Archive for August, 2010
From Chapter 14, Understanding Internal Conflict:
If we try to live up to who we are in Christ by our own power, we become worse off emotionally than the person who still lives in the flesh. We have raised the bar, but without any power to reach it. Studies have shown that the least happy people in our culture are conservative, evangelical Christians, because they hold to a high standard to which they believe God has called them, but they are stuck without the power to reach that standard.
If the flesh cannot talk us out of God’s perspective, then the flesh will try whatever it can to keep us from God’s power. Galatians 5:22-23a says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Not the fruit of the law. Not the fruit of self-effort. Not the fruit of trying harder. Not the fruit of discipline. These are the fruit of the Spirit—the things that only the Spirit can produce in us.
The internal conflict is real; it’s crazy to deny it, and useless to try to resolve it by human effort. God’s perspective says, “Here’s where you are, and there’s where you’re going. Don’t fret about the gap; just check back occasionally to see how far you’ve gone.” Again, the gap is why we need grace.
One of the first things I saw this morning was an e-mail update from a LinkedIn group I belong to discussing how to address issues with a certain well-known leader in the prosperity/faith movement. For whatever reason I clicked on the link and read some of the comments, and was shocked to see two or three people raising the “don’t touch the Lord’s anointed” defense.
As we write in Chapter 5 — The Source of Authority, this concept arises from taking 1 Samuel 26:9-11 out of context. The passage states,
But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed.
The context for the passage is that David and his men were on the run from Saul and his men; Saul was a bit mad, and was attempting to kill David. While David was openly critical and in opposition to Saul, he refused to kill him because Saul literally was God’s anointed King over Israel. He had been anointed with oil, and was one of the few individuals to have actually been anointed with the Holy Spirit.
Today, of course, all Christians have received the Holy Spirit; we are all anointed. No pastor or leader has any special status; no one is free from criticism and challenge.
We, of course, should be careful with our words when speaking about anyone, whether public figures or not. If someone is in sin, Jesus laid out a good course to follow in Matthew 18. If someone is in error, they should be confronted (Galatians 2:11).
The Gospel Uncensored addressed these topics in more detail. In a month or so, you should be able to read it for yourself.
Westbow just sent me pdf’s of the cover and interior proofs for review. All I can say is, it’s gonna look really good.
They did a great job of the spine and back cover, using the colors from my cover design. I immediately noticed an error (mine) on the dust jacket flap, when it refers to an earlier version of the title. Oops! Fortunately, they allow me a number of changes.
They did a fantastic job on the interior, giving it the feel I was looking for. The text (excluding title page, etc.) is 208 pages, about what I thought. I wanted a book that people could pick up and think, “I could read this!”, and I think that’s what I got.
So, now I do one more proof-read. One step closer… I think we’re definitely looking at a September release.