Random Blog Clay Feet: July 27, 2008
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reason for Resistance

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:15-19)

After I wrote the previous post in which I used these verses as the end, I began to wonder all day what it is inside of all of us that resists believing the truth about God's unconditional, unthreatening love for us. What is it deep down inside of us, myself included, that rises up to resist any assertion that God does not use force, does not rely on threats of torturing punishment delivered directly from His hand to push us into obedience? What is it that causes us to doubt and disbelieve that God's love is as God has said it is? Why is it that we feel compelled to justify our darker views about God and immediately rush to supposed examples in the Old Testament to vindicate our entrenched beliefs that God is somehow bi-polar? Why are we so obsessed with insisting on an angry God and discounting the notion that His grace and mercy and forgiveness are all-pervasive and His love really does endure forever? Why do we feel so compelled to rationalize away the real truths about God that conflict with the beliefs promoted by religion?

This question hung over my mind like a heavy cloud for part of the day and I even shared it with my wife who also immediately brought up the issues of what to do with the Old Testament stories. I did not get an answer as to what lies at the root of this penchant but certainly got a typical demonstration of how we normally react to such assertions. I myself struggle sometimes with believing in the total goodness of God even though I have been revamping my whole belief system and revising nearly everything I think about God over the past few years. I have written hundreds of pages on this subject and have been thrilled with many fresh revelations of God's goodness and true glory as I unpack this. And yet, in spite of all that my mind is learning and accepting about the real truth about God, there are still deep pockets of resistance to this truth lurking in the recesses of my heart that react strongly whenever I am faced with situations that elicit strong emotions and questions about the real goodness of God just like everyone else struggles with.

Later in the day I sensed something that seemed to be an answer from God to this question of what lies inside resisting the real truth about God. But it was an answer that almost sounded too classic for me to accept. It sounded more like the clich├ęs that I have heard all my life instead of the ringing truth that I sense when I receive fresh insights from the Spirit. But at the same time I could not deny that this answer did have the ring of truth to it and that it is likely the real answer that many of us would prefer to deny, at least when it comes to admitting it for our own hearts.

The answer I heard was that the part of me that resists the revelations of real love and the real truth about God is the core demonic, lying, sinful nature and the false gods that thrive in that part of my mind that are irreconcilably opposed to the truth about God. Because of this it is impossible to ever change the opinions in that part of my psyche no matter how much proof or evidence or even experience I may have to the contrary. And that is precisely why I have to die to self if I am ever to live successfully in the Kingdom of Heaven, either here on earth or throughout eternity.

While it may be true that there are real misunderstandings and false intellectual beliefs that can be countered and flushed out and replaced with truth that will enable me to embrace the truth about God's love, there will always remain a core of sinful flesh inside of me that will resolutely resist the conviction of God's Spirit in me and this inner resistance is impossible to escape until I am given a new body and more complete emotional freedom at the Second Coming of Jesus. But that does not mean that I must succumb to the lying assertions of this sinful flesh. I am to actively pursue its demise and surrender its control to the authority of Jesus Christ in my life every day and resist its resistance to the work of God in my heart.

This is likely what James was thinking about when he wrote, Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:7-8) Resisting the devil is much more likely an activity carried out in the mind and heart than externally as many have supposed. It is in my own heart where the devil has the greatest influence to counteract God's convictions about the real truth about Himself and is the place where the devil is most urgent to stop that process.

In this case, submitting to God is to believe in the goodness and love of God instead of the lies the devil has implanted in my sinful core. The more I surrender to love and the real truth about love – which is the very same thing as drawing near to God who is love – the more I will find that His presence of love is close to me – which is the same as Him drawing near to me. The process of purifying my heart is urgently needed because I am double-minded about my opinions about God and this is due to the influences of the lying spirits, the false gods that contradict the truths about God in my soul. These lying spirits cannot be converted, they can only be resisted. But resistance can only be successful as I submit to the influence of the true Spirit of the Source of all love.

So the mysterious, changeable belief that lies hidden in the minds of people that causes them to compulsively resist the truths about God's love may not even exist in some aspect. That is because at the core of us all there lies an unchangeable, unfixable element of rebellion that we cannot escape but must be exposed by God for what it really is and submitted to the cross that each of us is invited to carry. Maybe that is why Jesus asked each of us to pick up our cross and follow Him – so that we would all have a cross very handy to crucify the lying, subversive nature, the selfish inner being inside of us that rises up repeatedly to defy the truth about God's unconditional love for us.