Are You Actually Kidding Yourself Straight to Hell?

1 John 1:6 ESV
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Fellowship was a word not used by the secular writers of the day. It meant to have intimacy with God. This was a foreign concept to both the Jews and those of other religions. But Christians understood the gospel meant that they now have access to the Father through the Son. The literal and figurative veil was torn at the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The resurrection and the following receiving of the Holy Spirit guaranteed and sealed their fellowship. The Holy Spirit is our internal guide. He is our Truth. Our True North. We might “say” we are intimate with Jesus. We might even go so far as to “say” we love Him and think He loves us back. The give-away that this warped sense of reality is, in fact, not true is when someone who claims Christ as the one they follow also practices unrighteousness.

The word here in Greek is περιπατέω which is transliterated as peripateō which means to walk, however the Hebrews used this word to mean the conduct of one’s life. I realize that we often speak of ourselves or others as having lost their way. But John is clear when he says if someone says they are a Christian but the conduct of their life is counter to God’s word, then they are not a Christian. At. All. I will say it again, as I have said in multiple other posts: Satan has had thousands of years to perfect the art of deception, and you better believe he is excellent at his craft. Don’t believe the lie he is telling you. Start looking at your life through Truth. Through what the Bible has to say. Please do not lie to yourself thinking you are better than the next person. What are you holding on to? While you may be a “good person” what does that actually mean? I want to give you some solid examples rather than leave this up to interpretation. Here is a very short list of typical claimed-as-non-sin “sins” people commit in entitled America who call themselves Christians but are actually not.

TYPICAL LIE #1
You are sleeping with your girlfriend or boyfriend. (I am going to expand on this first one just a bit so you can see what I mean). You have somehow justified this law as either antiquated or you are engaged or in the eyes of God you are already married.

I remember having a long conversation with an older man in my neighborhood who identified so strongly with Jesus and was extremely involved in his church. He was divorced with kids and was dating another woman from his church who was also divorced with kids. Somehow in the conversation he mentioned three things. 1. They are living together. 2. Yes, they are sleeping together but they said vows to each other so in the eyes of God they are married. 3. They are not getting along so he thinks he is going to break up with her soon. WHAT??? I could have just let it alone but I called him out on his obvious erroneous thought process. He has believed so many lies and was living one HUGE lie after another. He sort of ho-hum agreed with my rebuke and I never saw him again.

Another person in my life believes it is OK that they are sleeping together because they are getting marred and have also stated some sort of private vows. Not only is that unbiblical on several levels, it is also an issue because they were sleeping together LONG before they ever even started to talk about getting married. She agrees to disagree with me.

A friend of mine believes the man she is marrying will “come around”. She says he promised to come to church with her and she is hopeful he will get saved soon. She also says that she can walk down the isle, say her vows, and then ask God to forgive her for going against His word by becoming unequally yoked. How are all these lies are becoming truths? Satan is just that good. She is no longer speaking to me.

TYPICAL LIE #2
You call yourself a “cussin’ Christian”
What does THAT mean? Well, you say bad words. Often. Or perhaps you use the Lord’s Name in vain and really don’t think much of it. Sorry, you are living a lie.

TYPICAL LIE #3
You chase money. You tell yourself it is not money that is bad, it is the LOVE of money. While yes, that is true, it is still a lie. If you are chasing money and using that line to back up your idol, then again you are living a lie.

TYPICAL LIE #4
You are a prayer warrior. Your gift is not evangelism. You leave that to people who are gifted at talking to strangers or who are gifted at sharing the gospel with others. Usually that gift is for pastors and people in full-time ministry. Again, a HUGE lie. We ALL are commissioned to spread the gospel. ALL.

TYPICAL LIE #5
You consider yourself a normal Christian but you have friends who are Jesus Freaks. You reserve that name for the really intense Christians in your life but that is not you at all. You fit in. Your way of witnessing to others is by not being crazy, because who is really going to respond to that anyway, right? LIE!! Being a Jesus Freak does not mean being out of your mind crazy, it means living a life that is counter to how the world lives. Living based on the Bible. Yes, that would most likely put you in the Jesus Freak category, but not in the, stand-on-the-street-corner-holding-an-end-of-the-world-sign crazy. Make sense?

TYPICAL LIE #6
You attend church, you read your Bible as often as you can, maybe a few times a week, maybe every day if you remember. You go on short term missions, or you tithe or give offering to the church. You made a profession of faith when you were 13, you got baptized and you are from a Christian church. I realize not all of this describes you, but some of it may. Christianity is not a checklist. While you may do all these things, they do not, in and of themselves, make you a Christian. Check your growth. Check your fruit. This lie is one of the BIGGEST there is.

2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

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Secret Societies Cloaked in Rituals

1 John 1:5 ESV
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

In 1 John 1:5, John refers to light and darkness. God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all. Historically, there are two meanings for light and dark: the intellectual and the moral. Intellectually light is truth and darkness is falsehood. Morally light is purity and darkness is sin. God is perfection through and through. John is challenging the heretics of the day who met in secret societies cloaked in rituals and secret veiled initiation rights. For them to claim they knew God was ridiculous because God IS light and he would not be found in the literal dark rituals of the heretics.

This is interesting for today’s modern society where so much is applauded that is shrouded in darkness and secrecy. It is easier to live in the darkness too. What is truth these days? Truth has become lies and lies have become truth. How do we, as Christians discern the difference?

I grew up in a church where the leadership team looked the other way when confronted with bold-faced sin. There was no accountability and sin was shrouded in secrecy. This was a supposedly bible teaching Baptist church. After I left for college, one person after another fell into scandal. BIG scandal. It was like watching flies drop. It was horrific really. It was sad and heartbreaking. How does that much scandal happen in the church? Secrecy. Sin. Darkness.

We all sin, but it is the fact of making sin a practice that is the difference. Making a habit of sin is what John will expand upon in 1 John 3:6. If you practice sin continually John, without hesitation, calls us out as not being a Christian. We will stumble. But with the Holy Spirit in us, it is extremely hard, impossible really, to make a practice of sin.

My dear, dear reader. I implore you, on behalf of Jesus, to be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:20) Don’t get caught up in a “feel good” church. Please. Don’t do it. Read Matthew 5-7. Read John 6. What does it say in John 6:66? Jesus was not preaching to the masses. He was preaching to the called. He was not trying to sell anyone anything. He was speaking truth.

Truth is hard. Get yourself into a church that is not afraid to preach the truth. If you are attending a “self-help” topical feel good sermon preaching church, get out! Run! Find a church that will speak the truth to you. Find a community that has leaders like John. I look at John and think what a great thing to be under his leadership. That is what I look for in leaders. Truth. Hard truth. Truth that is full of light and no darkness at all.

Broken Beyond Healing

1 John 1:3 ESV
that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

The word for proclaim is apaggello which also gives weight to the fact that John was commissioned by Jesus to testify. Koinonia is the Greek word for fellowship. It is specifically a word used for Christians. We have fellowship with each other only because we have fellowship with the Father AND the Son. John makes this distinction clear because his readers were dealing with heretics of their age that were stating Jesus the man was not the Christ. John is being clear that our fellowship as believers stems from our fellowship and intimacy with the Father and the Son.

Coming from actual on-the-scene eyewitnesses, we as believers can join in with the fellowship of the church and the blessed fellowship with the Father and Son.

This is so real to me as I have gotten tossed around by the world this week. Fellowship with Jesus and the Father is such a huge blessing however it is more so when done in the community of believers. I fear too many people today are lacking in this area. They church hop like they coffee shop hot. In fact, people are more attached to their favorite coffee shop than they are to their church. The fickle behavior of church goers state, “If I don’t feel good at my church, I’m out.” I get it. Family is hard. Being guided and reproved is hard. But as Proverbs 9:8b states, “reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” Too many of us are wise in our own eyes. We are unwilling to listen to criticism. We are stubborn to the point of breaking. Proverbs 29:1 states, “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.”

I don’t want to be broken beyond healing. Lord, help me to learn and grow even when it is hard. Help me to be moldable even by men. Show me respect and teach me love for those who correct me and are responsible for me. Give me leadership that leads well. Give me leadership that teaches and reproves me the way I need to be reproved and help me to be humble in my education which is my sanctification which is my life. You are everything and I will take all you have to offer in any means necessary to bring about the greatest growth and maturity in Christ.

The HUGE Lie about Christianity

There is a HUGE lie that is going around in regard to the picture people are painting about Christianity. “Come to Jesus, and you will find rest!” “Let Jesus into your heart because He loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” (skip to the bold to understand why I am writing about this.)

These benefits sound amazing right!? Well, truth be told, and you know I love me some truth pills, all of that could not be further from the truth. In fact, it is the exact opposite! Jesus GUARANTEED we would have troubles in our earthly life if we chose to follow Him. I will concede, however that those statements above about finding rest, and there being a wonderful plan for your life are 100% true and 100% taken out of context. Your rest will happen in eternity. Yes, there is great peace in trusting in Jesus and knowing our final destination, however actual physical rest here on this Earth was never promised. Yes, He does have a wonderful plan for you, but it won’t be what you think of as wonderful. You won’t get the perfect job, marry the perfect person, and have a perfect life. As a Christian, that just won’t happen. Sure there will be times of great joy in this life. Be sure that God not only loves you, He also LIKES you. He will give good things to you. He will shower love on you. HOWEVER, He wants you to GROW! You will not grow unless you suffer and experience hardships. There are over 100 verses in the Bible that talk about hardships and suffering specifically for God’s children. At the end I have listed a few to give you an example.

But get this! Not only are there hardships and sufferings that God allows and sanctions in your life to help you grow, degree by degree, but there is another, quite infuriating hardship that we must endure. If you are a sideline Christian, you most likely will not experience this. If, however, you are an “all-in” fully sold out for Jesus kind of person, then you better bet you will experience this and if you don’t you should worry and question why you are not.

WARNING: This may be upsetting.
If you are a sideline Christian, I am going to challenge you to figure out what that means. Sideline Christians typically consider themselves sort of lukewarm. They may call themselves “Cafeteria Christians” or “Carnal Christians” or my favorite, “Cussin’ Christian.” My heart breaks for you if that is you. There is no room for this type of Christianity ANYWHERE in the Bible. If you consider yourself a sideline Christian, consider with all your being your actual salvation. Really study this and figure this one out. You may not be a Christian. Please read my testimony to see what I am talking about. I considered myself to be a “Cafeteria Christian.” While I did not use that phrase, when someone described it, it made perfect sense. I cherry picked all the stuff in the Bible I liked. The stuff I did not understand or felt was antiquated (really just meant for people back then, and couldn’t possibly mean for me, such as women not being able to be pastors) all this “stuff” I literally shoved out of my self-created religion.

So, where am I going with this? The closer you are to the Target, the more you will get hit. By whom? Satan and his henchmen. The Target: Jesus. All those fallen angels are wildly upset with the fact that their fate is sealed. Their one and ONLY goal is to get people messed up. They have a very skilled two-pronged approach.

    1. Get people to THINK they are Christians when they actually are not. (see Matthew 7:21-23 ESV) No really, LOOK IT UP, this may be describing you!
    2. Get the actual Christians so distracted with trial after trial, persecution after persecution, that they will not be as effective witnesses and therefore less people will come to Christ and obtain the very thing they are no longer able to get: eternal salvation.

I am writing this today because in June of this year I decided to go to a different church with my husband that was more his pace. After an entire summer being away from my church and not really involved in the new church at the request of my husband I can tell you not only was it the worst spiritual growth I have had over a 3 month period, but it was also the easiest from the spiritual battle perspective. No major trials, no major suffering, after a full, and I mean FULL 2 years of major trials, one after another every 2-3 weeks something new hitting me hard. It was exhausting, but I was also ON FIRE. I was witnessing to everyone, serving in any capacity I could, I was growing, and thriving in Christ but being beaten up literally by the world. 

I even questioned why I was getting off so easy this summer. I was nervous at the fact that God was being so silent in my life. I knew in the pit of my stomach it was because I was not as close to the Target as I am when I am at my old church. The spiritual battle is palpable at that church. I even started getting nervous about the possibility of going back because I knew I would be starting the battle again. I would be growing more and Satan does not like that, so I am sure I have some new henchmen assigned just to me. Then, on Sunday, I declared to two of my friends that I am coming back to my church since my husband has not been coming with me to the new church as promised and I never want to force him to do anything. That is not my style. Monday morning I start a potentially life-saving Periscope daily broadcast going through 1 John, one of the most convicting books in the Bible and then later that morning, I get hit with some major tax news that put me into a tail spin. Tuesday, today, my son got punched in the eye and sent to the principal’s office (soooo not like Jacob AT ALL) and I got hit with a lawsuit for imagery infringement (those of you who know me, know I am a big contender for image usage rights, but this one was an honest mistake and I am now facing legal action.) Needless to say, here we go again. Pile it on! In this life, as a sold out servant of Christ, you better believe I am going to be bombarded with distractions and suffering from Satan’s minions. But I will COUNT IT ALL JOY! I know I must endure. I must learn. I must grow. And soon, YES, very SOON, I am going to see Him face to face and for that I hold my hope close to my chest. For THAT my hope is secure.

If you find that your life is pretty easy and things tend to always go your way, I would re-evaluate where you are with your salvation and your relationship with Jesus. We are all on different paths and all have varying degrees of faith and ways in which He teaches and leads us. I look around at my friends who clearly are not Christians based simply on their lifestyles, yet they claim Christianity. Guess what? They have it pretty good. Their life is not spiritually attacked and they may be blessed in ways you and I will never be. Just remember, this may be the best they ever have it. I really REALLY want you to take time this year and evaluate your life. Evaluate your sanctification. Do a fruit audit. Get right with the living God. He may come back way sooner than we all expect!

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, (Philippians 1:29 ESV)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.(Romans 8:18 ESV)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV)

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, (2 Timothy 3:12 ESV)

The Little Indian Boy and the Feathers

1 John 1:2 ESV
the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us-

This verse is on the heals of verse 1 stating “the word of life”, the life John is talking about is Jesus. Reference back to John 1:1 ESV “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

When Jesus spoke, the people never heard anything like what he was saying. As CS Lewis says Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord. The claims Jesus made were HUGE. He claimed not to be a good teacher, He claimed to be God! John testifies as a reputable reporter that Jesus IS eternal life. John was not some crazy man on the street corner holding a sign that says “The end is near!” He was well respected. Remember, John saw Jesus glorified on the Mount of Transfiguration. He was an eyewitness.

Jesus revealed to John that He was God. John not only testifies the reality and truth of this fact but also he proclaims it. The term proclaim can also be translated as to show. He did not just tell of Jesus, but he showed people a life transformed by Jesus. Actions always speak louder then words. Who we are and how we live will make a greater impact.

Be a true and clear witness to the gospel of Jesus through your words and your actions.

I see myself girded up to live out a life worthy of being called an ambassador of Christ at 8:00am and then by 8:01am I somehow mess it up. It is a constant struggle to keep my mind focused on actions AND words. To align my actions with my words is one of the hardest things to do.

There is a story of an Indian Chief and a little boy sitting high on a cliff overlooking a ravine with a river down below. The little boy wanted to learn how to gain more wisdom. So the chief gave him a handful of tiny feathers and said to throw them up into the air over a cliff. The boy did so and watched as the wind lifted them up into the sky, some floated all the way across the ravine to the other side, some down into the river, some floated back over their head and onto the land, while others lifted far up and out of sight. The chief said to the boy, “Now go and retrieve every single feather and bring it back.” The boy laughed because he knew that was impossible. So it is with our words. Once we let them go, we can never get them back.

Lord, help me to be a great ambassador for you. Help me to continually check my actions and my words that they line up with bringing you more glory. Help me to testify and proclaim that you are who you say you are. Help me to be a good student and not only learn your lessons but apply them every moment of every day until you call me home in glory!

What are Talents?

When you read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30, read it from the perspective of a “talent” as a “soul” that has been given the understanding and potential for salvation. Don’t read it as physical, mental, or spiritual attributes or gifts you have been given or actual money. Read talents as “souls.” I used to take the master’s statement at the end as super harsh, but when you read it in light of our duty as Christians and if we “hide” what Christ has revealed to us rather than share His gospel, of course that will be God’s response to us! Look back up to the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. Verse 11 is very similar to Matthew 7:21-23, the most frightening passage in all of Scripture. This is all talking about souls and our job here on Earth. Be ready. Be prepared. Do what Christ has asked of you. Don’t be slothful. Don’t listen to others. Listen to Jesus and Jesus alone!

Pulpit Puppet Theology

Many of you know my story (you can read my testimony here) and why my heart is so set on reaching out to people who identify with Christ but may not display characteristics of what the Bible says a follower of Jesus should look like. I identified with Christ fully and completely. I was on his team. I was a big BIG fan and was emotionally and physically involved in my relationship with him. That is why I am so passionate about this. Had you told me in 2012 that you thought I was not a Christian I would have laughed at you. But I wasn’t. Sure, I loved Jesus, and everything he stood for. Loved going to church. Loved singing praise to him. But I was not willing to do everything he asked of me in the Bible. I was what they call a cafeteria Christian, picking and choosing the theology that worked for me and placing the rest in a file I called “antiquated”.

Jump forward a year and a half later as a full-fledged, bonafide, all-in, do-what-the-Bible-says, newborn Christian and I can tell you something that only is clear to me now. As they say hindsight is 20-20. The biggest mistake I made as a “Christian” (placed in quotes because I was not a Christian) was in creating my own version of who God is. I was majorly guilty of boldly and arrogantly (and ignorantly) breaking the first and second commandments. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not worship idols. I was a god-creating idolator in the first degree. I placed the word ignorantly in parenthesis because, while I should not blame my own sin on anyone other than myself, I do know that the majority of my issue came from a product of poor theology and a low view of God directly from the pulpit. I was given a large dose of what I call “Pulpit Puppet Theology”; a watered-down, sugary, stage-show of a God that in reality if you came face to face with him would crush the very soul you cling so tightly to. A soul that you view as somewhat clean and acceptable, yet with just a glimpse of God you would see in yourself a grotesque and unspeakably ugly sinner.

If you are a Christian or perhaps an unknowing “Christian” I encourage you to do one thing over the next month, and hopefully from there for the rest of your life. Study who God is. Raise your view of him. Put him back in his high and lifted up place. Look at the throne-room of your heart and daily replace yourself on that throne with Christ. Visualize it. Pray for it. Study it. Research it. Dig deep. I heard someone say at a conference that the first time they went to Japan, they came back thinking they knew everything. The second time they went they came back realizing how much more they wanted to learn. The third time, the realized just how much there is to learn and that they only scratched the surface. As I sat there listening to this man talking about business, I thought, “that is so true about God”. The more you dig into understanding who he is, the more you will realize the magnitude of your original view and how far you are from reaching a truly correct view of him. Someday in Heaven we will have a better understanding, but for now, Christian, don’t assume you know.

Blood Moon on Passover

Unity Succulent Photo by Jen O'Sullivan www.jenosullivan.comProbably the most interesting thing about the Blood Moon Tetrad (4 lunar eclipses over the next 2 years) is not the fact that they fall on both Passover and Succoth for 2 successive years. What is most interesting in my opinion is the number 8 in the equation. 8 in the Bible symbolizes a new beginning. Noah was the 8th person off the ark, Jesus resurrected on the 8th day, Jesus showed himself as after the resurrection 8 times, Hebrews are to be circumcised on the 8th day to symbolized a new heart and a receiving of the Holy Spirit. There are several other examples of the number 8 found in the bible at BIBLESTUDY.ORG.

So, why is does the number 8 relate to this current Blood Moon Tetrad? Blood Moons are not super rare, but Tetrads are. A Tetrad is when the 4 solar eclipses happen on the Lord’s feast days. There have been only 7 Tetrads like this in history past. This Tetrad is the 8th. There will not be another Tetrad for the next 500 years. With all that is happening in the world today I highly doubt we will be around for another 500 years.

That is what I call an very interesting sign of the times.

 

Genesis 1:14
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for SIGNS and for seasons, and for days and years,
(emphasis added)

Joel 2:28-32 ESV
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

MARANTHA!
~ HolyJustLove.com

#BloodMoon #BloodMoonEclipse #Excited #TGBTG #Maranatha

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FRUIT AUDIT – Do you “make disciples” actively or do you leave it to the “professionals”?

Jesus calls us to “make disciples.” Do you make disciples actively or do you leave it to the “professionals”?
I often found myself saying others are better at this than me and that is their gift, not mine. If you read the Bible thoroughly you will find that way of thinking is false. Jesus never said “only if you feel like it” or “only if you feel called to” or “only if you are good at it.” Quite the contrary. The Bible is full of stories, examples, and commands to people who were self-professing babbling idiots, but those are precisely who God used time and time again. His glory shines brighter through those who are less able to do what he wants you to do.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19

For further thoughts on this topic check out this post:
Do You Share Jesus?

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?

 

“Ask and it will be given.” ~ Why the Secret and the Law of Attraction are Wrong!

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

There are so many passages in the Bible that are misinterpreted. They are interpreted based on what we want them to say rather than what they actually say. I got caught up in the “Secret” and the “Law of Attraction” several years ago. Even my Christian friends were suckered into it because it is touted as being Bible based. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think of how Satan takes truths and slightly (really slightly) modifies them to make them not true anymore but really easy to swallow as truth. You know how GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms, aka “food that is not really food anymore”, aka “you can eat it but shouldn’t”) are just like the original only better? They grow quicker, yield more, taste richer, have less waste, etc, etc. That is what Satan hopes his “version” of the Bible does for each and every one of us. Pick and choose what we want and throw out the rest.

blueletterbibleSo, back to the above verse and why our friends who teach the Law of Attraction really have missed the whole point of this passage (and other verses in the Bible that seem to say the same thing.) There are some helpful ways to interpret Scripture through the hermeneutical process. Three main areas to always consider are: Biblical Context, Historical Background, and The Bible as a Whole.

Biblical context is simple. What context was the passage in question relating to? Read the verses surrounding the verse in question.

Historical Background may take a bit longer to discover through commentaries and other historical reading. What did the passage mean to the people it was written to? What was going on in their time? What historical events surrounded them at the time of the writing? Why was it written, for what purpose? Who specifically was it intended for? It is important here to look up multiple translations as well as the original Greek or Hebrew words used in the passage.

And lastly, understanding the Bible as a Whole can also take a while. This is often referred to as “Scripture Interprets Scripture.” You need to see where else in the Bible there is use of phrases or specific words that come up in the passage. One of my favorite resources is Blue Letter Bible. See image above. It is important to research words and what they fully meant, not how one translation has decided to translate it. It is also important to find out if the specific meaning you think it means is taught anywhere else in the Bible. If it is not, then perhaps you need to rethink your understanding of the passage.

So, let’s take a look at our passage in question (Matthew 7:7-11) and dissect it a bit.

What is the Biblical Context? Please read all of Matthew 7 right now if you have not yet. In reading the verses before and after it seems clear they are talking about how we live our lives and how that pertains to the glory of Yahweh, our personal salvation, as well as our deserved judgement. If our relationship with Yahweh and salvation is what is in context then it would make sense that the passage is telling us to ask for salvation and the things of Yahweh. Let’s dig a bit deeper by looking at the Historical Background.

What was the Historical Background? Jesus is at the end of his now famous ‘Sermon on the Mount” as read in Matthew 5-7. It is probably one of the most well know passages in all the New Testament. However, when he was giving it, and even when it was written down or passed along via pure memorization, the text in the early church was not well known like it is today. The last verse in chapter 7 states the people were amazed. What Jesus was saying was not only counter intuitive and somewhat odd at the time (in some cases very odd and downright heretical) the people were astonished. First because of what he was saying, but second because of how he was saying it. Think about it. When you hear someone speak about something they have studied, there is a sense of humility in that knowledge. It is like your pastor preaching from the Word of God. Now think about when you have heard someone talk about something they have discovered or created, like a scientist or book author. They speak with a much greater sense of authority (authorship). That is exactly how Jesus was speaking because he has authored it all! Everything. Every last word, note, hair, syllable, brick, dot, iota, cell, molecule, star, planet, you get the idea. EVERYTHING. So he has a right to speak with complete authority. People just did not talk that way back then, not even the scribes or the pharisees. There was great power behind how Jesus spoke and the people sat up to listen.

So, think about this. Jesus goes from “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” straight into the idea of “asking”. Then he states “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” If I look at this from the audience of the time’s perspective I would not think to my self: “Wow, you mean to tell me I can ask for anything I want and I will get it?” As I would say to my child, “Sorry, that is not correct.”

Finally let’s take a look at other passages that can shed some light on this one.

Scripture Interprets Scripture.

Below are a list of verses similar to Matthew 7:7 and are the ones most brought up in the discussion of the Law of Attraction. Before moving forward here is a simple definition of the Law of Attraction: Like attracts like. If you think it, you will be it. If you ask for it you will receive it.
HERE ARE THE VERSES:

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22, ESV)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24, ESV)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14, ESV)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7, ESV)

In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. (John 16:23, ESV)

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24, ESV)

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly (James 4:3, ESV)

When we look at all these verses that seem to imply that we simply need to ask God for our desires and he will give them to us it can be very enticing to go down that rabbit hole. However, when you use the above two steps to find out what the Bible is talking about in each verse you will quickly find out that they are all talking about God’s will and not yours. It is not about your job, your bank account, the school your kids go to, your retirement plan, or even the simple day to day things that we want and desire. Yes, God wants good things for his kids but when you really study scripture as a whole, cover to cover, you will see that there really is no promise of good things on THIS earth in THIS lifetime. He is talking about your salvation and what amazingly great things (and I mean uncomprehendingly GREAT things) he will be giving you then, not now!

Take a look at this verse:

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10b, ESV)

This is quite possibly the MOST misinterpreted verses in the Bible when it comes to the Law of Attraction. People say, “Check this out, God WANTS you to have an abundant life!” I like how they take out the first part of the verse, because it is a bit confusing when it is put in the context they want it to be in. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV) Using hermeneutics, you will discover that Jesus is talking about salvation. You will also see that when you interpret this passage based on other scripture, the word abundant is used here to describe life upon life, or eternal life, or everlasting life, not a full and abundant life now.

So, what should you do with all of this? Here are 5 Simple Steps.

1. Read the Bible fully and often.

2. Utilize your brain by looking at the complete context of a passage in question.

3. Use tools like a concordance, lexicon, and Hebrew/Greek dictionary to understand the words better. Here are a couple good ones online: Bible Study Tools or Blue Letter Bible.

4. Find a church that has great Bible based, expository preaching and teaching. Check out 9Marks to find a church in your area that professes this as one of their goals.

5. Read the Bible fully and often.

Maranatha!

P.S. ~ All of the above is one of the main reasons I am learning Hebrew and Greek. It is that important!