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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006
The Flaw...
Look backwards over your faith for a bit.

Recall those precious times of growth and closeness to God? Sure you do. You wish every day could be like those days. You have a sense that you are stagnant in your walk – not that it is especially sinful outwardly – but that you have no sense of God’s presence like you used to. You read the same bible, and it is still interesting and all –but if you are willing to admit it, you know full well that something is wrong.

You are not obeying God anymore.

Not that you are being consistently, or deliberately disobedient – not in the least. Surely in times past your struggle with the various, seemingly insurmountable, sins caused you to be in constant communication with God. You were quick to turn to him when you failed – and when temptation came about, how you rallied against it – bridling all your unbridled inclinations, and eventually, through a regiment of denial and suppression, you managed to come to a place where you could clamp down on a temptation before it got a hold of your heart. You developed what we call a knee-jerk reaction to the temptation, a sort of motor reflex that allowed you to avoid sin –you’re your way of avoiding sin didn’t really include God, except to thank Him for giving you the strength to develop a knee-jerk habit that manages to relieve you of the burden of guilt you got when you sinned.

Now that the habits are firmly in place – you have no need of calling on God to help you through them, since your habits work well enough.

Think it through.

What you once hailed as a great victory over sin, is really, in practice, a great victory over a habit. You still want to sin, you just never let the bud grow up into sin. That is, you still have a fountain that coughs up sludge and guck, but whenever it does so your trained response kicks is so that it never grows up into anything yucky.

That works fine,… for a while,

But pretty soon you are willing to admit to yourself that you are no closer to fellowshipping with God now, than you were before. You still struggle with sin because while you have managed to cap off this problem, or that problem – the growth of sin in your life has just found expression elsewhere – and slowly, but surely, a sort of lethargic atrophy begins. Your prayer time becomes habitual, your devotion time becomes habitual – everything about your relationship with God is habitual.

The world begins to slowly, oh so slowly, charm you again. A little here, and a little there. You find yourself telling a little lie here or there, or joking a little more crudely than you used to. Perhaps you are not spending time with your children like you used to – or you are allowing yourself to indulge in a here-and-there fashion some former snare.

These are the thorns coming back into your life – and they are doing what thorns do – they are slowly choking out that life in you which at one time seemed to produce so much fruit, but now has become something of a barren vineyard.

Here is what you do to get out of that rut…

Repent again.

I know, it is pretty simple advice, but if this was written for you, then brother or sister here what the Lord has to say to you – repent! Six times in revelations we here this message from the Lord. Obey Christ again – root out the unbelief and disobedience in your life – not so that you can develop good habits in order to supplant a living faith relationship with your Lord and maker – but rather turn to God because there is life in Christ and you want it.

A gardener doesn’t fill the branch of a vine with grapes then suddenly cut the branch off now that it is bearing fruit – no, no, no. The branch needs to stay connected to the vine.

This is a bit of a paradigm for some Christians – but we must stay connected to the life of the vine. The reason we desire to be weeded, is not so that we can survive without the vine – but so that we can be fruitful. I am speaking in pictures here, but perhaps I should be clear.

Brother, sister – the only reason you should be avoiding sin is to promote growth – we sometimes miss the boat and try to avoid sin so that we either don’t need God, or don’t feel bad about offending God – not as an act of love for God, but out of a love for our own selves and our own assurance and peace of mind. Christianity is not supposed to be so selfish – one cannot love God when one is busy loving themselves.

That is where faith comes in. It is a wonderful thing to cut the anchor to self, and trust God – to commit yourself to the sea of His love and care – to obey because you want to be nearer to Him, rather obeying in order to avoid feeling bad about what a miserable shipwreck of a Christian you are.

The reason you feel so blah is because in the past when you were trying to obey, you found you believed you couldn’t do it without God – and the moment you had victory you no longer needed God, and set him aside. Not that you set him aside entirely, but you set him aside, as a tool is set aside. He had served the purpose for which you used him, at least in your own subconscious understanding – and after the momentary glow of appreciation wore off, you no longer clung to him like you used to. What does your heart say? Are the arrows finding a mark?

The thing is, it was your willingness to obey God that opened to doors to intimacy with God. I could say that biblically if you want – God gives grace to the humble. When you humbled yourself in obedience – seeking God with all your heart – you began to draw near to Him, and He to you. When you got what you came for, you stopped drawing near – satisfied as you were at that time with your accomplishments.

You are like a cordless drill, getting a charge, then letting that charge run down, and going back for another, and you are supposed to be a regular drill – plugged into the circuit directly and consistently.

My advice – repent, and obey God – but do it because you want to fellowship with Him, and not because you want to pacify Him concerning your sin. If you need to meditate on that do it – but don’t keep on flopping around like you do, it is wrong, and you don’t really like it anyway.
posted by Daniel @ 4:33 PM  
4 Comments:
  • At 12:35 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    So if I am the first to comment on this thread, then I guess it's me who was prophesied to?

    Now, who else? Come on now...

    Even So...

     
  • At 2:04 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    me me!

     
  • At 9:21 AM, April 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Amen!
    "repent, and obey God – but do it because you want to fellowship with Him"
    Sin (of the heart) separates us from God. My most wonderful times of fellowship with God always are times of repentance.
    Just as the priests in the Tabernacle always entered the Holy Place after passing the place of sacrifice then stopped to wash at the laver - I have learned I must also stop at the place of cleansing before entering into fellowship with God.
    That example makes the process of 'seeing and repenting of my sin' so much easier. So many Christians go to the place of Christ's sacrifice, but never stop again to 'wash' - just tromp in with unclean hands and feet and lips to the place of meeting with God.
    I did - for a long time. I'm grateful God is teaching me a better way. Not that I always remember it or do it. "The cares of the world..." are big weeds for me. Thanks for another great reminder - it's been a 'weedy' week.
    Eunice
    p.s. I find it interesting that in the blog world there is much debating of words - but posts that cut to the heart get very few comments.

     
  • At 10:50 AM, April 28, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I am sometimes disheartened when I post something that I think captures an important though - and no one comments. It makes me think that perhaps I really missed the point and everyone is too polite to say so.

     
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