Feb. 17, 2022

Creator & Re-Creator & the Created & Recreated

 

Psalm 100:3a. NKJV. “Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…”

(See also Ephesians 2:10 and Galatians 2:20)

At first glance this may seem like one of those Bible ho-hums. Sure, every “believer” knows this. Can we move on now?

Not so fast. The psalmist essentially commands the attention of his readers to truly know this. When we truly acknowledge (and truly know) this, it will effect our thinking, outlook, and living. We will embrace a worldview that says, “I’m a created being. My very existence is a gift. More importantly, because I’m also a fallen human being, God has redeemed and recreated me in Christ Jesus.”

These days we hear tossed around the idea that you can be anything you want to be, do anything you want, and go anywhere your heart desires, and the like. For most that is the idea of the “pursuit of happiness.” It’s Constitutionally guaranteed and preserved as my “God given right,” after all. Is that so?

Is the self willed stance toward life really the attitude that governs the life of the faithful disciple of Jesus Christ? Might it instead be said that it resembles the “I will exalt myself” attitude of the Arch Insurrectionist (Isaiah 14:13), whose rebellion was passed along to mankind, who were created originally to be victorious over him, and to bear the likeness of Jesus Christ?

James 4:13-17 calls self willed boasting evil. He admonishes, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will  happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” 

It is the world’s way; it is the New Thought motivational mindset, which is really a very old thought merely repackaged. Unfortunately this mindset - completely bound up in and attached to this temporary world - has infested all too many believers’ heads, and it has woven itself into much of organized religion. It is considered the ideal (idol?) to be or become the “self made” man or woman. 

This is the opposite of the Scriptural idea. We play God when we take on this prideful attitude; we’re playing with fire. And it is not holy fire!

Is it wrong to make plans? No! Yet we’re called upon, if we take the name of Christ, to bring to our plans the appropriate attitude - one that must allow our Lord to guide all that we do. Repeating James, “… you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” It seems simple enough.

And once we’re faced with our real status as created and recreated beings in Christ, it begs the question, which voice will we heed? The Meyers, Copeland, Osteen crowd and their prosperity gospel ilk? Or will we heed the Word of God, both written and exemplified in Christ Jesus, Who said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work”? John 4:34. 

It cannot be both ways.

The Apostle Peter chimes in, right in tune with James. “be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care (“anxiety” in some translations) upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5-7. Proverbs 3:34)

Let’s target that care/anxiety matter. Our society is riddled with anxiety disorders. Could that be in relation to playing God, of buying in to the idea of the world’s mindset on “how great thou art” when we embrace the philosophies of self will and pride? There’s a lot of pressure in playing God. This is, by the way, also the most excellent opportunity for Big Pharma to cash in with drugs related to mental illness, offered to alleviate symptoms which really have their etiology in deeper causes - spiritual illness.

But God is not dealing with symptoms but rather sources of these often chronic woes. 

There’s a lot of stress related to playing God.

People are either smug, prideful, and self satisfied in their accomplishments, or they may be filled with despair, depression, and anxiety (not to mention envy!), as they find it impossible to “manifest” what the world tells them will bring happiness. They may feel that others look down on them for not making the grade. Where has this pendulum swung for you? How’s that going? Success may last for awhile… but then…

Lack of it may be the very best thing that can happen in the long run because, when you come to the end of yourself, you will be driven to realize that you are not God the Creator, but rather you are very much the created. At that point, when all the self willed plans are falling apart, it is high time to surrender self, life, and all that you hold dear into the hands of your Creator. Stop fighting Him. Stop running. Surrender in full! He Who has made you is Love! And He desires to recreate you according to His perfect plan and purpose, in Christ Jesus alone.

This is called humility. Humility does not mean being a doormat, as many are afraid it does. It means surrendering oneself in full to God alone, for the work that He would do in you, through His Holy Spirit.

This is an entirely different focus which takes my eyes off “me, myself, and I” and causes me to look to Him in and for everything - especially wisdom, guidance, and strength. Remember, His yoke is easy and His burden is light! Matthew 11:30.

But some simply don’t want to end the relationship with the drama that keeps them center stage, the object of their own worship. It’s hard to admit that. But -

The goal in Christ is the re-creation or restoration of the “Imago Dei”, the image of God, as seen in the humility of Jesus Christ Himself, in us. This is to be a living reality within us. Pride and self will must be abandoned and surrendered, and humility and the Cross embraced.

So we can see why the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, who stubbornly resist Him with pride, ego, and self will. Even in “religious” matters.

Humility also involves not walking contrary to God’s Commandments. Yes, the “Big Ten”, expanded, deepened, and perfected in their meaning in Christ Jesus and by His teaching. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15. 

All too often we misunderstand Christianity as a cakewalk of easy mental assent to a set of doctrines, and grace taken for granted, combined with being in a full blown spiritually adulterous affair with the world and all its charms. It’s time to take a hard look at this foolishness and see where it came from. And then repent!

"Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4

We are God’s workmanship through and through, created by Him and for Him! We have been set apart to bear the likeness of His Firstborn Son, Jesus Christ - the chief characteristic being humility, full surrender to the Father. This means picking up the Cross daily, in light of that old fashioned idea of mortification of the flesh, reverence, and obedience to the Word made flesh (He Who would dwell within us by way of His Holy Spirit!). Emmanuel, God with us!

The goal is the restoration of the likeness of God - in us. This is not accomplished by our will worship, but rather the humble surrender of the will to the Holy Spirit! This is not accomplished by singing “I do it my way.”

Christ Who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God IN HIM. (2Corinthians 5:21) It is to be a living reality in us! A process begun in this life to be completed at the resurrection of the body. This is our hope of glory.

But if we, as spiritual adulterers, insist upon - so to speak - the aim of torrid affairs with the world and lusting after it, we can have all sorts of religious head knowledge, but still be lost. Why? Because we refuse to actually leave our unacknowledged duplicity of heart behind, in favor of turning toward and surrendering our will and life to the One Who created and gave us life. And then, after we squandered the first gift, He has still loved us, as He recreated us and gives us new life in Christ Jesus!

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded.” James 4:8.

May we never forget Who is Who and who is who!

Amen.

 

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