From a Hunk of Metal to a Sword, Part II

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Adam, in his original state, was not a sword but just an untempered hunk of metal. He had to be hammered out in the fire and on the anvil of his wrong choices, like Moses, like Abraham, like Paul.

Is it my will that my children make wrong choices? No. In my father-feelings I want them to make right choices and undergo no suffering. If this feeling is given its head it is called “spoiling my children.” I will either let them off the hook or be a drill sergeant and make their choices for them. In such a case they stay like Adam and Eve, pre-Fall, as babies, expecting everything, learning nothing. But suffering induced through consequences for actions produces a good harvest in the end. Now, I’d rather my children always made right choices. But quite often some of the greatest pastors were some of the worst sinners.

Truth – Reality as defined by God in His multi-dimensional seeing – exists to our finite minds as paradox. Adam and Eve chose to disbelieve God (the first human sin). Their choices have worked out the predestined plan of God to purify a people who will trust Him and rely on His word no matter what.

Someone once wrote to me, “…my quest for righteousness has, to some degree, been for the purpose of pain avoidance rather than out of the wellspring of love for God.”

We all start that way. Quite often our conversion to Christ comes from a desire to avoid Hell. On the surface, in our soul-life, we may have some fear/unbelief issues somewhere that the Devil uses as a handle. He may get us to have mixed motives. But as we get more and more in contact with who we really are in Christ, and who He is in us, we see a love for God and neighbor begin to explode outward in and through us. That love is the implanted Christ in these human temples.

We’ve got to get past self-consciousness to see Him in ourselves. But in order to do that we have to “be no longer conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We do not think we need mind-renewal until all our old ways of coping begin to break down; our wrong choices begin to breed a multitude of bad consequences. When we finally cry out to God like the Israelites in the Babylonian captivity, that’s when mind renewal can begin. We don’t think we need it until we really see our desperate state, until we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Mind renewal is simply setting our minds in accordance with what God says about reality, regardless of what we feel or think about it. When we start doing that, we see that our “false motives” and all that are just a bunch of devilry designed to keep us in the old-man consciousness.

The sword is being heated and hammered into shape for Heaven’s use. But these human swords have a choice: Will we continually surrender to the Blacksmith? What will be the eternal cost of not surrendering? What will be the eternal reward of a consistent, total surrender? We are called to count the cost. Will we?

Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he’s not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin’ on audiences around the world, he’s taking care of his donkey named “Trash” and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.


7 Comments

  1. Nathanael

    Ron,
    Great follow-up, brother.
    You said, “But quite often some of the greatest pastors were some of the worst sinners.”

    In Luke 7.47, Jesus says, “But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

    And I think it is safe to expound on that quote and say, “He has been forgiven much (OH SO MUCH!) loves much.”

    Lord help!
    It’s His love that compels us to love as we are loved.
    We don’t change the way we live so God will love us. He loves us. And that changes the way we live…or at least it should.

    Shalom

  2. Tony from Pandora

    I forget who said, but it’s a good quote regarding admission of sin. “If your sin is small, your god is small. If your sins are big, then your God must be big”

  3. PaulH

    This and the one before remind of a Lewis Quote I just came across:
    “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

  4. becky

    ” We do not think we need mind-renewal until all our old ways of coping begin to break down; our wrong choices begin to breed a multitude of bad consequences.” This statement really hits me where I live. I’ve been experiencing a lot of break downs in the last few months. Some as a result of my poor choices, some not. I pray that the result will be a very real change in my thinking, and greater love for-and dependence on-Christ. Thanks for the reminder, Ron.

  5. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Becky,

    What has to go is our “I am an independent self who lives life with God’s help” sort of mindset. We have to come to the conclusion (by experience, not theoretically) that “apart from Me you can do nothing.” When we come there we are finally ready to listen to God’s way. As long as we are still in our independent thinking (the false self) we are still going to try every other way to do it on our own. This eventually induces a crash of some sort where we realize that in our own strength and ability we can do nothing, that every bit of any eternal good we do comes solely and completely from God operating through our humanity. That’s when we start being more consistently useful in the Kingdom. Doubtless God uses our even our failures, but once we see the fact of our total weakness and inability He begins to use us in a more positive and aggressive way – as a sword.

  6. Kevin Elias

    I recently had an amazing revelation in my personal journey. It seems like perfect logic now but I believe I was under the deception of most mainstream culture in which feelings are more important than what we believe and indeed are the driving force behind most peoples decisions; feelings in relationships wane and so people get divorced, being our brothers keeper is tedious and so we feel entitled to a tropical vacation, etc. I was listening to Andrew Wommack’s series on harnessing our emotions that I had downloaded and was extremely encouraged as he hammered out the point that our emotions are not the result of our circumstance but the result of what we THINK about our circumstances. He went on to say that when our minds are focused on the things of God and believing that he provides the strength for every situation we walk a much more stable and healthy life and our emotions follow the lead of our healthy and faith filled thoughts. Our feelings should never define who we are but rather we are what we believe.

  7. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Kevin,

    Our culture definitely fosters “if it feels good do it.” We too often let our feelings define reality. But that’s what mind renewal is all about – we let the Word determine what is real, and we hold to that determining no matter what happens. If I am in financial distress, I hold to Matthew 6 and Malachi 3. My feelings may be screaming out against the Word; I may feel fear, anxiety, pressure. But I continually state Reality as God sees it; “Your heavenly Father knows you have need of all this (food, shelter, clothing); seek Him first, and His righteousness, and all these shall be given to you as well.” I set my face like a flint; I tell the circumstance, and my thoughts and feelings about it, to go to Hell. Let God be true, and every man a liar.

    As C.S. Lewis said, courage is the form of every virtue at its testing point. Our feelings will be yelling at us; fear, not faith, will seem the reality. Impending financial doom will seem real. And so we are given the circumstance-material to make the naked choice. Is God a liar, or does He tell the truth?

    This principle stands in every temptation situation. If tempted to fear, hate, sexually lust, covet someone else’s goods, “Christ is my faith; Christ is my love; Christ is my purity; Christ is my portion.” We can take specific promises and apply them.

    That, and nothing less, is Christianity. It is a trust relationship with God that does not fly by feelings. That right there is the core of the Christian life, the center of it. Anything else is an outflow of that trust, that rest, that faith.

    But we put the cart before the horse. We read “20 Steps to Becoming a Better Christian” and do A, B, and C to improve ourselves.

    If we trust, abide, rest, faithe, everything else will fall into place. And that means going against how we feel in the moment if our feelings conflict with the stated Facts of the Word.

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