing on the growth of the whole person?
(7) Does it disregard the family rather than holding it in high regard as the Bible does?

Colossians 2:23 notes: To the Colossians, the discipline demanded by the false teachers seemed good, and legalism still attracts many people today. Following a long list of religious rules requires strong self-discipline and can make a person appear moral, but religious rules cannot change a person's heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

Welcome to postmodernism! There are a multiplicity of truths - depending on where you are is what you see (or what was written). Exegesis is not a value-free area without either social or political context. There is much debate within the discipline of biblical studies/criticism that challenges the notion that biblical truth is "God's truth" as though there were only one value-free truth for all time. Christianity has historically been a diverse practice with scripture intepreted differently from community to community as it engages their concerns and problems. Deb, you stand in a long tradition of biblical interpretation that is open to the Spirit and leads to new ways of opening up the scriptures. You might want to check out Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza's Wisdom's Ways. It is an accessible study of the ways in which biblical interpretation has developed and speaks particularly to feminist/liberationist interpretations and honors the contributions of GLBT folks, as well as the work of all sorts of folks doing theology out of their experiece of oppression and their struggles for human dignity and freedom.
Lest anyone think that this is some shoddy approach to scripture, Schussler Fiorenza is the Krister Stendal Professor of Scripture at Harvard Divinity School and her work is academically beyond scholarly reproach and although ground-breaking over the years over which it has been written and developed, has generally wide acceptance in academic circles.

~Deb said...

Thank you, both, for your insightful comments. I've read carefully through each of them and I appreciate the time you two put into it. I will look into both of them sincerely, and with God's help.

DaBich said...

Who said you are broke and need fixed? I think you're fine just the way you are! =D

Enemy of the Republic said...

I wrote something on a similar note on my blog--not so much about us as humans, but about the nature of the "Word of God". My church is doing a series on Colasssians--the whole epistle. Yes, it is inspiring and brings out our identity if we call ourselves Christians. But again, it is a letter from Paul, written to exhort a community. Did the Holy Spirit speak through him? Perhaps, especially if it brought them peace and encouragement. Is it the word of God? No, it is Paul's words, possibly inspired by God, but placed in the Catholic version of the Bible while other epistles and gospels were left out. This is why I don't do well when people quote it to me like the cat of nine tales--in fact, it's a turn off and I simply stop reading. I guess I am damned along with ya, kiddo! But remember: there are good cookies on the Dark Side!

~Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Deb said...

Here’s my question. If I received a message from the Holy Spirit, then why is it that so many people or “Christians” tell me it was a message from the devil? Are God’s messages all tapped out? Does He not speak to people of this time? Paul got a message from the Holy Spirit, yet people of ‘this day’ cannot? This is where my strong beliefs conflict with those who believe in the fundamentalist way of thinking. I believe with all my heart, and through the messages I have received by the Holy Spirit, that we’re all “flawed perfectly”, which is the reason why Christ sacrificed Himself for us. In His word to me, He has explained that all humans on earth are inadequate, which is why we need Him even more. So, those who are not intentionally evil, wicked, and seek to hurt others, will be saved.

As you’ve probably seen before on my blog, those who refer homosexuality equate those who murder, molest children, as well as have sex with animals (bestiality). It’s not the same. My life with my partner, my relationship, my “UNION”, is not the same as molesting a poor helpless child. It’s not the same as having random sex with animals. It’s not the same as taking someone else’s life, which God has created in His own image.

We’re not bad people and we don’t cause any harm to others. We’re real human beings who love God, and love other people. We’re just trying to show people that we’re equal to those who stand up for God, those who love God, and those who love others around them. We give generously, love generously, and we genuinely love one another, as heterosexual couples do.

We’re not perverts. We’re intimate, yet that’s between her and me. We don’t flaunt our sexual intimacy out on the streets- and again, it’s behind closed doors and between her and me. We’re loving, caring, sincere, warm, and help one another through life struggles, as we all have them.

We’re not equal to those people of the Romans time, who have defiled themselves by sleeping around, having orgies and participating in sexual affairs with many, many people. That’s where most Christians have gotten their theory that all homosexuals are perverted. Perverted means in a twisted sexual manner. No matter what type of sex you have with your husband, wife, partner, spouse- or whatever- it’s between you and that one person. I cannot judge- I don’t have the authority. But do other people have that authority? Righteous judgment doesn’t sit well with me. I believe in suggesting a better way, or one who may think a path is better than another, but it doesn’t sit well with me when another Christian comes along and condemns us “righteously”. No one is righteous- other than God.

I’ve prayed upon this so many times. In fact, I was talking to my partner about this recently. I’ve been at this for years. I’ve been praying every single day and reading----studying the bible as much as I can in order to get whatever message it is that God’s trying to convey to me.

That message?

It’s that I’m “okay”. That my homosexual brothers and sisters who want to love their partners are “okay” as well. God loves them all. We don’t need to repent for loving somebody else. We need to repent of our “sins”. (Homosexuality not being one of them.)

So if God spoke to the people of the bible, why can’t He speak to the people of our time? I have claimed that He has spoken to me, however, people think I’m a “false prophet”. Why? Because someone else got a different message? What if they were false prophets and have been misled?

YET----they’re messages still give me the message I get from the Holy Spirit.

Pretty interesting. So, my heart, my mind, my spirit and beliefs are still the same.

Believe me, I have studied word-for-word every single comment and suggestion that other readers have given to me. I’m totally open to it, because I love to learn and hear what others have to say. I just get a different messages. I’m not twisting it to fit my lifestyle; I wish to know God’s word. I want His conviction, His correction, His guidance, so I can live a fulfilling life. Then, it hits me, and He gives me a message that I’m in the place that I need to be right now. There’s nothing wrong with me or those who are gay and lesbian. The only thing wrong is having unproductive arguments that don’t bear any fruit. He wants me to share, as opposed to defend or argue. So, this is me. This is who I am; this is how God created me. I’m happy----no, I’m overjoyed over the fact that God, Himself, has given me His word that He loves me just the way I am, and He loves all of you who have good hearts- “as is”.

I’m at peace with that.

Dave said...

Deb,
Thank you so much for your kind words and your thoughts. Your refernce to my site is appreciated. You are like the ray of sunshine that makes all grow and feel nourished. I am so glad that our paths have crossed here on the internet highway.

Jon said...

No one can argue if you are sharing your faith and not in an argumentive way. Who can argue with you if you heard God speak to you or not? It's impossible, unless they are completely closed to God speaking to his children.

Dr. Deb said...

"All of us are flawed in a perfect way."


How true!

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

If we take the bible as literal and unchangeable and the only source of revelation, then we limit God's power to work through the Spirit. There are many strains and traditions within christian practice that understand and affirm your pneumatic experience of revelation. And if we cannot continue to waltz with the Divine in our lives, what is the point of a relationship with Christ?
Deb, I have prayed for you for some time and I know in my heart through prayer and experience of the Holy Spirit that you are faithfully doing the work to which you have been called, that your relationship is one which honors God, your partner and yourself and is a source of growth and nourishment for you both and an inspiriation to others. You have nothing to apologize to anyone for. And nothing to defend. You, like everyone else, are made "in the image and likeness of God" and you are perfect, justified and right with Christ just as you are, your sexuality included.
Blessings to you as you continue to share your struggles, your vindication and your wisdom with us.

Dirk_Star said...

Uh, I don't recall ever being flawed...

I'm a perfect ass.

and humble too.

M said...

Deb, thank you for this post. I'm constantly seeing the way God is revealing himself to me through others, and you are one of them. Thank you.

Loud Mouth said...

I think Christine should be a guest blogger!