When The Bubble Bursts

Disillusionment is a good thing if it makes you susceptible to the truth.

Think about that for a minute.

dis-ILLUSION-ment

No longer under the illusion of whatever is distracting you from truth.

I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt us or cause us to be off-kilter for awhile when what we thought was true turns out to be a lie.

It does.

The difficult part is accepting that what we believe isn’t true…or truth.

Some people never accept truth or facts. It’s too hard for them to change…

…or admit they were in error…

…or that they believe a lie. Then pride gets in the way and they stay…deceived.

We all get to choose.

The Apostle Paul faced that same choice. He believed he was doing God’s work by imprisoning and killing the followers of Christ. After all, he knew God. He was a Jewish man. And not just any Jewish man, he was a Pharisee , educated in The Law and a strict adherent to the same Law.

That was until those same Christ followers prayed for him and God intervened in Saul’s (Paul) life:

“As he (Saul/Paul) was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.

“And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:3-6

Saul, later renamed Paul, was faced with a choice: continue to hold on to his pride, position and tradition or accept that what he believed might not be true.

Thankfully for us, and for himself, he made the right choice. He made the decision to embrace the truth of Jesus, who is Truth, lay aside his own worldview and become a disciple of Christ. And the rest is history.

As you read the scriptures for yourself, and you come across something that is directly the opposite of what you believe, be willing to let go and grow in the truth of God’s word. And don’t be afraid to ask Him questions or voice your doubts or concerns. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful and creative teacher. He knows what will help you understand and believe.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” ~ John 8:31-32

Are you just a hearer?

Do you go to church or listen to sermons?

Are you part of a study group at your church, or do you sign up for biblical reading plans online?

Are you disciplined in reading the bible or do you engage in a daily devotional?

Do you still find it difficult to hear from God? Are things in your world still unstable?

Then consider that you may be someone who hears God’s word but doesn’t put it into practice.

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

Going to church and reading your Bible are good things. To activate God’s promises though, you need to do thing’s God’s way. You won’t experience the priceless gift of God’s peace if you don’t first do as He instructs us, through Paul:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.” Philppians 4:6-7

We hear the humorous “Not today, Satan, not today”, which is partially based on scripture. But partially based isn’t the whole truth. You can’t tell the devil to be gone unless you are first lined up with God:

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Submitting to God is first and foremost acknowledging Him as Lord. But beyond that, it goes back to doing things God’s way.

Read the word, learn about God, invite the Holy Spirit to teach you and give you understanding. Then, when you know what you need to do…DO IT! James shares an awesome promise to those who follow this instruction:

“But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

The Meaning of Discipleship

Discipleship: An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy. To learn, to come under the teaching of, the instruction of one more learned than the pupil

Jesus described what defines one of His disciples:

As Jesus spoke these things, many believed in Him. So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:30-32

If you truly want to be in fellowship with God, going to church and prayer is a great way to start. Listening to praise and worship music is wonderful too. But you absolutely must spend time reading the bible. It is the only way we will learn what is truth:

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17 “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” Psalm 119:160

God does not want you in the dark about His character. He wants you to learn how He does things. He wants you to know who you are in Christ & to find out what spiritual gifts you have been given. And He wants you to hear His voice. But the only way you will learn to recognize His voice is by lining it up with what is already revealed in scripture.

So become a life-time learner with God. Sit at the feet of Jesus and ask Him questions. Get a version of the bible that is readable & understandable to you. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in the scriptures and help you understand and apply what you read to your life. The scriptures are applicable to the 21st century because they are timeless! Don’t be afraid to confess when you don’t understand something…God sent us His Holy Spirit to enlighten us.

A final suggestion as well: start in the New Testament and start reading the Gospel of John, Mark and Luke first. Get grounded in the love of God and find out about Jesus first. All of scripture is sent for our instruction, but some concepts and some of the accounts told in scripture can be hard to read without understanding who Jesus is, why God sent Him to earth and how much He loves you. There are so many resources available today to help you as you study. I hope you enjoy your journey in the word of God!

Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,for they are my constant guide. Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws. I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments. I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word. I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well. How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey. Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. Psalm 119:97-104

See what’s really happening

That person who is causing you trouble or grief is not your enemy. The enemy is the enemy.

Stand strong in love. But not in your own strength…in God’s. Ask the Lord to love that person (or persons) through you. Pray for the other person’s health, welfare and spiritual walk. Satan lives to stir up strife and division among people, especially brothers and sisters in Christ. The only way he succeeds is if we give into the anger.

Let love rule. It is the only way to overcome the enemy of your soul.

Blessings today & everyday.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.