To its logical conclusion (Ceteris paribus part 3)

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:13-15, emphasis mine)

Once removed

I know God is all about unity. I know that He desires that we come together and coalesce as the Body of Christ. This is good. This is essential. The entirety of John, chapter 17 details Jesus’ desire, from His Father, to unite us as one family. “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us…” (verse 21) I know this. There’s a qualifier in here somewhere, I just know it. The qualifier is this: Until you take on the fact that it’s just you and God (one) because of what Jesus did–a world unto yourself, as it were–one cannot be part of something greater. Because even though we inhabit a body of spatial dimensions more-or-less similar to everyone else, we are all over the map, spiritually. It can be gloriously, mind-bendingly difficult to unite with people in this world. This is my experience.

The Cross is the simplest logo I know. From a semiotic standpoint, it is the most powerful symbol ever devised. Something so brilliant and yet so simple had to have come from the mind of God. And even then, citing all the power and influence of two lines–one twice as long as the other, bisected down the middle–it doesn’t do one any good unless they actively press in to the living God by Jesus Christ and realize that They love them. This is what makes one, one. God is about equality (the lines in an equal sign never meet). But first He’s about unity–with Him. Through Jesus’ sacrifice and Resurrection.

Carrying the one

“God setteth the solitary in families: He bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” (Psalm 86:6)

Have you ever been in a dry land? Have you ever felt parched even as you mingle with those of your demographic? That’s a broad and statistical sounding word. But that’s what so much of society feels like at times. Like numbers. What happens when you find, both God and yourself, wandering through that desert? Well, firstly, God was carrying you all along. That’s why you found Him. You were in His arms and you didn’t know it. But then what about everyone else? What about them? This is where ceteris paribus plays in to what you’re going through (and this is the last part of this series). Until you make that effort to both maintain the unity that God has given you through Jesus, and also treat every single person with whom you interact as God did you, all things won’t be equal. From part one, if you see your life as that statement, that experiment God started ceteris paribus. But is now facing the hurdles and variables you are, only then can you bring those things in line to where you can continue to be what God wanted when He spoke you out.

Advertisements

See no, hear no, speak… (Ceteris paribus part 2)

Binaural

“Sacrificing and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened…” (Psalm 40:6a)

“And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers into his ears, and He spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to Heaven, He sighed, and and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened…” (Mark 7:33-35a)

The first part of the opening line of the next verse says “And he charged them…” But it’s not talking about money. He tells them not to make it known what He just did. Because, until you’re strong enough to maintain what Jesus gives–and gives freely, I might add–best to keep your mouth shut. Your ears may be open but the only person to speak to about it is God. This is not an uncommon occurrence. As God should be the One with whom we converse and are conversant, everyone else should fall by the wayside until the former is met. With reference to ceteris paribus (all things equal) until the atmosphere abroad is ready, rejoice that you’re able to hear.

“And when He had said these things, He cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And His disciples asked Him, saying, What might these parables be?” (Luke 8:8-9)

Binocular

“And He said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.” (Luke 8:10)

People see it all. They really do. It’s the condition of our heart that tells whether or not we’re going to be seeing it correctly. The difference between seeing what’s there and missing something is looking. Try this on: Paul says to Titus (1:15), “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” If you couple this with his instruction to “overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21) The way we see things depends on how dialed in we are to God. To where we see Heaven here on earth.

Binary

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:14)

The Hebrew word for decision is “charuwts“. Strong’s says “properly incised or incisive“. The word (decision) appears twice in the Bible (it’s also translated as “gold” in Psalm 68:13). The Hebrew word for “distinguish”, however, is “biyn“. In Psalm 5:1, David asks God to “consider my meditation”. He’s asking God to sift through his internal processes to where they’re springing from a true source (a true vein as it were). We have no idea the mercy of God expended as a result of wrong thinking and the havoc it wreaks on the world. On, off. Trust and faith and belief. And love. Or not. If you believe in God and want to speak on His behalf, you might consider praying this prior to opening your mouth:

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

 

Staring into the sun with binoculars (Ceteris paribus part 1)

“Whatesoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10a)

Wow. That can be seriously misconstrued. You could also say, “Just do your best at whatever it is you want to do.” Okay. You could also say, “Just do whatever your genes are hardwired to do.” There’s that. Whatever combination of adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine tells you by virtue of your DNA (I’m being pedantic). There’s one end of the spectrum where Aleister Crowley sums up his eminently anti-Christian (The dark end. He was an occultist/satanist active during World War Two.) philosophy with “Do what thou wilt. That shall be the whole of the law.” Not God’s law, I assure you. In no way am I equating the Word of God with the word of the devil. That’s just stupid. The top verse is Solomon speaking. The rest of it reads “…for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” A quick point. Not sure if he’s being as literal as possible when he says that. Only because I still don’t have all my facts in a row regarding the state of the afterlife prior to Jesus’ life and death.

But the threat of death looms over life. If not now, when? Best to keep one’s head high and chin up. Because if Jesus doesn’t return before it’s our time to go, we will go. It’s the before after that we’re involved in. So, how else can I say it? “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” But do it for God: “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” (Ephesians 6:6-7) When Paul talks about “eyeservice”, he’s referring to acting correctly only when you’re being watched. By people. If we go through life, remaining true to ourselves, but not to God, we’ll end in being hypocrites. If we go through life, seeking to remain true to God, then ourselves, life will be good. Will it be easy? Maybe after a while, “after that ye have suffered a while…” (1 Peter 5:10) It’s all about simplifying the qualifiers to where it’s you and God (one), bereft of everything else (zero). God is about unity. But first He’s about holiness.

And that’s what Ceteris paribus means, in Latin. It means “all things equal”. And as we don’t know about or have access to “all things”, our focus must be on God. We would qualify a statement (with ceteris paribus) where we’re pretty sure we’re expressing the truth as brought out under one circumstance only. Like our life. You could center it in for your life if you wanted. If you’re willing to irreducibly complicate things, I should say. You would tack on ceteris paribus when you say “not sure about everyone else, but I’m going to do this…”. Whatever it may be. More power to you.

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22)

The whole of Solomon’s chapter in Ecclesiastes reads like a scale that is tipping this way and that. A panorama of opposing forces vying for your life. If you have a minute, check it out. It’s powerful and stark and…black and white. (“A living dog is better than a dead lion.” verse 4b) He seeks to bring order out of chaos, to frame the messiness of life with something intelligible. And also with hope. Because it goes without saying that, as everything is “under the sun” (verse 3), there could, could be something “over the sun” (?). But for now? “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart: for God now accepteth thy works.” (verse 7, emphasis mine)

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” (verse 11)

“Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath He set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of His chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.” (Psalm 19:4) See, Jesus ran the race before us and showed us how to do it.