See to it (take heed, discern) that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
When my big brother, Normie, was little, he had very long, dark eyelashes that would stick together so he couldn’t see clearly. One day he got tired of it and got some scissors out and cut them short so he could see.
I thought about seeing Jesus clearly, and how we can distort our view of Him by building spiritual dams. Beaver dams are built up by a lot of sticks that allow only trickles of water to get through. Spiritual dams leave just enough of the truth trickling out that we know He’s there, but we see Him through our sticks, which I’ll explain in a moment. These sticks exhaust us and block the life of Jesus in us from flowing.
I’m going to share some of my dam sticks. This isn’t all inclusive, but some I have personally worked through with Holy Spirit to deconstruct my own dam building project.
Stick: The idea that Jesus is ‘out there’ or that we need more of Him.
For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10)
For He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b)
When you meet Jesus and believe in Him you then become complete in Him. All of Him is in you. Now He lives, breathes and moves through you. You are heart to heart and breath to breath…one. There is now no separation between Him and you. Perhaps we should pray: Make me more aware of You Lord.
Stick: Offenses/thinking you’re not forgiven/self-condemnation
“Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4)
By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:10-12)
He then says, “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 8:1-2)
Forgive those who hurt and offend you, agree with Him that you are forgiven, don’t condemn yourself or allow others to put condemnation on you and move on! Jesus doesn’t remember our sins, so neither should we. Be free as Jesus has set you free.
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in that statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Galatians 5:14)
Jesus came to fulfill the Law by Love, not by placing demands on us. Just love. Colossians 2:21-23 talks about laws, commandments and teachings we put on ourselves. We lay down the Law buddy. My way or the highway.
Have you ever had to get fasting blood work done? They tell you not to eat after midnight, which you never do, but all of a sudden you want to eat after midnight because you’re told not to.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (1 Corinthians 15:56)
His kindness leads to repentance not the LAW. (Romans 2:4)
And He answered and said to them, “And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3)
“Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” (Mark 7:8)
Jesus was talking to the Pharisees because they wanted to give money to God that was meant to care for and honor their parents. That’s not love. Jesus said to owe no one anything but love. (Romans 13:8) I heard the Lord say to give money to a struggling family. I was worried because that was my tithe money. I did end up giving the money to this sweet family and I’m so glad I did. Jesus knew how desperate they were, and it was a joy to participate with Him in blessing this family.
Matthew 15 and Mark 7 have more on tradition. It’s always better to go by what the Lord says.
Idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions… (Galatians 5:20)
Sadly, this is most of our churches. We get out the meat cleaver and start whacking away and dividing the Body of Christ asunder. There are over 40,000+ denominations! We want to divide everything. Your way, my way. Do this, don’t do that. Pray in tongues, don’t pray in tongues. Get married, marriage not allowed. Them and us. Saved, not saved. Where’s Christ’s love in that? Could our idol be wanting to be the most religious church? No wonder church attendance has dropped. We beat people up instead of loving them where they’re at. I’m here to tell you that hurts.
Brother Yun, in his book ‘The Heavenly Man’, stated that they were one Body and walking in unity and peace until westerners started sending books on how to pray, etc. He said there was much division after that.
Mahatma Gandhi said, ” I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Stick: Preconceived notions/wrong thinking
I laugh about it now, but when I would pray, I would give the Lord ideas on what He could do, or the result looking a certain way. You know…my way. Haha! I would pray and expect a certain result other than what He had in mind. I would read into scriptures what I wanted.
“Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
Jesus goes on to say if you ask, you’ll get it and your Father in heaven gives what is good. (Matthew 7:7-12)
While all that is true, I read in there that I could ask for anything: a new car, easy life, everything to go my way, etc. I’m shaking my head at myself right now. Good grief! I’m thankful the Lord knows my heart, and I know He does provide what we need even before we ask, but being flippant about His provision is a heart issue.
Stick: Scripture over knowing Christ
“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.” (Existence: Him living in us, through us, and with us.) (John5:39-40)
Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;”
Moses, Elijah and Isaiah all heard the Lord’s voice. (Exodus 19:9; 1 Kings 19:12; Isaiah 6:8)
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.” (Hebrews 3:7,15)
Peter heard the Lord’s voice. (2 Peter 1:16-21) Ananias heard the Lord in a vision. (Acts 9:10-14)
The Lord said we would hear and know His voice. I’m not saying that He doesn’t speak to us through the Scriptures, but that we must learn to hear and know His voice and get to know Him as a wife to her Husband. He’s wonderful and funny and so loving and understanding. He always speaks truth because He is Truth. Do we believe Him? Do I? If you’re not sure you’re hearing Him, ask Him to help you hear Him better.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)
And the witness is, this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:11-12,20)
“And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
We don’t have to do this alone! Such great news, and the Lord has provided for all we need!
“But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:13-15)
Holy Spirit, thank You for leading and guiding us into all truth. Help us to know You more, and to hear You better. Help us to see with Your eyes and to break down any dams and barriers that keep us from seeing You clearly. Help us, Lord, to not dissect Your precious Body so that we can be one in You and reach others with Your love. Thank You that You are always with us and thank You for wanting to be with us, guiding, teaching and loving us always. You are so amazing and worthy of all our love, honor and praise. Precious Jesus, You are most beautiful. Thank You for being one with us. Amen and so be it.