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Friday, January 25, 2008

Undiscovered

Judging by the mass quantity of books on spiritual living and spiritual growth being published, as though some invisible conveyor belt was constantly bringing new ones to the surface almost daily, one would hazard the thought that for the past two thousand years all who have come before us have missed the mark when it comes to spirituality. It would seem that for millennia the real secrets to a victorious life in Christ, to spiritual maturity and spiritual growth lay undiscovered, waiting, hoping, that one day a brave soul would unearth them. We’ve become enchanted with steps, three steps for this, six steps for that, twelve steps for the more difficult issues in our lives, and have come to believe that by dealing with a fragment, we are able to affect the whole.
I used to laugh at billboards and commercials that promised I would lose thirty pounds in three days with just one pill, or that I would have six pack abs if only I would connect some electrodes to my stomach and in essence electrocute myself repeatedly. The world is built around unrealistic expectations; we feed ourselves with fables and indulge in self-deception. So many want to believe the lie so vehemently, that all they need is an outlet, a reason, unrealistic as it might be. This pill will make me thin overnight? This brand of telephone will make me instantly popular? This toothpaste will make me sleep better at night? Bring it on. Small investments it would seem bring big rewards. At least that’s what they would like us to believe. Illusion is a growth industry in today’s age, and the biggest growth industry by far is spiritualized self-help, wherein one is promised all of life’s many problems will be solved with just minor changes in your life.
So did Paul and Peter, John and Luke, Matthew and Mark, and perhaps even Christ miss the mark when it came to discovering the keys to spiritual growth? Some Christian authors are so full of themselves, so blinded by the illusions of grandeur, and over confident concerning their own insights, that they really believe they’ve happened upon something new. Usually the key to unlocking the spiritual giant within you is something small, which will invariably change the course of your destiny. Whether forming a new habit, or adopting a mantra, understanding God in three easy steps, reading one of their recommended books, or repeating a prayer uttered by a someone in the Bible, men today are trying to sell us on the idea that just by doing one thing we can make our fragmented and compartmentalized lives whole again.
If that one thing which you are attempting to do in order to make your life whole again is not total surrender and obedience to God, if it is not the denial and crucifixion of the flesh and submission to the Father’s will, somewhere down the line the mantras and the new habits will invariably fail you. There are no simple solutions to complex problems; there are no shortcuts on the narrow path of faith.
We must reacquaint ourselves with the idea that something costs more, because it’s worth it, and some things don’t go on sale no matter how long you wait for the discount. A fulfilling life in Christ requires more than good habits, or a fragment of your life, it requires more than fellowship between certain hours of the morning, it requires our all, in perpetuity. The life of faith is all consuming, either we surrender ourselves in totality to it, or we are not in the least bit surrendered. The life of faith is more complex than some author lets on, or leads us to believe. It is not an interconnected patchwork of good habits, but a whole, un fragmented and must be approached as such.
As human beings we were created in such a way, that even our bodies tell us we cannot ensure the entire body’s physical health just by clipping our toenails. We are a whole, and as such can only function as whole. We cannot surrender one area of our lives to God, and expect our entire lives to undergo some spiritual domino effect. We cannot say Lord I surrender my finances to you, but I can take care of everything else. God does not deal in half measures; He does not make deals or give in to the flesh’s demands to have control. We either surrender and submit wholly, or we are as rebellious and disobedient children.
So is this newly discovered revelation? Are all these books that promise to unlock your spirituality worth the paper they are printed on? Hardly. Just because we borrow meditative techniques, which had their genesis back in the pagan times, beginning with the Greeks, building our foundation on existential thought in the context of time and space, it does not make it new, relevant, or Biblical.
It’s easy to rehash the philosophies of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, and put a spiritual twist on them. It’s easy to remove accountability from the individual and replace it with thoughts of an unconcerned deity who’s only desire is to give you money. It is much more difficult to come to terms with the fact that there is nothing new under the sun, that Paul, Peter, and the rest of the Apostles lived a spirituality far deeper than we can imagine, that placebos don’t work, that changing a habit doesn’t change your spiritual life, and that if we truly desire to be God’s children, we must surrender all to Him.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

17 comments:

Elm Street Chapel said...

But, Michael...

What you are saying takes discipline. What you are telling people to do is change their lives, everything in their lives, that they could live a life that is pleasing to God. That takes faith (without faith there is no pleasing God). That takes getting rid of our own thoughts, understandings, opinions and trusting only in the Lord and the leading of His Spirit. That is not popular. We may lose all of our friends. That won't make our flesh feel good. We will no longer be the pastor's go-to guy because we can no longer surrender to their re-hashed, self-help, sensual not having the Spirit doctrines.

Does it seem difficult to do these things? Do you live your life to please some man (a pastor)? God did not call us to come out and to be separate unto any person, religion, denomination, doctrine of man, you name it. He called us to come out and be separate unto Him.

Who will hear the call and change their very lives to make sure that everyday, every idle word, every thought would be pleasing and acceptable unto the One True God? Do not be mistaken, God doesn't only ask this of us, but it is required in order to stand as Job, Noah and Daniel stood. As God says to be like in these times. Noah built an ark for 100 years, preaching righteousness to all who came to him. Who heard? None. Job's wife told him to curse God and die. Did Job give in and curse God? No. He held on to the promise that with his eyes, he would see God. This is the promise that we have in Him. And even greater than Job because we are temples of the Holy Ghost. Those who overcome will be made pillars in the temple of God and will never have to go from His presence. Do we even understand what it would be like to never have to leave His presence? Anyone who has ever entered in to the presence of God can understand that there is no better place to be.

Amen, Michael. A life of full surrender to God is what He requires of His children.

Ryan

amy said...

Amen! This touches on things I have been thinking about too. Not long ago I tried to go to a bible study on the tabernacle, with the heart to just be available to the Lord and see if there was anyone He wanted to reach out to through me. I noticed a short statement buried in one of the week's lessons that I felt the Lord wanted me to point out as the whole crux of what He wanted to say to us that day, or really what the entire study was about. In the context of the Israelites giving all the materials to build the tabernacle and how it applies to us, the statement was:

“WHETHER you give to the Lord is your personal choice, but WHAT you give Him is not.”

All these books, like you describe, are worthless because they are not telling people what God requires of them. It doesn't matter how much we do or give or believe or feel towards the Lord if we are not by faith giving Him the sacrifice He asks. It’s not that He doesn’t want to minister to our needs and doesn’t want us to be satisfied or blessed, it’s just that His answer is always Himself, and if we don’t think He is priceless and worth everything we have and are, He won’t entrust Himself to us. If we don’t offer up ourselves completely the way He prescribes, one picture of that being the whole burnt offering, His fire is not going to fall and His Presence is not going to fill the tabernacle of our body.

As far as the bible study, when I pointed out that statement - which by the way were not my own words or even my own choice of Scripture, but right in their own choice of commentary - I could perceive the Holy Spirit strongly and it got quiet for a few seconds until someone said, "Hunh. That's true isn't it. Well, moving along..." and they went on to talk about all this superficial, wonderful, mental information about the tabernacle and speculating on how they got the jewels and gold from the Egyptians and what it represents today, etc. Before it was over, the Lord prompted me to say it again, too, but no one thought it was worth discussing.

I felt as you do, brother Mike. The Lord was not even recognized but pushed aside like a retard and shut out for more interesting information. And He wasn’t angry, like I wanted to be, but sick and grieved.

The Father also used your words today to speak to me about being made "whole" for His glory. How this painful season I am in is part of the process of Him making me whole, and that if He just spoke and instantly healed the brokenness and fragmented parts of myself which I feel hinder my ability to serve Him (although He is not limited by that) I would miss out on understanding the depths of Who He is to me and what lengths He has gone to for me and how great and beautiful and holy He is. And so would those who are watching my life. Thank you for another call to humble myself and surrender.

KevinP said...

I think spirituality needs a new definition. Even though I am not Holy Spirit filled yet, unless a person is operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, they are not spiritual. Praying to God without tongues, lifting your hands in the air to praise God, regular meditating, is physical not spiritual. But if the person can speak in tongues, prophesy, and other spiritual gifts, then they are spiritual.

Brother Andrew said...

Well said Brother Michael. Given our culture's immediate gratification mentality, it is no wonder that this mindset has spilled over into the church.

However, there is no shortcut to spiritual maturity and such a search will end only in futility. One only needs to look at a tree's fruit to tell what is at the root of such methods. If it isn't producing holiness in you, then it didn't originate with the Holy Spirit and if it didn't originate with the Holy Spirit, all is vanity. The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing (John 6:63).

Paul admonishes us to train ourselves to be godly. No training is easy and it requires complete submission to our trainer (the Holy Spirit) if we want to produce the desired results. It is God who works in us to will and to act according to His good pleasure. Unfortunately, our souls can override the Spirit's will, unless we choose to say with Christ, "Nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done."

If someone is looking for a shortcut to spiritual maturity, the closest thing I can find to one in scripture is found in James 3:2, which reads, "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body."

So, if you're looking for steps and want to become a perfect man, simply learn how to control your tongue because if you can control your tongue, then you are able to bring your entire body in submission to the Spirit. This is easier said than done because "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks", which means you ultimately need to bring your heart into submission to the Holy Spirit. Guess what? Your heart is the seat of your mind, will, and emotions, so that means that these areas will also have to be brought under control of the Holy Spirit, which brings us back to Michael's conclusion...the Christian life takes full surrender, no "if, and's, or but's about it."

Let's start training saints while there is yet time, because we are the generation upon whom the end of the ages has come.

Grace and peace in Jesus Name,
Brother Andrew

P.S. Save your money from buying books and start your training by crying out to God for an infilling of His Spirit and keep asking until He comes to empower you from on high. This isn't a one-time thing either. It has to be a daily surrender, daily trust, and daily abiding in the vine.

If your faith needs something to stand on when asking, the following scriptures will help...

(Luke 11:11-13)

"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

(Luke 18:6-8)
And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

i surrender said...

" The life of faith is all consuming, either we surrender ourselves in totality to it, or we are not in the least bit surrendered."

your teaching today reminds me of the two positions taught awhile back when swindoll released his thoughts on grace and mcarther had his thoughts on lordship, and the lively debates we had in our study groups.

when i started this journey many moons ago i too looked for the short road to spirituallity, and did find grace in my brashness, but little did i know that maturity was only to be found in the long haul, with propriety in the disciplines of life.

the lordship aspect can not be denied or ignored, for to grow up up is to submit to him who truly controls your life.

the unpleasantness of surrender has kept many out of usefulness for the masters content and the kingdom has suffered much loss in our days because of the rebellion of God's people.

my regret-i too spent too many years seeking after the short fix, when reality was in my grasp all the time!

---p.g.---

WrittenOfYah said...

Preach it, brother, and preach it LOUD! I know the perfect place to do it too: The Christian Booksellers Convention! :-)

Amen and Amen!

Anonymous said...

This really, really grabbed my attention. Wanting to unlock the spiritual walks holy men of old have had, and have such a powerful close relationship operating in my (our) lives is what I want, what many want. But a problem I see, is what does it take to get there. Who actually lives powerful lives like those you read in the word. And is our greatest obedience great at all? What does it take to unlock a personal realationship, with God through Jesus, that would be that of Moses, or Elijah, or Enoch, or Samuel, or Peter, Paul, John Etc? What makes any one think the can achieve this by living what they think is totally submitted obedience? I feel there is more, so much is missing. How can I take hold of it. I want it. How can we have God operating in our lives in such reality that God is closer than you ever dreamed possible, he is so close, so real and completely active and effecting your life? I want it badly. We must all take hold of this life. Take Care.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

B
I
N
G
O
!

IMO, this is your best blog yet.

Thanks for refreshing my soul with your words.

Some people think I'm crazy...and maybe I am...but at least here I can find those with the same mental disorder I have. :)

Wade in Michigan

deannaslater said...

Amy what do you need to keep your heat on? please let me know, and if you also need a new battery, I will help by sending what I can, I feel like this blog has brought me a whole new church family, I feel more like I'm in the church of Acts, so we must help, you can reach me at deannalynn45@yahoo.com to send me your info. Blessings

resounding cymbal said...

well michael,

this article sure hit the "hot" button, and after reading the comments perhaps you need to define what spirituallity is.

that is something that might be easier to define what it is not.

perhaps a refresher in the love chapter is in order-for the measure of a man is not so much what he does as to what he becomes.

---p.g.---

Anonymous said...

When should somebody make the decision to come out of a church that is becoming "emergent," purpose-driven, and seeker sensitive. I attend an A/G church and am concerned about the direction of things. When do you homechurch? When is the arbitrary line where you say somebody should leave a particular church?

Elm Street Chapel said...

True teaching Michael.
Long ago man has traded in the simplicity of salvation, life in the Spirit, and pleasing God for the approval of a man. If that man (or woman) is on the bestseller list all the better (and autographed book is worth more you know). Perversion of truth has become an art form, and people get rich for finely crafted art. "Christian authors", sell their soul as Balim did, the love of money is the root of all evil. Or could it be the pride of 15 minutes in the spotlight. Whatever happened to faith as a little child, let God be God and every man a liar, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, you have need of no other teacher except the Holy Spirit and He will lead you into all truth? Why that's old-fashioned, this is the year 2008, where you been? They would have you to believe that faith is so complex that you have to be a rocket scientist to comprehend it, they make it more complex and tax laws. They know that there is a market for the ever seeking never coming to the knowledge group, and could there be a better captive audience? When Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but by me, He apparently forgot to add, until self-help books come along. People who buy into these books, this lifestyle, either never knew Jesus personally or have left their first love, not good. These times haven't taken God by surprise, they were prophesied of long ago. It's just that it's so shocking, when people hold up an angel of light, compared it to the real truth, and can't tell the difference. It seems so obvious to those who know, and so obvious to those who do not, that is to say, believe the lie. They cannot tell right from wrong, good from (well-intentioned?) evil. They preach another Jesus, and those who buy into it, love to have it so.
L,J,P&HG
Dave

Servant said...

Brother Michael,

How right you are. It really is love and obey God. People complicate this so they can include their flesh and lusts. But in truth it is so simple that even a child can grasp it and do it.

We aren't of this world, so why try and be like it and why and be disturbed and alarmed or even angry when it hates us and persecutes us? This should be a joyous and sure sign we are on the right path. We should be more worried if those who despise God, those who are indulging themselves in lies and twisting the holy scriptures to pluck out their own meanings without shame....we should be worried...if they love us and think we are just like them.

Upon His return, who do you see yourself holding company with and what will you be doing when He splits that eastern sky with ten thousands of angels?

Fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom.......Our Master is returning......this ought to be enough to keep us on our knees and on the straight and narrow and thanking Him for every trial, every tribulation, and every temptation we face for these are opportunities to draw out from the world and honor our Holy Lord.

God Bless,

Anonymous said...

I feel like I should share the following... I heard a story (I don't know who the person was), and he was driving in his car when the Lord spoke to him and said "How long will it take you to get where you're going"? he answered, "probably a couple hours".. and the Lord asked, "Why is that"? he answered, "Well, my car only goes so fast because of the speed limit." Then the Lord said, "Look up" he looked up and saw an airplane. The Lord asked, "How long do you think it will take that airplane to reach the same destination?" The man said, "Maybe about 10 minutes or so, he's probably there already!" Then the Lord asked, "Do you know what the difference is between your car and that airplane." he said, "What is it Lord?" And the Lord said, "The price of the ticket!"

When I heard this story I cried out to God. "Oh Lord, I don't want the airplane, I want the Space Shuttle!!" Then about 5 months later while on a missions trip, the Lord asked me, "Mary, how would you like to ride the Enterprise?" ... I stopped for a minute and let it sink in... of course I was going to say yes, but it was still a very exciting yet sobering moment! And I found out later the price of the ticket... It was a 'forfeit' life!

Elm Street Chapel said...

To Anonymous above who asked, "When should somebody make the decision to come out of a church that is becoming "emergent," purpose-driven, and seeker sensitive. I attend an A/G church and am concerned about the direction of things. When do you homechurch? When is the arbitrary line where you say somebody should leave a particular church?"--

The answer is, when God tells you to come out and be separate. And when God does tell you (ask for ears to hear, He desires for you to hear Him even this day), be obedient to all that He tells you. The time is so short and God has so much to teach His people. There is so little time to buy of God oil and to change our lives that they would line up with the word of God, that we need to hear His voice and change our lives accordingly. Go to the Source. Don't accept anything less. God wants us to draw close to Him while He is near.

I do believe, even now, that if you ask God and believe in faith, He will give you the very answer you are looking for. Ask and just wait on Him for the answer that He may speak it clearly in your ear. This is what God desires of all of us.

God give you wisdom and understanding concerning this in Jesus' name.

God bless,
Ryan

Anonymous said...

Someone asked:"When is the arbitrary line where you say somebody should leave a particular church?"
My Friend,
There is no arbitrary line! Seek The Lord in this and He will let you know when it is time to separate. This is usually when you are ready to be obedient to His Will as He reveals it to you!
If He says stay, then stay but if He says run, run don't walk to the nearest exit and do not look back.
May you be blessed by His presence!

ZionsCRY said...

I am deeply disappointed, tho not surprised, that Bush insisted on an evil Godless terrorist (Palestinian) state inside ISRAEL in his SOTU speech.

Woe to the USA!

My friend in Calipornia told me she has a sense of foreboding, as if a BIG earthquake is coming. She has known its coming for years, but this is new. She does have the peace of the LORD on it.

Have you seen this? I guess Andrew Strom, evangelist, did this video.

Southern California Tent City.
Once upscale Calif residents are now homeless and stand in food lines.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmeHiFZUWtE