Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A perfect fix

God isn’t interested in fixing you because he already has.

In the institution, discipleship focuses on correcting behavior. As a result, we are encouraged to attend discipleship groups or accountability groups where our behavior can be monitored. What we’re not told is that we’ve been given a new heart and a new nature. We no longer have a nature that’s prone to sin and prone to wander. Our new hearts are good, pure and holy because God has taken up permanent residence there. Instead of striving to change our outward behavior, our focus should now be on learning to live out of our new hearts. In his book "Recover Your Good Heart", Jim Robbins wrote the following:

“As Larry Crabbe pointed out in his groundbreaking book, Connecting, discipleship is about releasing a goodness now present within the believer because of Christ’s redemptive work in them.”

In Christ, everything we need for life and godliness is now in us. (2 Peter 1:3-4) We no longer need to pray for faith because we’ve already been given the measure of faith. We no longer need to pray for patience because patience is a fruit of the Spirit so we already have all the patience we need. We no longer need to pray for wisdom because, in Christ, we have all the wisdom we need. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

As we learn how to live out of our new hearts, these virtues will just flow out of us. As we come to know and trust Father’s love for us, we’ll have confidence (trust) that he’ll work everything for our good. As we grow in love, patience will be a natural by-product of that love. As we grow in understanding that we’re now one with Christ and that we have his mind, we’ll see that the answers to our questions and problems will just be there as we focus on our unity with him.

Learning how to live out of our new nature is a process and there will be times when it just doesn’t seem to be working well. However, as we continue to move forward trusting Father’s love for us, we’ll more and more see the life of God produced through us. No longer will we need others to keep us accountable because the life of God in us will cause us to live godly and holy lives.

"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:43-45)

5 comments:

lydia joy said...

I like this post!! I like the quote too!
I have been really struggling with this whole accountability concept, my old church was all about it to the extreme and now when I hear the word I just cringe! Where is is even in the Bible? I think being in fellowship is important and that we can benefit from others and be encouraged etc......but this accountability thing doesn't work and is a waste of time, unnecessary guilt and a lot of humiliation when Jesus already dealt with ALL sin for ALL time, and there is therefore now NO condemnation. My old accountability partner and I always reported the same struggles and tried 800 different things to help us and nothing ever worked! Now since grace I am seeing these areas transform before my very eyes, without doing anything!!! (except believing in the full measure of the gospel)
I like the discipleship example you mentioned, of others teaching other to live essentially out of their Christ life, their new regenerated spirit, that is an awesome way to look at it, and I believe it is taking place on many of these blogs, naturally!! Not because anyone said, "Hey I need to be disciple" -but because we are all so eager to learn and live in his pure grace and freedom!! All true Christian transformation is unconscious!! Woohoo!! This new life in Him is more and more amazing every day!! Abundant grace to you!!

silent wings said...

Thank you for posting this. This makes so much sense to me as I learn the new language and walk of grace. What an enjoyable journey!

Joel B. said...

Jim sent me a preview copy of his book last week, and I'm now reading it and I'll be posting a review when I get done with it. I'm not necessarily the fastest person when it comes to getting through a whole book - I read in bits and pieces - so it may be a short while, but for now I'm enjoying what I'm reading.

As you know, the whole behavior modification thing has bugged me as well! Rather than us trying to change to become something 'better,' in Christ God has already made us complete (Col 2:10), and we want to live from that completeness, not trying to attain it.

About asking for wisdom, James 1:2-8 does seem to be talking to Christians, but even then I think it's more about growing in our understanding of what is already true about us. As the other verses you mentioned say, we already have all we need for life and godliness, and Christ became for us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. As my friend Mike often says, why do we always ask God for what He's already given us?

And yeah, that whole accountability thing. I like what Lydia said, and I'd bet it's true for soooo many people who have accountability partners. Keeping on coming back to each other with the same problems over and over again, perhaps each time having a little bit of hope that if they just keep remaining accountable, they'll find victory, but never really finding victory.

Again - the victory is something God has already given us! (1 Cor 15:57). We need to walk in it, not try to find it through any fleshly means.

Aida said...

Lydia, I'm glad you enjoyed this post.

You're right. There is no mention in the Bible of us being accountable to another person. Accountability may work for a short time but eventually we’ll tend to go back and do the same thing as before although now we’ll be sure to hide it from our accountability partner. As you said, the only thing that will work is to live in Father’s grace and then it just happens, often without us doing a thing to make it happen.

“I like the discipleship example you mentioned, of others teaching other to live essentially out of their Christ life, their new regenerated spirit, that is an awesome way to look at it, and I believe it is taking place on many of these blogs, naturally!!”

Oh! I definitely agree. I’ve found this blogging community to be a source of encouragement without any attempt to control.

“All true Christian transformation is unconscious!! Woohoo!!”

I couldn’t agree with you more and I add my Woohoo!! to yours.


Silent wings, thanks for posting a comment. I’m glad what I shared was helpful. Like you, I’ve found this to be a wonderful journey and it’s gotten better the longer I’ve travelled this road as a free believer.

Aida said...

Joel, I’ve had my copy of Jim’s book for at least a couple of weeks now and still haven’t finished it so don’t feel bad about being a slow reader. I am too but I’ll probably finish it this week. I believe Jim has a lot of great things to say and I’m glad you’re enjoying it. .

“As you know, the whole behavior modification thing has bugged me as well! Rather than us trying to change to become something 'better,' in Christ God has already made us complete (Col 2:10), and we want to live from that completeness, not trying to attain it.”

Behavior modification is a very appropriate term. In that one sentence, Joel, you’ve beautifully expressed all that I wanted to say.

“About asking for wisdom, James 1:2-8 does seem to be talking to Christians, but even then I think it's more about growing in our understanding of what is already true about us.”

I hadn’t thought about the James 1:2-8 scripture but I agree. It’s a growing process. It’s okay to ask when we’re at a loss but I believe, as we grow in understanding our union with Christ, we’ll just know. I think all of us have experienced that at various times when we just know what to do and we do it without any prayer. Religion has taught us that we need to ask Father about everything but I don’t believe that’s true. As we focus our attention on learning about his love for us, we’ll ask less and less. At least, that’s what I believe and am experiencing now. I don’t ask for wisdom nearly as much as I used too. Mostly, I just trust that he will direct me.

Both Lydia and you made some good points about accountability partners and I’m finding that to be true now. In May, I joined an internationally known weight loss group. At first, I started out like gangbusters but now, although I’ve developed some better habits, I see myself losing some of the enthusiasm. For me at least, it’s basically a behavior modification method which is not working. So what am I to do? Work harder at it? That’s the answer we’re being given but I guess it’s like everything else. The work harder mentality just doesn’t work without a change of desires.

So, I’m going to have to allow Father to change my inward desires or more correctly allow those desires to come out that he’s already placed in me. I believe my new heart already wants me to develop healthy eating habits and not eat more than my body needs. All of the pep talks and the motivational games don’t seem to be working for me nor for any of the other members. It’s frustrating but I guess this is an area of my life where I’ll have to grow to experience his grace.

“Again - the victory is something God has already given us! (1 Cor 15:57). We need to walk in it, not try to find it through any fleshly means.”

We want a quick fix but that doesn’t work. We/I have to just allow myself to take as long as I need to allow his life in me to do it. Thanks for the reminder, Joel.

“'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)