Living Light

Stirring The Deep


Hypocrisy vs Immature Spirits

Hypocrisy vs Immature Spirits


Hypocrisy, saying one thing and doing another, is one complaint I hear more than most about Christians.

In their brethrens defense, Christians often reply with a chuckle that is why they are in church, they need it!

Hypocrisy on any level shouldn’t be tolerated. Jesus didn’t tolerate it and neither should we among each other. (Matthew 23:28-29, Romans 12:9. James 3:17) Yet, I feel too often we overlook it. We will whisper behind Susie’s back about what she is doing and wonder how she can claim to be a “good Christian” . . . but to her face in private exhorting her in truth and love? We don’t see this accountability very often and possibly because of the fear of appearing self-righteous. It isn’t self-righteous it is love, and we should expect Susie to hold us accountable as well.

However, what I think happens more often than not is what non-believers are witnessing are immature spirits more so than hypocrisy. Immature spirits live mostly in their flesh lives and not of their spirits. And with the mistaken identity of “goodness” hanging over Christians’ heads when others see us not acting in the expected manner then we are called hypocrites. If we don’t claim to be good then we aren’t hypocrites. People misunderstand what authentic Christianity (not the copycat religion of Christianity of following rules, trying to be a good person, and following a strict code of behavior) means; we have to share with them the truth.

1. It is a huge fallacy that being a Christian means you are good. Conversely, it means you realize you aren’t good and never will be and therefore need the goodness of Christ so you can intimately abide in the presence of a Holy God.

2.  Authentic Christianity entails becoming a new creation by having a new spirit born within and from that spirit true life blossoms. The new spirit is born small and needs proper nourishment to grow and mature. When the new spirit grows then it desires to do the will of God. It isn’t a forced obedience but a natural desire. However, because the new spirit co-exists with our old, we will never perfectly do the will of God that is faultless and good, but hopefully we become more inline with it.

3. Christianity isn’t a performance based religion of good works like every other religion. It is a union with God that is made possible when we become a living spirit as He is spirit. The world and religious Christianity imposes rules and behaviors on us, but true Christianity isn’t about rules but being connected to God, us in Him and Him in us. As a result, good things may come from us, but is has nothing to do with us. It is the fruit of God’s Spirit flowing through us because we are connected to Him.

4. This flowing fruit that comes as we surrender our will to His isn’t instant. It takes years of abiding in God’s truth, learning, growing. And even then our flesh is a strong contender to our spirits’ wills. In my experience to live as a new creation is a long process that I imagine will last a lifetime.

5. Authentic Christianity teaches people have no goodness of their own. No one is good but God. Matthew 19:17 The key to understanding this truth is how we define goodness and how God does is different. His goodness is defined by His omniscience, pure love and complete truth – three things no human has. Therefore only He is truly good. The rest of us have warped versions and ideas of goodness. Christians who praise, claim, or try to be good don’t get this truth. They have a copycat religion of because we can’t have our own goodness.

We, Christians, need to be comfortable with who we are and who we are not, and stop claiming, giving and accepting the praise from others that we are good. We all have a desire to be good that is why there are so many performance based religions but that desire is to draw us to God’s goodness not our own. We need to stop focusing on goodness like every other religion and put our energy into cultivating a relationship with God, what the gospel is all about.

Our response to the accusers shouldn’t be to excuse our brethren, but to say to you are right, hypocrisy is wrong and educate them on who we truly are – we aren’t about goodness we are about abiding in a relationship with God and if good flows from that then give credit where credit is due.

Psalm 71:16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.


God’s Workmanship, Not Ours

God’s Workmanship, Not Ours


One of the most difficult areas for me to learn to trust in God has been internal change. I am bit of a perfectionist . . . and when I don’t like something about myself I try my best to fix it. Before God became the center of my life, I was a slave to self-improvement. I tried endlessly to be a better and stronger person prompted from a past that left me passive, withdrawn, defensive and closed off.

I can fix me. How hard can it be? Isn’t that the one thing we do control? Isn’t that what the billion dollar industry of self-help is all about? In my stubbornness and impatience of wanting to be different right now, for years I carried the burden of trying to change and never sought God’s help. The uncertainty of His timing and if He would help at all was too great a risk. Sure, I would superficially ask for His help, but I continued to hold on to and trust my latest instant gratification scheme. We either trust Him or ourselves. Blindly, I opted for me because I didn’t know Him enough to trust Him.

As the years passed, I set out to know Him. Then one day the power of these verses drew me in and set me free from the endless unsuccessful attempts to inner transformations.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Psalm 29:1-2a Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. 2 Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;

God showed me how tightly I was holding onto my power to change and not attributing power to Him. He was the one to work in me and I needed to trust in His power to do so and stop trying to develop my own strength and glory. With this new awareness and finally admitting my efforts had been in vain, I vowed to stop. I started to sincerely ask for His help.

Surrendering to His timing and His methods wasn’t easy. It felt like letting go of a steering wheel going 60 miles an hour and trusting someone you can’t see to grab a hold. But I got rid of all my books, stopped trying to do it myself and let Him take the wheel. He probed into the depths of my soul and traversed places I didn’t know existed. He went to my core and worked outward. In time, I started to change for the first time, one layer at a time. My soul has become a fountain of praise for all the afflictions He has healed. Once I saw His work in a few areas it became easier to trust Him with the rest.

We, the problem, can’t fix ourselves because we are the problem. We can masquerade temporary alterations, but true change is only possible by someone outside ourselves who is bigger and more powerful working in us. We go to the symptoms and God goes to the core, a core whose details we are rarely consciously aware of until He shows us. With new awareness, I stepped aside and started giving God strength in my life by believing He would and could work in me in all areas. That journey set me on the path to freedom and continues today.

I still have to remind myself when things come up to leave the work to Him. And today I write to remind myself to let go. He works in me. It is His job. Mine is to trust in His work, rest in His promises, follow Him His lead, surrender to His timing and be still and know He is MY God.

God loves us more than we can comprehend. He doesn’t want us trapped in afflictions and states of mind that bind us. Afflictions are to motivate us to search for Him and His ways that are perfect in love and truth and set us free. He wants us to be free, healthy and thriving. But He is the one to take us there. He is the only one who can. I have pushed, tried and work long and hard enough to know my efforts are fruitless and in vain.


The Father Connection

The Father Connection


From personal experience and from a multitude of conversations, I see a very strong correlation between the type of relationship we have or had with our earthly father and the type of relationship we have with God . . . initially.

Unfortunately, many of our dads have given us negative ideas of what a father is: selfish, controlling, neglectful, abusive, overbearing, pushover, passive, and tyrannical. These poor images are often obstacles to overcome when we are seeking the truth of the character of God. Our dads’ traits create a framework of what a father means to us. Initially, we place that structure onto God, good or bad.

If your dad abandoned you, you believe God will leave you, if he was difficult to please, you think God is never satisfied, if he was distant, God seems inaccessible, if he gave conditional love, God will withdraw His love, if he was judgmental, God is seen as critical, and if he rejected you, you believe God will. On the other hand, if your dad gave you security, God is secure, if he protected you, God is your shelter, if he gave unreserved love, God gives unconditionally, if he was accepting, God will receive you no matter what, and if he was involved, God is too. Our challenge is to seek who God truly is and not what our particular experience of a dad dictates.

Whether we call him dad, daddy, pop, pops, poppa, father, sir or nothing because he wasn’t there, we all have dads who made a tremendous impact on how we view God. To understand that our natural inclination is to put our dad-filter onto God is the first step in learning the truth about Him. Without this self-reflection, we walk around unknowingly believing misconceptions about God. We will relate to Him not as He is but as our filter dictates. Our beliefs are everything and therefore it is important to abide in the Word to get to know Him as He is. It is essential to our lives, because God is life, to remove our old dusty filters and replace it with the pure, true reality.

John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Understanding and acknowledging the impact that our dads have on our perception of God helps us to move closer to understanding who He is and therefore gain the relationship we were meant to have with Him. His intimate presence in our lives is His desire for us and to realize that most us have misunderstood who He is as a father is a monumental step to a fulfilling that purpose.

I have an amazing father. I am very blessed because he instilled in me trust, security, mercy, and love, which made it easier for me to believe and accept these traits in my relationship with God. However, it doesn’t require a good dad to be intimate with God. I have friends whose fathers were distant and negligent and God has filled a very special void in their lives creating an incredible bond. We didn’t choose our fathers. God chose them for us regardless of how they were to draw us to Him.

Me and My Dad

Me and My Dad

The intense hunger for an idyllic dad was placed in us by God to be ultimately for Him. Therefore, we are to seek Him to fill this role because He is the only One who can. If we continue to look to our earthly dads to fulfill it or have suppressed the desire out of continued disappointment we will never find what our souls hunger for. God created us with this yearning that we might grope for Him.

Just realizing this connection doesn’t change it but it is an essential step because it puts our hearts in a seeking mode. We have to personally dive into God’s Word and learn who He is. Our heavenly Father far surpasses any concept we have a dad and He wants to reveal this side of Himself to each one of us in a personal way. As always, our part is to seek.

Take a piece of paper divide it into two columns. Write down all the characteristics of your earthly father. On the other side write down all the characteristics you currently believe about God and be honest. Don’t write what you have heard, write what you believe. How does He respond when you do something good? How does He respond when you do something bad? What does He think about you? And so on.

Then start seeking out who God truly is in the Word. Write down the verses where He is telling you who He is as your perfect eternal Father. Try not to filter but come with an open heart to know Him as He is. If we seek, we will find.


Living Free Because of Christ

Living Free Because of Christ


In Ginny Owens’ song Free, she sings we have been made free. Free in every way including free to dance without concern or worry because of God’s great love toward us. Yet, how many of us experience this light heartedness on a daily basis that moves us to dance before our Lord like King David? 2 Samuel 6:14 “Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.”

Jesus Christ came to set us free. Isaiah 61:1 Not only did He bring freedom from the bondage of sin and its penalty of death, but also He brought it to every area of our lives. Freedom from troubles, afflictions and fears. Psalm 34:4, 17, 19  Freedom from worry, anxiety, and concern. Matthew 6:25-34  Freedom from proving, earning, and striving for internal wholeness. Colossians 2:10 And so on.

The freest people in the world are those who are completely surrendered to God. Sounds like a paradox, but I have found it true in my life. When we believe, trust and live by the ways of God we experience freedom for our souls. It is God’s design. We follow Him and we live free. All this world offers puts us in bondage in one way or another because it is counter to the ways of God. Only living in God’s truth do we experience true freedom. Most believe the opposite is true. That He binds us to rules and regulations. But this is not the God I have met.

Take a glimpse at what God does for us:

Changes our circumstances to help us
Moves the minds and hearts of others in our favor
Gives us purpose, value, meaning
Opens doors, closes doors
Heals us, blesses us
Renews our minds to what is true and real
Gives us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind
Fills us with His love to pour into others
Delivers us from poor decisions
Gives us mercy for our foolishness, gives us what we don’t deserve
Defends, protects, and delivers from the evil plans of others
Makes our paths smooth
Fights for us
Gives us insight, direction, counsel
Provides for our needs internal and external

As for His rules, they all boil down to love. True love doesn’t bind, but frees. Oppressive rules and regulations come from man’s ill attempt to speak and work on God’s behalf to control others.

There is nothing God won’t do to bring about good in our lives if we seek, ask and trust. Psalm 84:11 God is in control of everything, therefore there is no limit to what He can do for us in any given circumstance. Tremendous freedoms come when we aren’t limited to ourselves or others but have God on our side working for us.

The main hindrance to living free outside of lack of knowledge is trust. Trust is the result of continually seeking Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is born out of an intimate relationship with Him; a relationship that requires time, attention and devotion to nurture. When I feel the weight of a chain wrapped around my ankle keeping me from dancing, I know it is because of lack of trust. God is on my side. What do I have to fear or be worried about? Is His love to small or His power to weak? The truth is in my mind but it has yet to fully become my truth, because when it is mine I am free.

My husband said trust is like a light shining into our souls that extinguishes fear. Trust and fear can’t coexist at any one time and fear is the core emotion that keeps most of us from dancing. Because we have lived for years in a reactive mindset of fear, it is easy for this habitual response to take over.  Though it may sneak in we no longer have to succumb to it.

Our response to its invasion? Abide in His truth. As we continue to fill our minds with His Word we will start to think and respond differently. For seven years, I have been intimately seeking God in His Word. He has dispelled many fears, worries, and afflictions. What lingers is a remnant of what once was. Though fears still creep in they are fewer in number and less powerful than they use to be. I have found the path to freedom to conqueror what remains – abiding in His presence in His Word.

For believers, fear is an illusion. The truth is we are in the palm of a mighty, powerful God who loves us beyond measure. He desires to show Himself strong to those who are loyal to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:7 He desires for you and me to know Him as God in our lives. He wants to show Himself to us, but He wants us to seek Him with all our heart, soul and mind. When we seek our trust will grow, His promises will manifest in our lives, and we will dance with all our might because we are living free in the arms of a mighty loving God.

2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.