Just a Label
The Real Deal
Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
There is a sad epidemic in our nation, the “Christian” image. It’s one of the greatest distractions/deceptions to prohibiting people from truly seeking God as He is. For those on the outside, they see the masquerade and turn away not only from it but from God as well. For those on the inside and a part of it, they think it’s life (as they have been taught), yet fail to enter into the kingdom of God. Thus, many are living a deprived and unfilled life and believe that is the life Christ came to give them. They’ve never entered into the true kingdom because they believe what they’ve been told; that they’ve already entered.
For years, I lived this image. However, bound in the deception of it, I didn’t know I was living the image. I thought I was the real deal. So I didn’t seek any further. Yet, my life was a miserable mud-pit (of which I had no idea the extent of until I started experiencing true life). In my deception, I actually thought my mud-pit was pretty good. See how Satan keeps us in bondage?
On the outside, I looked like a follower of God, but I was a follower of self. Even in regards to my “religion”. I did and trusted what I had been taught by religious leaders, not God. Therefore, I couldn’t trust God because I never spent time with God to really know Him to trust Him. I spent time with religious people. I knew them and what they taught, so it was in them that I trusted – in the name of God. I didn’t realize this was the case until I was taught by God and “saw” the difference. It’s a HUGE difference, creating a HUGE chasm between living an image and true life in Christ. Mark 7:6-7
Spirit teaches spirit. It’s through revelation of the Holy Spirit that we gain truth and learn who God is so we can trust Him. When Peter said Jesus was the Christ, Jesus told him that he didn’t learn this from a person but the Holy Spirit. It was by this method of revelation that Christ would build His true Church. Matthew 16:17-18 We truly come to know God by being taught about God from the Holy Spirit. It’s not by flesh and blood that we learn. That is why it’s impossible to explain spiritual truths to someone without the spirit. They’ll never get it. But when you talk to someone who has also been taught by God they get it.
We learn about God from God because it fosters intimacy and love as God desires; just as you learn most about your spouse from your spouse. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, is given to us to teach us all things, especially about Him. We only know God when we seek Him one-on-one being grounded in the Bible and taught by the Holy Spirit. Those bound by this “image” have never diligently sought God trusting the Holy Spirit to reveal and teach them the truth of God and His ways. Instead they’ve relied on a person to show them.
So, what does this Christian image entail … well a lot of things, like going to church, tithing to the church, not saying certain things because you shouldn’t, being under the “authority” of your church leaders, living a certain “lifestyle” in accordance to the church, speaking the church lingo, helping out at the church, helping the church system to prosper, and leading others to come to church. When you really look at this… it is all about the church, not God.
Finally, as I mentioned in a previous post, one of the defining elements of this image is that there is no real need to seek God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength because you’ve already arrived. Sure, you can always learn more, but no big deal, leave that up to the pastors to learn then regurgitate back to you. Luke 16:14-15 (This belief often isn’t said blatantly, but it’s said clearly.) Yet, this seeking is the one thing that leads you to truly trust, surrender and move into the abundant life Christ came to give.
This “image” is one of the most deceptive works out there because once you think you’ve found you stop seeking. People come to a church say “the sinner’s prayer” and are “encouraged” by others to get involved in all kings of activities. When people are busy doing these “wonderful” acts and receiving praise for them, they feel good about themselves and think something has changed, when it has all been self induced.
Now this message may seem “tough” to some of you. But this image is spoken of throughout the Bible. Psalm 50:21, Revelation 13, Matthew 23:27, Isaiah 29:13 People are living one way claiming they are of God, but in their hearts they are still lord. Their trust is in what they think is best and that is being a good Christian. They don’t diligently seek God’s will daily to follow His voice, not some person’s. Here is the catch; you won’t see this masquerade in your own life because you are in deception until you seek God and the light of truth floods your soul. So you may think this isn’t you as I did; but if you truly seek and you will find. So bottom line regardless, is seek God in truth trusting the Holy Spirit to teach you all things. God wants us to be real with Him and in a real relationship. He has so much to give us if we will draw near in TRUTH and SPIRIT.
So what does a true Christian look like?
There is no image. And eventually you lose all labels, and you are who you are as a child of God, of which we all are. This realization comes as we seek God and all He is with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and are taught by Him. John 6:45 When we have a single focus to do the will of God, not the will of man in the name of God. Matthew 21:31 Therefore we can look like a lot of things because God’s ways aren’t our ways.
February 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm
Rachel! You are writing my story! If He hadn’t taken pity on my true desire to know Him I would still be there, wondering vaguely, “Is this really all there is?”
When you really look at this… it is all about the church, not God.
And what a pity, because the church, the gathering of the saints, the ekklesia, is supposed to be all about Jesus. We are supposed to be His image and we’re settling for being remade into the image of corruptible man.
He is so much greater, more glorious, more tender and loving and merciful and mighty than the world could ever suspect, but they’re supposed to see that in us (not just in me or you, but in US, the church). And we show them a pitiable caricature and they actually believe that’s who He is. No wonder they want nothing to do with our religion. It’s like all other religions. Thank God for our Jesus who supersedes all religious duty and brings us into the true light of oneness with Him and with each other. 🙂 😀
February 7, 2011 at 11:41 pm
Hi Cindy – what you said I feel too — it has become like other religions — when Jesus Christ wasn’t about religion but a relationship. And love your last statement – Thanks so much for sharing.
February 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm
“They’ve never entered into the true kingdom because they believe what they’ve been told; that they’ve already entered.”
Such a good statement. So true, many have there identity inside the church walls.
“This “image” is one of the most deceptive works out there because once you think you’ve found you stop seeking. People come to a church say “the sinner’s prayer” and are “encouraged” by others to get involved in all kings of activities. When people are busy doing these “wonderful” acts and receiving praise for them, they feel good about themselves and think something has changed, when it has all been self induced. ”
You nailed it. My wife and I realized that our church friends were just that…church friends. Nothing outside the walls is genuine relationships…in most cases. It like to going the gym to work out. Everyone is there to do the same thing. You meet some folks, build a relationship that is geared around the gym, but anything outside the gym does not exist.
February 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm
Hi Mike – thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. 🙂
February 8, 2011 at 1:06 am
Dang it. I had a blog post on this very topic in my “draft” section, but had neglected to cultivate it further And now here you are posting this brilliantly written piece about Matthew 7. (grumble-grumble…) I reckon it is true that ‘he who hesitates is lost’. I shouldn’t have hesitated.
Anyhoos, you nailed it, again. (I meant to ask you: Do you receive private emails from people who read your blog telling you that you are arrogant, condescending, and so sure that you ‘have arrived’?)
Always my pleasure to stop by here and see what you’re cooking in The Spirit. Good stuff.
February 9, 2011 at 5:03 am
Hi Project Mathetes — I would like to hear your thoughts on it – I think there is value in looking at one issue from several perspectives even if they are similiar — go ahead and post it 🙂 no I don’t … why do you ask?
February 8, 2011 at 8:56 am
Once again you’ve hit it in one, Rachel…..Based on what flows down & out from the “top” I pray this message finds it’s way into the hearts & minds of the leaders of these institutions and that they would allow the Holy Spirit to convict them and deliver them.
February 9, 2011 at 5:00 am
Hi Roger — I appreciate your encouragement. It’s an important message for all to consider.
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February 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm
Rachel, I don’t understand why there is a move to leave the church system. Yes there are churches who have failed in their calling to lead God’s people but do you turn away from it all because of a few? It was Christ who instituted the church structure by appointing shepherds, elders, overseers to instruct his sheep. It was Christ who designated how the church was to lead. In fact, Christ placed a higher accountability on those he called to shepherd his church. I would not go to a church that tried to dictate holiness. That is not what they are called to do. Pastors need to teach and guide for that is what they have been annointed to do.
I am extremely saddened by this call to leave the church system. If every believer left a church system then Satan wins. A cord of three is not easily broken. If you can get believers to go off alone on this calling, they will be made vulnerable to attack. I don’t need to debate this issue with anyone. You all must determine yourself what you will believe. God bless you.
February 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm
Hi Marianne – I appreciate your courage. I agree it is indeed tough. But, the reason for the move to leave the church system comes from the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit. If you go under the categories on the left hand side of my blog, you’ll see one called “outside the church system”. I’ve posted some verses in regards to this topic. But I want to ask you have you spent dedicated time one one-on-one with God reading the Prophets (ie Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel) and the minor prophets seeking His heart in this issue trusting the Holy Spirit to teach you? It is a hard question for many people to truly ask and most assume they know. I just ask that people seek deeply and read trusting the Holy Spirit not the doctrines of men.
Jesus came outside the church system of his day. The church system orginially established by God had grown corrupt and full of people’s doctrines and not God’s. Jesus came to do a new thing … in the end I think we’ll see a similar pattern.
It is a sad state. In so many ways the church has taken the place of God in people’s lives keeping them from abundant life.
Jeremiah tried to warn the people of the coming judgment to Jersusalem, but they didn’t believe because they felt they were God’s people. We are hearing that call now. Judgment is coming if not already here and God is calling His people (separating them from the tares) to come out and into safety where He will protect, shepherd, provide, teach, etc.
God is our protector, not people. I ask only for people to really seek and ask.
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February 10, 2011 at 7:16 pm
very well written.
Spirit teaches spirit…excellent!
btw…have you ever wondered, how cool would that be if everyone in a city observes silence for a day?
just have a read
February 10, 2011 at 10:58 pm
Hi Kratik – thanks for stopping by 🙂 I’ll check it out.
February 13, 2011 at 9:16 am
This is a good word!!! I was just talking with some family members about this today,our topic ws Going To Hell Through the Church.All of what you describe here,religion and it’s called christian livinig even by most preachers today.Doing a whole lot of stuff,getting all fluffed up in the church by others who think they are on their way to Heaven,because of what they don’t do and what they do.It’s so sad and they will argue with you until they almost past out,but as we know the carnal mind will never understand the ways of God. My prayer is for God to open their eyes before it’s to late. I did enjoy the read and have a wonderful day.
February 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm
Hi Pat – Thanks for sharing your thoughts … That is my prayer as well.
February 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm
Excellent message and certainly has been my experience. I spent all of my life living that lie of thinking if I looked like a Christian I was. When that plan exposed the real me and the failure of just looking the part, I found Jesus when my made for the world life broke down. I was broken to my knees and found the relationship and speaking of the Spirit you are speaking of. Now our cross is to carry the break through or beakdown to others to expose the lies of the evil one…. thanks Rachel!
February 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm
Hi Tom – so well said. I think many of us truly start seeking God and truth when we realize the “made by/for the world” is a dead end – literally.
February 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm
Hey Rachel – Thoughtful post.
We so often don’t realize how blind we can be and how deceitful our own hearts are. Thank God for moments when the Truth is revealed to us, like the one where Peter rightly called Jesus the Christ, as He was led by the Holy Spirit.
It is true that so many of us hide or have hidden behind activities and traditions, going through outward motions instead of reaching and moving into the heart of God… makes me think of the curtain/veil that separated the Jews form the Holy of Holies; the blood of Jesus allows us to boldly approach even that most intimate of places between God’s throne yet we so often remain on the outside, as if the veil has not been removed.
How precious and wondrous it is to move toward that intimacy, tasting and seeing with our very own soul that the Lord is good.
I love how you say at the end that a true Christian can look a lot of different ways because God’s ways are not our ways. He has a plan for each of those who love Him and seek Him; I pray we find it.
February 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm
Hi Ruth — it is an amazing journey behind the veil. It isn’t at all what I expected when I set out seeking… it’s far more perfect. How small our thinking is.
February 2, 2012 at 2:35 am
The truth in Mathew 7 is amazing when he opens your eyes to it.
How Lord can they do all these things? Lord they do so much they cast out demons they prophecy they do incredible things.
“I never knew you” he said. That is the difference between religion/ a christian image verses an incredible knowing of Him and Him knowing me. A relationship with Him. Big difference when you know it, within your very being.
Math 7;7 Ask and it will be given (who are we asking? who are we seeking for the answers?)
Math 7;15 Beware of false prophets-wolves (they want to give you the answers they want to show you how to worship they tie you in knots following orders mans way/your own way) (2Co 11:2) For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
There are many husbands in the kingdom.
Math 7;24 Building your house on the rock (he is the centre of your life he leds you in your daily walk, he is your guide, protector, source, your all)
Math 7;26 House on the sand (the house can look the same- but it is built on mans way/your own way with the cornerstone missing he isn’t your source the church and its structure is with all it’s rules and regulations)
There is a way that seems right to a man (its the broadway)
The narrow way that few find is a intimate/seeking/knowing of God
Until he shows you what you are missing you just can’t see, the bible tells us that it is a strong delusion and it certainly is.
It sounds like from the posting here that I would not be saying anything that they would not agree with and that each of us in our past have had the mark firmly placed on our hands and our forehead.(Revelation 13 you mentioned.) Its only as we seek him that he replaces that mark with his mark.
The Lord has also showing me the veil, many get to the holy place but never enter behind the veil the most holy place where the mercy seat is. Wow, Wow & Wow his mercy seat. He has done it all.
I sit in awe of our God and his mercy and “I saw”
February 2, 2012 at 11:19 am
Hi Leanne – the deception and delusion is incredibly layered and thick … and as you said, until you seek to know the truth and start to see you have no idea about the extent of deception and how it abounds in this earth. And many don’t realize they’re married to the wrong husband .. the one of the kingdom of darkness, though their lives testify to the disunity and corruption. I pray eyes are opened to see the love of God in truth and spirit.