Monday, August 18, 2008
I suppose someone listening to this may not be familiar with the plucking of Daisy petals to determine someone’s love.
A young lady might pick a Daisy flower, and stare at it as she picks off its petals one by one. As she picks a petal, she says aloud, “He loves me.”
As she picks off the next petal, she says, “He loves me not.”
Petal by petal she speaks the words, “He loves me, he loves me not; he loves me, he loves me not,” until the last petal is plucked off. And whichever phrase coincides with the last petal, tells her whether the one she loves...loves her.
Silly superstition, I know. But even sillier is building our view of God around Daisy Theology.
Performance Is What It's All About?
Daisy Theology is that view of God that basically says, God loves me when I perform well, and when I don’t perform well...well, how could God love somebody like me, when I act like that, or think this or that?
And so many have built their Christian lives around the awful thought pattern, “He loves me, he loves me not; He loves me, He loves me not.”
They may not SAY that God doesn't love them, but they FEEL it. And they feel it because they THINK it. And they think it because it's TAUGHT to them every time performance-based Christianity is held up as an idol.
And it's a shame. And it's not just a shame. It's a blasphemous denial of the Cross of Christ, where He said, "it is finished". It's Galatianism at its most subtle. It's the attitude that God loves me when I'm "good", and frowns with disappointment and anger when I'm not "good".
It's screamed from the pulpit every time condemnation is heaped on the sheep, because they aren't performing to perfection. It's screamed by pop Christian books that consist of nothing but 10 or 40 or 100 "rules to live by".
Books like How to Be A Good ______ [husband, wife, friend, Christian, worshiper, charity worker, pray-er, etc. ad nauseum]. Written by men and women who know that they fall short, but think it is incumbent on them to tell everyone else how to be a "Good ______."
Not precious principles from a loving God who loves us because He chose to before the foundation of the world, but rules to measure by. Rules to condemn by.
Daisy Theology is hurtful to the Christian life.
Why Daisy Theology Is Hurtful To The Christian Life
Here are 7 reasons why:
1. It quenches the peace of God.
Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. When we are filled with the Spirit and walking by the Spirit, we have peace in our hearts. This is a cycle, because the more we have peace in our hearts, the more we desire to commune with the Lord. We want to draw near to Him, and express our love to Him, and draw on His wonderful love for us.
When wrong thoughts about God creep into our thinking, it pushes out the right thoughts. And this quenches the Holy Spirit, and causes us to be robbed of our peace. Instead of resting and basking in the love of God, we fret and worry and amazingly, we may not even know we’re doing it for a while.
We may even try to perform better, trying to earn God’s favor and love and peace. And so we get off of the ground of Grace, and onto the ground of Law. And the cycle goes the other way. Until we come back to the great truth that God loves us by Grace, unconditionally, accepting us in the Beloved, Jesus Christ.
So Daisy Theology quenches the peace of God.
2. It causes believers to experience condemnation, in direct violation of Romans 8:1.
Rom. 8:1 says that there is now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. But that doesn’t mean believers don’t sometimes FEEL condemnation. And if you FEEL condemned, then in a way you are. And so there is this odd thing going on where one is experiencing what is not even true.
And when a believer experiences condemnation, they will either have discouragement and despair for a time, or they will muster up their flesh and determine to perform well to earn God’s love. And under this lie-based scenario, the Spirit is quenched, and there’s another spiritual tailspin.
3. It steals the joy of salvation.
Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit, and is robbed from us for the same reason peace is robbed from us. The cry of David in Psalm 51:12 is the same cry that comes from the one who is in the dry desert of Daisy Theology: Lord, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation”. But cry as we might, that joy won’t be restored until we abandon “He loves me, He loves me not,” and acknowledge the precious truth that He loves me.
4. It's contagious, spreading it's lie like a virus, everytime someone "sneezes" it.
The world, the flesh and the devil are intent on deceiving believers in Jesus Christ about God’s love for us. Every day in a thousand ways, every Sunday even in the pulpits of preachers who love Jesus, the virus of Legalism is spread.
Every time the Christian life is portrayed as some measure of performance, making it man-centered while pretending to be Christ-centered, the virus is spread. Every time God is taught to be angry and frowning on His born-again children until they get their act together, the virus is spread.
Every time the Christian life is looked at as a list of rules to live by, or else...the virus of Daisy Theology is spread.
We need to immunize ourselves from this virus, by proclaiming from the Word of God, and meditating in our hearts on the truth that God has already forgiven all of our sins, past present and future.
And there is nothing we can do to make Him love us more, and nothing we can do to make Him love us less. He loves us, because He has chosen to do so, even while we were yet unsaved.
5. It is rampant in the minds of many believers, and therefore in the church.
This may sound a little redundant, but it’s important to realize that this is not an isolated problem in the Church. We need to be on guard against Legalism and Daisy Theology all the time.
I don’t mean that we become Grace police, and jump down someone’s throat every time we hear it. But we can help the cause of Jesus and His Grace among our brethren, by speaking the truth in love, and by guarding our own hearts against the lie that God loves and favors us based on our performance.
6. It is seldom directly taught from the pulpit, but it's virus is smeared all over congregations by implication.
What do I mean by that? Well, hardly anyone preaches, “God doesn’t love you when you sin. He hates you, and you are going to Hell if you don’t stop that sinning and be perfect.”
No, it’s much more subtle than that, and unfortunately, is preached by preachers who themselves are fuzzy on God’s unconditional acceptance of us in Christ. They have often been taught Law-based theology in Seminary or Bible College.
They have been “warned” by well-meaning teachers that if you really preach Grace in all its fullness that the sheep will run wild. They’ve been taught that focusing on our performance is the best way to honor God. And so on.
And so they pass on these concepts to their flocks, never understanding that we are not only saved by Grace apart from works initially, but that we are to live by Grace apart from works AFTER we are saved.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t DO good works after we’re saved. We will. It’s God who is at work in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure, Paul tells the Philippians.
And as New Creations in Christ, who love Jesus, we WANT to live holy lives. But what about when we don’t? Does God withhold His love from us? Of course not.
7. It seems to "make sense", but is utterly unbiblical, destructive, and anti-Christ.
I know it seems to make sense. Humanly speaking, why shouldn’t God be angry at us, and frown on us when we fail? After all, didn’t He give us the
Bible with all the rules for living? And didn’t He give us His Holy Spirit so we have the power to obey all those rules? I mean it only makes sense.
The problem with that is that it is simply not true. It’s not the way it is. Why? Because Jesus became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
Romans 5:10: "For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"
See, we have been reconciled to God, forever. We have been declared righteous by Him, through the blood of Christ. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13).
And so there is no barrier to His love for us.
And for that we can love Him.
Daisy Theology is one of the most subtle and destructive corruptions of the Word of God that has ever been cooked up by the Doctrines of Demons, Inc. lie factory.
Don't buy their product! Call the Better Bible Bureau and report them!
If you are Christ's, there is nothing that can separate you from His love. Don't forget that. There is nothing you can do that will make Him love you more or love you less. He loves you, period.
The curtain has been torn apart. The wall has been torn down. It is finished. He loves you, period.
Don't even look at a daisy, until you are completely recovered.
Monday, August 11, 2008
In Part 1 we talked about how resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We talked about how toxic unforgiveness is to our bodies, as well as our souls.
Then we looked at a few verses of Scripture which gave us some instruction and some wisdom on forgiveness, forgiving one another, and not holding resentment against others.
Then in Part 2 we made an attempt to actually define “forgiveness”, and we said it was sort of the other side of the coin to biblical unconditional love as found in 1 Corinthians 13, for example.
Here's the definition we gave for “forgiveness”:
“Forgiveness is not holding something against someone as regards your unconditional love for them.”
And since it's the other side of the coin to biblical unconditional love, here's how we defined “love”:
“Love is truly, by the Holy Spirit, desiring the best for the one loved.”
So we said that when you forgive someone, you no longer hold their sin against them by withholding your love for them, that is, you still desire the best for them, in your heart. You still love them, with the love described in 1 Cor. 13.
What Do Forgiveness and Unforgiveness Look Like, And What Hinders Forgiveness?
OK, now let’s talk about what forgiveness LOOKS like, and what unforgiveness looks like, and how to forgive, and what hinders forgiveness.
And we’re going to do that backwards, starting with what hinders forgiveness.
Well if forgiveness is the other side of love, that unconditional God kind of love, then the main thing that hinders forgiveness, the one thing that keeps us from forgiving is a lack of love. And since love is a fruit of the spirit, then the main hindrance to forgiveness is what we call walking by the flesh, instead of walking by the Spirit.
A Little Side Road About Anthropology
Now let's take a small side-road and give a reminder of biblical Anthropology. That's the study of Man, what he was like before being born again, and after being born again. When you were born again, you became a new creature or a new creation, it says in 2 Cor. 5:17.
You were given a new spirit, a new nature, and in your new nature you love Jesus and hate sin. And of course the Holy Spirit came to dwell in you, Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). And you became one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17).
Your old nature was killed, crucified with Christ, the Bible says. Gal. 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” And that's the new lifestyle that we want to live, isn't it? We want to live such that Christ is living out His life through us, and that requires walking by the Spirit.
Now, when we are in fellowship with Jesus, in surrender to Him, thinking “Not my will, but yours, Lord”, and being filled with the Word of God, the Bible, we are being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us not to be drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
And you may have heard that by the verb tense of the original Greek, we know that it actually means to “be being filled” with the Spirit. In other words, it’s not a one-time thing, but should be a lifestyle. And so when we are in fellowship with Jesus, and being in surrender to Him and His will, and being filled with the Word of God, we ARE being filled with the Holy Spirit.
How Exactly Do We Forgive?
When this is happening, we will be walking, or living, by the Spirit, and we will have the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, and so forth. But we’re keying in here on love. Because when we are loving, we will be forgiving. We will be casting aside the hindrance to forgiveness, which is lack of love, and we will love and forgive.
Remember, when we're walking by His Spirit, we are also walking by our own new spirit, too, in harmony with God.
So that pretty much also answers the question, How do we forgive, but let’s expand on that a little more.
How do we forgive? Do we just SAY “I forgive you”, or is it like a New Year’s Resolution, “From this day forth, I will forgive so-and-so”? Or is it a change of heart and mind that I just hang around and wait for the Holy Spirit to do for me?
How do we forgive?
First of all, if we are walking by the Spirit as a general lifestyle, we won’t even normally have to ask the question. Forgiving will be as natural as breathing. Forgiveness will flow out of us like carbon dioxide does when we exhale.
But what if we sense that we’re NOT forgiving? What if the very mention of a person riles up our bad intentions toward them? What if we not only don’t desire the best for them, but frankly we’d just as soon they’d exit the Planet, or at least exit our lives?
Then there is a process to get back to square one.
A Practical Process For Forgiveness
It’s not a complicated process, in fact it’s simple. It’s as simple as the simplicity which is in Christ, as the Bible says. It’s not an exact formula, but it might go something like this:
1.A recognition of the wrongness of unforgiveness, coupled with repentence, a change of mind, perhaps a prayer,
“Lord, I’m sorry for harboring that resentment. I know it’s sinful. I know it’s wrong. I want to love that person, and therefore forgive them. Fill me with your Spirit, because without you I can do nothing. But with you all things are possible.”
2.Coming back to the recognition of your new life in Christ. Again reckoning yourself dead to sin, and alive to God through Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11). It won’t hurt to say it out loud, but of course it’s not magic:
“I am dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ. I don’t have to hold resentment, and withhold love for that person. I am free in Christ to love and forgive, because the old me died and I am now a New Creation."
3.Exercising love toward that person. It may not be face to face. You may not even have that opportunity. If you do, great. Go ahead and show them love. Show them you are not holding a grudge or resentment. But if you don’t have the opportunity in person, pray for them. Every time you think of them, put off the resentment, and put on a prayer of love for them.
“Lord bless so-and-so. Draw them near to yourself, and work your wonderful will in their lives. And if possible, Lord, let them know that I love and forgive them.”
4.Rinse and repeat, just like shampooing your hair. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever let a root of bitterness grow. Practice is not unbiblical. Part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control, and sometimes we just need to PRACTICE these things, until they are habit.
It can be a habit to walk by the Flesh, and it can be a habit to walk by the Spirit. So practice walking by the Spirit. Practice loving, practice forgiving.
Then you may find that in some mysterious way, it’s not you doing it, but Jesus, living His live through you. You may be skywalking in another realm, a heavenly realm, an eternal realm, and wondering how it was you used to hold all that resentment and bitterness for anybody.
A miracle will have been worked in you by God Himself. You will be walking by faith, not by sight. You will be setting your mind on things above, not on things of the earth. You will be walking in forgiveness.
And what does that forgiveness look like? It looks like love.
It’s patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13)
And then you are free.