Bridging the Gap (Do as I Say and as I Do part 2)

“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” (Psalm 50:15-16)

Broken bridges

There is that. What happens when God’s words, the very things (okay Thing: His Word) He uses to reveal Himself to the heart and mind of anyone willing, gets treated as described in the next verse? “Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.” It would seem, following this line, that the problem is in the heart and mind of those using God’s word for personal gain. Whether it be to appropriate more and other than what God would lavishly provide or else to try and use God’s word against Him. Both of which’s bridges, I should add, are out.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)

See!? See right there. It’s dangerous to play around with something so powerful as the Word of God. To treat it lightly and unmeditatively is supreme folly. The Word of God is that which we’ve been given to build our mind around. It really is that simple. And it’s not about a hard-and-fast iron-willed and unassailable unwillingness to budge from believing the world was made in six days. Because I feel that anyone looking in from without sees that as the beginning. And before I go any further, consider the fact that you have been re-created in Christ Jesus. Couldn’t have been re-created unless you were “created” in the first place. Anyways… When Jesus asks us to believe on Him, and we run into things that conflict, not with the world at large (that’s a given), but with our internal construct, i.e. the state of our heart with reference to Him, that’s where the real struggle begins. It’s also where the real daily battle centers.

“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:8-9, 13, emphasis mine)

Building trusses, building trust

“Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” (Proverbs 1:23)

God’s words–the words spoken through the scribes who penned the letters–are how He has chosen to reveal Himself along with His Son. And because the Holy Spirit is an intangible-by-mere-human-means Individual, respect must be paid to both former auspices before receiving Him. This is the point. We as Christians don’t understand the atmosphere in which we walk around, by and large. No, syntax notwithstanding, it’s we don’t by-and-large understand. When we accept the Lord, the circuit (circumcision?) has been completed. All that God has wanted to do has been done in the heart of everyone who believes. The world. The words. Now this. Something altogether new and exciting and…inaccessible to the person who refuses to take God at His Word and subsequently walk in it. And the same rules apply to believer and non: Do as God says in His word and as He does by His Son. Any middle ground is neither here nor there. Paul speaking to the Galatians and their innate proclivity to turn from a fluid walking-by-faith to a more rule-based and legalistic way of doing things. A way that will end in shutting out the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit. He says:

“I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” (Galatians 4:13-15)

It takes time and pain to work up from the mere words to the living out of that which the words point to. Know though, that God is carrying you every step of the way.

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8)

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Do as I Say and as I Do

“He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel.” (Psalm 103:7)

The road rising up to meet you

The word for “ways” here is derek. Hebrew for “road”. It says above that God allowed Moses to see the ways in which the mere acts were enacted and exacted. In other words, Moses got to see things the children of Israel weren’t privy to. What would you do in that case? To where you see things God is showing you between you and He. Were someone a gadfly or otherwise inclined to spill sensitive information, God may well have to be silent on the matter. Thing is though, I believe God wants anyone who so desires to “come ahead on”. To “come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16), as it were. Psalm 25 (verse 14) says “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.” This means the invitation to go as deep and as high you want has been made possible. God is utterly undiscriminatory.

The Jewish people have been referred to as “people of the book”. This means that something akin to a worldwide, albeit Diasporic, national identity is fundamentally rooted and grounded in the Torah (the five books of Moses). The phenomenon and power of language (and the information contained therein) unites the Jewish people with a bond stronger even than blood. I can only opine so far as I really haven’t studied out my genealogy beyond knowing that my parents are divorced and never the twain shall meet. But God’s “secret”. His “ways”. These things were made available, I believe, by the broken body of Jesus Christ as He died on the cross of Calvary. A Jewish man, as good as any other* (I’m being partially facetious), representing a race and even going one further in extending the beauty offered by what God has to bring to the exchange.

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.” (Genesis 17:1-2)

Where the rubber meets the road

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:47)

*”Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17)

So God tells us to do a bunch of stuff that is utterly exacting in the extreme. Things that, while they have practical benefit, tend towards a loveless rulekeeping should one be disinclined to meet with God face to face at any and/or every moment of the day. There are rituals I have that at times and in certain days I feel led to relax. It is breathlessly exciting to live by the seat of my pants and let the Holy Spirit lead me through the activities of my day even as he weaves throughout my errands (and the mundane, too), interactions I had no idea nor intention of having. This, I think, is the true meaning of the Christlike life. To be so imbued with the Holy Spirit that we, as John says, “walk, even as He walked.” (1 John 2:6) This is the goal. But it’s not the end. How do we know God except through words? It gets fuzzy and blurry at that level, I think. I believe we knew God as children and as language acquisition and comprehension starts, God begins to hold us to a higher standard even as He upholds us by His grace. It’s because of what Jesus did for us that we’re even able to partake I should add. John continues:

“Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” (1 John 2:6-7)

The two go hand in hand. God’s words and His person. His presence by the Holy Spirit.

“What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:62-63)