Thursday, August 1, 2013

Being A Christian Is Terrifying!

Christian, are you terrified? You should be! Have you ever read James 4:5? 
I mean really read it?

"Or do you think the Scriptures say in vain, 'The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously'?" (James 4:5, NKJV)

The word "yearn" is translated from a verb that means to "greatly desire, long, earnestly desire, long after, greatly long after, lust or desire."

As a Christian you are subject to two (2) forces that which greatly desire, longs earnestly, desires, and even "lusts" to govern or rule you. The Christian has the Holy Spirit of God who lives within the Christian which "yearns" or "lusts" to the point of outright jealousy. 

What does that mean? What does the Holy Spirit lust after in such a jealous manner? You! The Holy Spirit desires, longs, yearns, or lusts to make you to be conformed to the image of His dear Son. The Holy Spirit is given to you at the very moment of your regeneration in order to enslave you to righteousness. You are under the power of the Holy Spirit to become "perfect"or complete in Christ-likeness.

God puts a "principle" of divine life in you at the moment of your regeneration. This principle is righteousness. This principle works on us. God works on us. The Holy Spirit works on it. This principle of righteousness enslaves us and continues to do so until the day we enter the presence of God.

So, why is that terrifying? Why do I say that being a Christian can be a terrifying thing?

God has many ways of making us faultless and blameless and conforming us to the image of Christ. Many ways, most which are uncomfortable. The minute we become Christians we must be very careful of what we think, say, or do. If you do not work at killing sin in your body, obey the principle of righteousness, and/or resist the working of the Holy Spirit God can and often will:

  • Inflict chastisement upon us
  • Develop difficulties in our life
  • Develop confusion in our lives
  • Produce pain, suffering, or sorrow
These things are all a part of God's gracious plan for our lives. These things mean that God is at work perfecting and maturing us. 

"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification." (1 Thessalonians 4:2)

"He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)

God is gracious and merciful. However God's Holy Spirit lusts jealously for us to be conformed to the image of Christ. A part of God's gracious mercy is to bring the level of necessary pain or discomfort in to our lives in order to work out His process.

This is why I say at times it is terrifying to be a Christian. At least for me. Yes, I have great comfort and God is so good and gracious to me. But maybe I am so far from where I need to be that the pain and suffering is a welcome thing.


Kansas Bob said...

Do you feel that this image of our heavenly Father is one that earthly fathers are compelled to emulate?

jean said...

My Lord is always reminding me through His Holy Spirit by using the uncomfortable in this life, that indeed, He is working out His process of conforming me to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Yet, I also know, that by His word, He loves me through it all with His everlasting love. If by His grace I grow in Christ by being uncomfortable here on earth, then may I continue to be blessed by His working.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Bob - First, I believe that is a good question. Second, I am not sure exactly what you might be driving at or looking for. But suffice it to say, among the love, grace, and mercy that a earthly father is to show his children, I do think there is a place and part to emulate this part of God's character as well for the well being of the child. Discipline is absolutely necessary to fully develop a child. Sometimes that discipline may be verbal, may be some sort of deprivation, loss of priviliges, and in rare extreme cases may be corporal. So, yes!

Jean - God doesn't always use the "uncomfortable" or "painful" but in His wisdom and perfect application, He uses it for His glory and our good. I am with you. Many times I have experienced the pain and suffering designed by God to rid me of sin and conform me to his image.

This isn't the total side of God. He is patient, loving, merciful, and gracious. But He USES ALL OF HIS CHARACTER to accomplish His will in our lives.

Great comments guys!

Kansas Bob said...

My question was directed at these assertions Gregg:

+ Develop confusion in our lives
+ Produce pain, suffering, or sorrow

Hard to imagine a parent purposefully doing those things.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Bob - not everything God does will be emulated by an earthly parent. But if an earthly parent doesn't create pain or suffering at times when necessary through discipline then that parent is not doing his or her job and is actually disobedient to God.

More than likely an earthly parent may not cause "confusion" But they will create pain, suffering, and their discipline is to be designed to elicit godly sorrow for the child's disobedience.

Kansas Bob said...

We may be thinking in similar streams Gregg. My view is that disobeying a parent (earthly or heavenly) produces confusion and comes with consequences which may involve pain, suffering or sorrow. The parent is not responsible for these things. The child bears full responsibility for their actions and the consequences of them.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Got it!

Mike said...

Yet, potential discipline encourages me...because it means He STILL loves me. After all I've done, thank God He still tolerates me, He still cares enough to chisel away at me. Were that day to ever disappear, then I would begin to tremble.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Mike - yes, discipline and chastisement does give us hope, comfort, and encourage that we are God's, God loves us, and is at work in our lives regardless of how painful.