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Zeal Without Wisdom

Updated: Feb 13


Jesus answered, unless I wash you, you have no part with me. John 13:8


So, do we really think that the heart of Jesus wouldn't want all people washed clean and brought under the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus? If so, this may reveal more about what's in our hearts than we are ready to see. May truth be spoken with the law of kindness.


There is a quote in the movie Pollyanna ascribed to Abraham Lincoln that was actually written by screenwriter David Swift. Nonetheless, it is a great quote and deserving of being repeated. When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely shall. No quote seems more fitting for the fervor on social media of today. It seems everyone is looking to hurl stones at one another.


Yes, we know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and the wages of sin are death, but praise be to God that the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to reflect on a few more scriptures. It is the goodness of the Lord that leads to repentance. The enemy is the accuser of the brethren. We do not wrestle with flesh and blood but with principalities, powers, and rulers of wickedness in high places. It is not God’s will that any should perish but all come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.


Sadly, it seems these verses have been forgotten and their removal has ushered in a new pandemic sweeping this nation. It is not a physical sickness, but a sickness within the body of Christ. We know that judgment is to begin in the house of the Lord. It is time that there was true repentance within the four walls of the church. Repentance simply means to change the way we think. We must move away from the old wineskin of the law of sin and death to the new wineskin of the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We must understand that judgment is not some vengeful god hurling lightning bolts at his children who are trapped in deception by the enemy. Rather, it is the loving heart of a God who loved the world enough to send their son to die for us, judging the demonic bondages off of our lives to see us set free. So, to that end, the judgment that is coming to the church is to see the traditions of men within our belief systems, those errors that bring a pharisaical mean spirit, purged from the hearts of God’s people.


How many times did Jesus have to explain, “you have heard it said, but I say to you?” He was clearly revealing who HE really was as opposed to how he had been viewed by the religiously devout. This is what it means when the scripture says that no man had seen God before Jesus. Clearly the Old Testament gives examples of men seeing God, and even speaking with HIM face to face. So, what this scripture meant was that nobody had truly understood who God was before Jesus. Jesus was and is perfect theology and he showed us the heart of God. Elohim was inside of Christ reconciling the world unto themselves, not hurling fire and brimstone at the world with Jesus jumping in front of them to protect the world from the wrath of God.


God does not merely point to love, God is love. Any definition of Love, therefore, that does not align with who God is cannot be love. Jesus came to save, heal, and deliver. He came for the lost sheep. Unfortunately, many times we do not perceive ourselves to have been lost. We must be reminded that our righteousness is filthy rags. It is only because he who knew no sin became sin for us that we now possess the righteousness of Jesus Christ.


Matthew 9:10-13 gives the perfect picture of the heart of God and the inability of those trapped in a religious spirit to properly discern it. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Remember, it is not God’s will that any should perish. He does not want the accuser of the brethren to get any of his children. He even leaves the 99 to go after the 1.


But just like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son, once we are enveloped into the family of God, we can, unfortunately, loose our compassion for those who are still lost. If we are not careful, a spirit can sneak into our lives and cause us to be deceived by a misguided zeal for God. Such a religious zeal brings with it a heart of fire and brimstone towards those who have not yet been transformed by the love of Jesus. Luke 9:54-56 is a perfect example.  And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” 


If we are not consistently basking in the presence of God and reading scripture with the Holy Spirit who manifests the 7 Spirits of God including wisdom, we tend to replace wisdom with human reason. Remember, there are two types of wisdom, and the wisdom of this world brings selfish ambition and every evil thing. But the wisdom that is from above, she is always peaceable and pure.  Unfortunately, the wisdom of the world, the religious traditions of men is what the Pharisees became steeped in. This is why they could look into the face of the WORD and replace him with ink on a page or tablets of stone. They were literally face to face with the WORD and yet they did not recognize HIM because of their zeal and love for their misinterpretations of the Old Testament laws of Moses. It is why they could arrogantly declare, “We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”


If we are not careful, our very zeal for God, if it is not directed by the Spirit of Wisdom, can lead us down a bad path, where our hearts are filled with a desire to cast stones rather than see the lost redeemed. Saul himself detailed how he above all others was righteous according to the law of sin and death. He detailed his pharisaical alignment before he had been transformed by the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus into Paul. He, the Pharisee of Pharisees, sadly recalled that “as for zeal, [he had been] persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, [he had been] faultless.” Praise God that just like Saul our righteousness does not come from the law, but from the higher standard of perfection that is Christ Jesus.


Yet, we are witnessing an almost pervasive desire of those of us filling pews to want to cast stones at the lost and deceived, forgetting that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are only righteous because once for all times, Christ died. He paid for the sins of humanity. We do not get a life of behavior modification where we white knuckle change to try to be holy. No, God gives us a new heart and puts a new spirit in us; they remove from us our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. We are transformed into a new creation and no longer have the old-man desires that drive us to licentiousness, hatred, and comparison. That is why nobody who has truly been saved should ever fear grace. Grace is simply the completed work of the cross and you can never have too much of it. If grace makes someone want to go out and sin, then they do not understand what grace truly is. Such a person should seek to encounter Jesus on an even deeper level where they will truly get a new heart with new desires.


This revelation should bring a fresh perspective on how we view the woman caught in adultery. First of all, for everyone who jumps to the “go and sin no more” passage, for that to make sense, you need to go back to what Jesus says first. He first declares over her, “neither do I condemn you.” Those who encountered him, those who he healed and delivered, he declared over them that their sins were forgiven. Condemnation does not exist for those who are in Christ Jesus, for he replaces our sins with his righteousness, and we get a new heart. Because she was no longer condemned, because her sins were forgiven in Christ, she was now a new creation and able to go and sin no more. She was no longer trapped in the bondages to sin.


This type of immediate transformation can only come from encountering the love of Jesus. My husband, Jake, has done ministry around the globe. He ministers in places and to people that are often the outcasts of society. Frequently, the Lord would prompt him to wash their feet. This act of kindness and service brought the presence of God where he would see them immediately delivered and set free from demonic possession. They could finally go and sin no more. For those of us who have tasted and seen the goodness of God, this is the type of deliverance we should want to see everyone experience.


Our hearts should be grieved by those of us who profess to undeniably know the love of God, but in whom the enemy is twisting our zeal, causing us to lose sight of the WORD. Perhaps some fresh perspective may help. Maybe, just maybe, a commercial highlighting someone trapped in gender confusion, substance abuse, or an illegal is a way to show that life choices reveal those who have not yet been set free by the love of Christ. Maybe, just maybe, it is a way to say, neither do we condemn you, but we know of assurance that if you encounter the person of Love, you will get a new heart and you will finally be able to go and sin no more. Maybe, just maybe, David Green of Hobby Lobby, who helped fund this commercial, who gives millions every year to benevolently help those in need and spread the good news of Jesus is doing the work of the Lord. Maybe, just maybe, the Chiefs who are owned by Clark Hunt who constantly gives glory to God, encourages faith in his players, and schedules church services at Arrowhead Arena for Sunday games where people get saved is likewise doing the work of the Lord. Clearly, God is not aligned with a team, but individual followers may align with him, like Brock Purdy of the 49ers who never misses an opportunity to speak about his Savior. And speaking of speaking about his Savior, what of Usher who unequivocally professes, that his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is who keeps him grounded.


If we as the body of Christ believed in the transformative power of the blood of Jesus, then it would not be hard for us to believe that those who allow their feet to be washed in the name of Jesus get a new heart and their sins and lifestyles of bondage can be replaced with the righteousness of Christ. This is not a picture of condoning sin, but a belief that a life of sin can be walked away from by the transformative power of the blood of Jesus. If we understood that the power of life and death truly resides within our tongues, then we would not be so quick to curse others or look for a demon behind every bush. We would be more consumed with the power of the love of Jesus than with the darkness of the defeated enemy. Truly, the things of earth should grow strangely dim in the light of HIS glory and grace.


If we are not careful, we can easily slip into the error of James 3:9, and with our tongues praise our Lord and Father, yet with our tongues curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Let us pray for each other lest we fall into the mistake of James and John and be goaded by the wrong spirit. May the law of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus truly set us free from the law of sin and death and may the world finally know us by HIS LOVE.

 

 

 

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Becky Johnson
Becky Johnson
14 de fev.

Thank you for sharing this thought provoking piece.

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