Lifestyle

When Women Rule Us Astray

When women rule us astray
In Isaiah 3:1-15 God laments over his people of Jerusalem and Judah because of their disobedient condition and the public parading of their sin. Their behavior reminds us a lot of the condition the whole world is in today. Verse 12 may sound particularly shocking for our modern ears. God then saw women in ruling position not as the sign of blessing, but as an expression of his judgment over his people.

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Women’s March, Versailles Wikimedia Commons

In our modern world, about 22 countries live under the rule of women. Countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Senegal, South Korea or Bangladesh have a female president, Prime Minister or Chancellor. What is God’s perspective when he looks on 22 countries ruled by women? God is the one who establishes governing authorities; he changes time and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He knows exactly what he is doing, he has a hand in who rules today. Is God sending his judgment over nations by instituting women to rule them?

The democratic majority disagrees with God
Most of us have heard the femininists view point on the rulership of women. Lately, even Christian women (and men!) are more and more siding along with femininistic thought patterns on this topic, typically quoting Bible verses completely out of its context and its culture to make their unbiblical points. Most of those in politics (and specifically those who wish to be politically correct!) as well as those in positions of power have one thing in common, true to Psalm 2: They take their stand against the Lord, trying to break his chains and throw off his fetters. Their battle cry is to defy God’s order of life, and make disobedience against God the new binding law. Most of us have also put in our own two cents about women as rulers, leaders, and in headship positions. But at the end of the day, all these debates, opinions, and wishes are just human’s view. What counts is how does God see it. What is God’s view on this? The Bible tells us the story of two foreign women (Jezebel and her daughter Athaliah) who pushed themselves forward to rule Israel. Their story did not end well. In the Bible, there is not a single instance that an Israelite woman ruled over Israel. Headship simply was male, just like God ordered it in the very beginning. Why chance for worse what God has ordered beautifully?

Deborah was a mother, not a ruler
Some may argue that Deborah was a ruler. But how can she be a ruler (or a king) when it says four times in the Book of Judges that “Israel had no king, everyone did as he saw fit.” Deborah was one who did not do as she saw fit. She was not a disobedient rebel. She aligned herself to do what was fitting with her God! Listen to what she says about herself in Jdg 5:6-7: “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the roads were abandoned; travelers took to winding paths. Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel.” She does not perceive herself as a  ruler, not even as a leader, but as a mother! She was someone who sat under her palm tree where the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided because she could hear God as a prophetess and because she did what fit God, and not what fit man. Today, we fit to whatever the majority shouts loud; we enter whatever gate is broad and wide. Who, in today’s cacophony of opinionated and angry voices, seriously bothers to care for the view that God has? Read more on this in my book, “The King’s Woman”

Hosts are not leaders
Some naively believe that women held leadership positions in the early church, misunderstanding the term “hosting” to mean leadership. To host means to open up your house for others to meet. Paul and Peter met with the brothers at Lydia’s home, (Acts 16:40). Pricilla and Aquilla opened up their homes for the church to meet (Rom 16: 3-5). A house church gathered in Chloe’s household, (1Cor 1:11). Nympha hosted the church at her house (Col 4:15) These women might have had big houses where many could come together and hang out for a whole day or more. Paul greets the very hard working women Persis, Tyyphena and Tyrphos. (Now, hard work could mean all sorts of things: preaching and teaching, as well as getting the house ready to host many people which involves: fill up the water pitchers to wash the dusty feet before entering the house, prepare and cook large amounts of meal, hand wash piles of dishes, broom and mop the house after everyone leaves, hand wash the mats and blankets that people might have used.) When Paul writes: Greet Mary, who worked hard for you, (Rom 16:6) it does not mean Mary was a leader, having a headship position. No, it just means that Mary just willed to work hard for the people.

Men of the Kingdom created a safe place for women
Women were easily exposed to vulnerability in those ancient days; this is true even today in many parts of the world. Jesus broke this standard when he was on earth. Jesus deliberately made space for women, crossing every cultural and traditional barrier. Women were welcomed and were safe in his presence. The three Marys, Martha, Joanna, Susanna and many other women supported Jesus and his disciples. Paul greets a number of women in his letters who were all involved some way or the other in the cause of the gospel. He considers them as mothers, sisters, co-laborers in the Lord. Julia and the unnamed sister of Nereus, the unnamed mother of Rufus, Pricilla, the unnamed women of Philippi, who contented at Paul’s side together with Clement and other fellow-workers, Lois and Eunice (Timothy’s mother and grandmother) who were credited for their sincere faith. Paul commends Phoebe, who served helping many in the church. The Kingdom that Jesus came to establish was an upside-down Kingdom, overthrowing the parading, the culture and the legalization of sin and turned things back to God’s standards. What Jesus did and later on Paul – the men of the Kingdom! – did to the women of their times was remarkable. All these women mentioned could play a role because Paul made space for them. He created a safe and healthy environment for them to use their material resources, gifts, and talents. Alone, by themselves, these women could not have achieved this. Women were present alongside these men – and they flourished! Jesus and Paul created this environment in a culture, tradition, and customs that otherwise lived very differently. We should not therefore twist history and read into it what we want it to be today, specifically that women were in headship positions, and that this was somehow a sign of God’s blessing. The exact opposite is true. Or where, in the Bible, did God change his opinion on this? If we want to be fair to God and the very clear creational order that he has established about headship from the very beginning, we should stop twisting his words in his mouth.

Will the real men stand up, please?
An absolutely surrendered man, a man who stays submitted under the authority of God is able to create a safe place of total surrender to God for women too. Jesus stayed submitted to God until his death. Paul speaks of his ultimate surrender in Gal 2:20 with these words: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Under a healthy male headship, women can find their space, they can be safe, they can be part of the bigger picture, use their gifts, share their material resources and so on. Until we want to go as far as to brutalize scripture, there is no way we can twist things to mean that women were having headship (leadership) roles in the Bible and conclude that we all therefore need to shift away from what God had beautifully already ordered in the very beginning.

Today we see women leading protest marches in support of women’s rights, including the right to kill unborn babies. They stand up for LGBTQ rights, racial justice, freedom of religion, immigration and health care reform, the protection of the natural environment and workers’ rights. What does this really mean? It only shows that they have not found a safe place yet! It only shows that there are no real men who can lead and give headship for these women! So many women naively conclude, completely outside of God’s Kingdom framework : Let us take matters in our own hands, let us rule!

Could this be anything else than a judgment of God as it is stated in Is 3:12? “Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.”

What are we to do, therefore? For men and woman alike: Your hiding place, your safety is only in Jesus, your King and Bridegroom. Run to him, surrender absolutely, submit and fall into his loving embrace.

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God is non-stop awesome overwhelming adventure

It was in the mid-90s. By now we had been traveling in and out of India for almost six years. And we had been living there with our family of five, for almost another two more years. Our youngest was born in India during this time. These were the beginning days of the house church movement in India (1991-98). After practicing, modeling and preaching, “Houses that Change the World” by Wolfgang Simson was written exactly 20 years ago in India, and two years later it was published as a draft copy in India. Not many in the West were familiar with this movement then, and therefore not many in the West acknowledged the house church movement that began in India in the early 90’s. The movement quickly started to explode and we felt that our presence is no longer needed there. So, we moved back to Europe in the Summer of 1998.

When we came back to the Western World, like most good Christian parents, we were looking for a community where our children (then 6, 4 and 1 years old) could get some sort of spiritual food to grow. House Church was a new kid in the European block then. Because of the lack of understanding and existence of house church, we took our children to different Sunday church services to see which one has the best children’s program. After attending the third church, which was known in the region for its best family oriented program, we were driving back home. Our very young children had been in the children’s service while we had been in the adult service. So, curiously I asked the kids, “How was it?”

There was no answer from the back seats of the car for a few seconds. Suddenly, our oldest one (6 years old then) answered plainly, “Church is soooooo boring!” The “so” sounded much longer than the rest of the words put together in that sentence. My brain quickly started to calculate the spiritual impact. Church is boring: which means – God is in the church, that equals: God is boring! That thought slowly turned my spine from cold to icy cold from the top to the bottom, while driving. God cannot be boring! God is nonstop amazing, awesome, and an overwhelming adventure! (After all we are missionaries, you see.) If a 6 year old child can’t experience that kind of God in a church, then the best thing to do is: Stop going to boring Sunday churches altogether. That’s what we did. Our children did not grow up in a Sunday church club culture for the last 18 years. Yet, in spite of all the ups and downs of life, they all love Jesus and try to live him in their daily lives.

God does not attend a church for 1 hour and 30 minutes on a Sunday like we do. God dwells among his people. And where are his people? In their homes. This is where they live. So God dwells in the homes of his people every day, every hour, every minute and every second. So we began a lifestyle at home with God, (Did you hear me say lifestyle?  not a program, a ritual, a habit culture or a tradition – lifestyle.) God should become our lifestyle. We as parents tried to model this to our kids in our bumpy roads of everyday life. Quickly, for our young children, God became tangible.

For example: We were once hurrying to catch the last car shuttle train to get to a place which was otherwise not easily accessible by road. Outside was cold and dark. We drove nervously around the curvy Swiss Alpine roads to reach the train station on time. (If the Swiss departure time is 6:28, the train leaves at 6:28 punctually!) 2 minutes to departure and we still have at least another 10 minutes of drive in the winding alpine road. My faith was slowly fading away. I stopped worrying about catching the train and started to worry about where to find a room for five at this hour in this remote place. Our youngest who was then 3 years old realized the parents anxiety and he prayed a simple prayer: “Jesus, keep the train waiting for us.” That was the last thing he said for that day and then he fell asleep for the rest of the ride. In my nervousness, I did not take his prayer seriously! I just wanted to catch the train and get to that otherwise inaccessible place. After my faith had vanished, we finally arrived at the car shuttle train station a full 15 minutes after the departure time, knowing very well that the train had left punctually at a Swiss timing. Believe it or not, the car shuttle train was still waiting there at the station and we just drove into the train with the car and it left! Jesus kept the Swiss train waiting for us! God is real to our 3 year old! How? His parents modeled it for him before. Even at times when the parents had no faith, the children’s faith saved the family.

Live God, especially when you are upset, when you have an argument with your spouse, when you can’t love, when you can’t give, model him in everything you do. God created us in his image and in his likeness. Therefore it should be easy to reflect his image and likeness in our everyday lives. I believe it is much more difficult to reflect something which we are not created after. For example, unholiness, hate, rage, lies, gossip, jealousy, greed and more. We are not created after such wickedness. Why do we practice and model these in front of our children, family, friends and enemies? God dwelt among the people of Israel. He still wants to dwell today among his people. Christ dwells in our hearts, (not in a four-walled church building) through faith (Eph 3:17), Live always the Christ (the anointed King) who dwells in you.

Yes, if we parents don’t practice and model Christ, the environment that our children grow in, will model it differently, and that may not end in favor of you parents. First practice and model, then teach. Model purity, then teach them purity. Model generosity, then teach them generosity. Model selflessness, then teach them selflessness. Save your children, teach them the ways by modeling, so they may walk in it. Model the Way, the Truth and the Life and they will choose right, and stay away from foolishness.

I heard a humorous saying some time ago:  “Before you go out to change the world, go change your own underwear.”It is true, remove that dirt, that smelly thing, unload those unnecessary heavy burdens of religion, rituals, traditions, habits, culture and more. Then take a deep breath of fresh air and enter Kingdom. The King said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Let go of man-made yokes that are burdensome, yield yourselves to yoke with Jesus. It will relieve you and you will find the promised rest in his Kingdom under his Kingship.

Oh yes, 2017 can come! Wishing you all a hopeful new year 2017!

 

Blessed Fruitfulness (Part 2)

This is the continuation of “Leafy Christianity”

If you remain in me and my words remain in you,

ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

Many times we wish things, while being disconnected from him, and expect the results that are for the privileged – only for those who remain in him. We expect God to bless us, while we disobey his commands and do not respect his boundaries. We think everything is fine with us, God somehow has to do it! Whatever “it” is. God may say, grow within the way I mold you and direct you, and you will be a fruitful harvest, a blessing to many! You are blessed if others are blessed through you. This is what fruitfulness does.

Well then, how to remain in Jesus?

It starts with love. It does not start with Bible knowledge or theological debates about what is correct in Latin and Greek and how much Hebrew you know and how well you can formulate your speeches.

As the Father has loved me,

so have I loved you.

Now remain in my love.

And how do we remain in Jesus’ love?

Yes, he has answered this question more than two thousand years ago. But we have not preached it in our churches. We have simply omitted the core of greatest importance. Jesus says, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love,” (Jn 15:10) Think about it: when was the last time you have heard a sermon on “obedience to the commands of Jesus” from your pastor? I guess, he will be fired by his own church members before he would have even finished such a sermon! In a church that is fruitless, the one who comes to prune to make it fruitful for harvest is cut off. It’s too hard; it’s not our policy; what about our donors; and the church committee; we have not done like this before; our traditions! These churches just remain to be leaves, not fruit clusters. They like to suck all the energy and strength from the vine and look lush and lavish, but bear no fruit. The scary thing about them is that they will have all the characteristics of a vine plant and deceive others into believing that they are fruit bearing branches. They look alike, until you see the difference in how they love others and keep the commands of Jesus. To love your neighbor is to lay down your life for your neighbor. Jesus has already modeled it for us. As he has loved us, so should we love others. He calls those who obey his commands friends! He welcomes them into his exquisite club!

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Greater love has no one than this,

that he lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command.pruned

To remain in the Vine begins with selfless love, obedience to Jesus’ commands, which in turn will guide you and shape you into a pruned branch that bears much fruit. Remember, to remain in him is to be pruned daily, to bear fruit. No fruitful blessing without pruning. There is no other alternative or a shorter route to this. I have watched the farmers cut off up to 70% of the growth in the vineyards in the hilly slopes of my village, for a fruitful harvest. This happens every year, around the year. Just 30% of the plant is all the farmers need to see it bear fruit. That 70% can harm the 30% fruit-bearing potential within you. They are just energy suckers: ego, pride, jealousy, greed, lies, hate, anger… cut them off, you don’t need them in your lives. They produce disease and death. It destroys your life and others’.

What unnecessary 70% needs to be removed from your life to love others like Jesus laid his life for you? What dead woods (deeds) keep you from obeying the commands of Jesus? Would you allow Jesus to come to you with his pruning scissors to shape and guide you as he wants you to be – fruitful.

Leafy Christianity (Part 1)

I live in a small hilly village whose slopes are filled with vineyards. I take my evening walks among the vines and marvel at the work the farmers do there. Growing vine is a year round work. I have watched how the farmers carefully plant the vine, care for it, kill the weeds around the young plant and tenderly grow it. They let the new canes spread on the constructed wires. Then comes winter and most of the growth is cut off except for two or three dead looking leafless twigs. And I have wondered how they are going to survive the cold and the frost.

As Spring and Summer come again, miraculously these dead looking twigs grow buds and life kicks in. The farmers carefully select the potential canes and remove every other extra shoots and even fruit clusters because they first want the vines to grow strong roots and trunk. Again in Winter, the canes are cut back. As the trunk gets strong and firmly rooted, new growth happens once again next Spring. The farmer watches every little bud grow into a branch and decides whether he removes it or lets it remain.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener,” said Jesus.  

And what does the gardener do to his vines?

He prunes them to see them bear fruit.

Jesus is the true vine, rooted firmly in his Father he said, “I do nothing on my own, but speak just what the Father has taught me” (Jn 8:28). Jesus came to do the will of his Father; not his own will. He remained in his Father and was one with him.

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you.

No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. 

Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

 I am the vine; you are the branches.

 If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;

apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:4,5).

I have watched what the farmers do to the branches that want to grow in their own ways, stretching out long twigs and bearing many leaves but do not have any fruit cluster in them. They are mercilessly cut away from the vine, collected and burned in fire. Whereas, those that bear fruit are pruned. They are carefully down-sized in their growth. So the energy from the vine can go into bearing fruits and not be sucked away by the many leaves.

You can easily differentiate between those who bear fruit and those who don’t by just looking at how their lives are pruned. Pruning is not a one-time experience. It happens daily. Pruning scissors come in many forms: lack of financesleafy-vine, rebelling teenagers, unanswered prayers, people lying about you, and so on. All these test how you come out bearing godly fruits, how you can still love your unlovable teenager, and how patiently you trust God while your bills are still unpaid and reminders keep coming. Every situation exposes that which needs to be cut-off from within us. The reason for pruning is to bear fruit and be more fruitful!

Pruning is nothing else than shaping and guiding how the branches should grow. Pruning is the removal of unnecessary growth within us. And we do have a lot of unnecessary things in us, like ego, pride, hate, jealousy, greed, lies, hypocrisy, double standard life, a private and a public life, cheating, cursing, deceiving and more. These are the dead wood that bring death to oneself and others around them. It destroys life, not produces life. They are dead because they are disconnected from the main Vine; they do not receive life from the main Vine. Death has to be removed and buried.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,

while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes

so that it will be even more fruitful, (Jn 15:2).

It is just not good enough to be a branch that only bear vine leaves and suck away the energy that is supposed to go to those branches that bear fruit clusters. There are lots of leaf-bearing branches in God’s vineyard that suck the time and energy and every effort of those who bear fruit. When the gardener goes through his vineyard he will mark those “energy suckers” to be mercilessly cut off from the vine. To remain in Jesus is to be fruitful. Fruitfulness means multiplication, which leads to filling the earth. This is the original and true blessing of God. Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth.

Being successful, especially measured in the amount of wealth and splendor one has achieved, is not a blessing. That may be a payment of mammon. You work for mammon and he pays you with what is his. The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours” (Lk 4:5-7). Wealth can be a deception that mammon blinds you to believe a blessing. Wealth can make you greedy and can strangle you from not being a blessing to others. If that is true in your life, check out, you may be worshiping, serving a wrong god!

God’s blessing is always life-giving, birthing, being fruitful, multiplying and filling the earth with his presence and glory.

To be continued in “Blessed Fruitfulness” (Part 2)

God looks for oneness and he finds egos!

God looks for oneness and he finds egos!

The way we understand oneness and the way God means oneness are two different things.

Oneness is to leave behind individualism and self driven-ness, and to merge into each other as one entity. Father God and his Son function fused and glued in each other. Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, said Jesus in Jn 14:9. Jesus simply refused  to be an individual. It was not about his Self. My words are but my Father’s, he said in Jn12:49.  I do exactly what my Father has commanded me to do, Jn 14:13.

P.C modernhdwallpaper

P.C modernhdwallpaper

And he blended his disciples into the oneness that he had with his Father.  I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world… I gave them the words you gave me… I have given them your  word… I have given them the glory that you gave me… I have made you known to them… In a world full of egos and Selfies and self-promotions, I-me my-mine, how often do we stop to think for a second, why am I doing what I am doing? What is the driving force of my motives? Ego? Greed?

How did Jesus attain this oneness with the Father? He chose to voluntarily submit to his Father. He let go of his ego. Right before his horrible death, he agonized to his Father, “Take this cup from me, yet not what I will but what you will.” Submission to his death! What a model to follow as his disciples!

My woman-friend and I were serving another lady last week, casting demons out of her life. We have not served together before. We were quite surprised to see how we were flowing in one accord. It felt like we both flew with one set of wings, so to say. Where she left I continued and where I left she continued without any disruption in the flow for the next three and a half intense hours. We were one in our spirits, one in our mind and thoughts, with God and each other. Why? Because it did not matter who did what. It did not matter who has more authority in prayer and how much the devil shudders. All we did was to submit to God and each other and the devil could find nothing of him in us; all he had to do was to submit to the One in us. He saw no division within us, but oneness through submission to God and each other.

Oneness is not – be by myself as one person.

Ego, fear, envy and hate for others are the strongest enemies (demons) of oneness that God wants to see in his bride. Cast those out; they are nothing but just demons!

Life By Faith

Heb 11:1 Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

 Faith is a living thing. You can let it live in you or let it die. The way we live, the lifestyle that we practice gives breath to faith. Most of us are able to practice the first part of Heb 11:1 and all of us struggle with the second part. The first part is being sure about our hope, our dream, our desire, our expectation and our wish. Every one of us carries a ray of hope in us even if it were quite thin. Hope is a powerful indestructible weapon. That is why people (refugees and migrants) risk their lives crossing deadly seas in dangerous conditions. A small dream, a likely wish, an ambitious expectation or a necessary desire, can awaken the sleeping beast of hope within us and charge us to almost an eruptive state to stretch us to an unknown future that does not promise a good or a bad prospect.

 The second part of Heb 11:1 is about being certain, being sure, questionlessly convinced and having an undisturbed confidence as if we have tested it and have proved it real. The toughest part here is being certain of what we do not see, meaning, we have not seen it or tested it; we cannot prove it real. It is as if to say that there is a reality, of which, as of now I cannot show you any material evidence. The reality remains immaterial as long as I live by my physical senses, what my eyes can see, my nose can smell, my emotions can feel or my brain can understand.

 The nature of life by faith can be compared to the nature of walking on water. It is saying no to the substance of unbelief, which wants us to act only on what we can see, touch, smell and bunker in the bank. Many Christian believers have succumbed to the promises of Mammon, and have ended up not in God’s Promised Land, but somewhere where we never imagined we could end up, sitting with mammon in a very hot whirlpool for far too long. Mammon says, “Make deals, sign contracts, have insurances, job security, make double sure to seek first a firm employment and all its benefits, and then you can – in your spare time or after retirement – do something for the Kingdom of God.”

 Life by faith is to know, either God’s promises are true, or we drown. Even if it sometimes takes a long time – thanks Abraham and Sarah for living the example – God’s promises will come true. If not, we have died waiting for them, which is far better than dying without a thin ray of hope. Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ, not from hearing our own desires and dreams.

 Abraham was told to go to “the land I will show you”, not very clear or specific. And he set off. He lived in tents looking for the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. He heard God say, “go to the land I will show you” and he simply trusted God to be the city planner.

 According to the promise of God, Abraham’s wife Sarah, past the age of child bearing, bore him a son, Isaac. Abraham loved him. Some years later, God told him to sacrifice his only promised son. I cannot imagine the reactions of Abraham’s physical senses, his emotions, feelings, thousands of questions that raced his mind, and his own dreams and desires of his son growing into a young man. Early next morning Abraham left, he did not ask any questions. He only had answers.

 “Where is the lamb for the sacrifice, dad?”

“God will provide, my son”.

 Abraham stopped using his physical senses to perceive God. He understood that there is no material way of seeing the reality of the immaterial.

Should Christians Be Circumcised? Part 3

“I am God almighty, walk before me and be blameless.” To walk before God means to walk before no other, to stand before God means I cannot stand before any other. To serve God means to serve Him alone and not expect the applause, acceptance, appreciation and approval of man. This decision is the blade that cuts us from following the patterns of this world. If we still were part of this world we would be worrying about such things and would be doing our best to please man – and miss God.

When a baby leaves the 9 months of comfort, safety, provision and care and enters into the real world what happens first? The cord is cut around off the placenta; the very cord that gave life for those 9 months of growth. Why would any doctor with a sound mind do that? Does he not know that this is the life giving cord? Yes, he knows that and in fact he knows that this very cord of life will become the cord of death if not cut. The very thing that sustains life to a baby will be the very thing killing it once it is out of the womb.

Picture a grown man with his umbilical cord still attached to his mother to sustain his life. Isn’t it awkward? And yet the Church exhibits that picture! The household of God cannot let go of the “onions and the garlic”. Nu 11:5-6 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna! We want the Kingdom, but we can’t let go of the world and the protection and security that it gives. Seek ye first a secured employment, a financial security, safe neighborhood, cool friends, and then if you have some energy left, debate and argue your own opinions about the Kingdom of God and block it from expanding, if possible. This is how we have understood Mt.6:33! The world in us that we so strongly rely upon to give us security, comfort, safety and identity is the very thing that strangles and suffocates the life that God wants us to have. This is surely putting confidence in the flesh and not learning to live by the Spirit. We live by calculation – not by faith. Phil 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh. The household of God is not there yet, but behaves as if it is.

Many of us want to experience the resurrection but are unwilling to pay the price of suffering and death. There is no resurrection without death. There is no born again life unless we are dead to our self-driven and self-fulfilling lives. Col 3:1-3 set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”. Only the dead can be hidden not those who still breath. No one wants to be dead; it is the most unnatural thing to want to be cut off from the land of the living and hidden. But it is the way of the cross, the way of being circumcised with the circumcision done by Christ. Christ is the place to live in, to be rooted, built up and strengthened.

We live in human traditions, and basic principles of the world, following its ways and affairs, believing it to sustain our lives. If we not cut away from this, the very sustenance will suffocate us from living a life that calls to walk before God and no other; to serve God and not please man. “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be blameless”.

Click here to go to Part 1