This article finishes the Perfection Howto continued from last week.
Step Seven: Practice the pleasure of Divine Dependency (translation: start TRUSTING GOD and stop worrying).
You may have noticed the glaring omission of Prayer from this Howto; it shall be addressed under Step Seven.
It is quite unfortunate that for so many well-meaning believers Prayer is unnecessarily laden with so much negative baggage; a good understanding of Steps One through Six should make that burden unnecessary.
So let’s take a moment to review the first six Steps and see how they impact our view of Prayer…
Step One: Entertain the possibility that Divine Perfection exists.
“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the Name of My God, and the Name of the City of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down from My God out of Heaven, and My Own New Name.” – Jesus Christ, Revelation 3:12
God’s original intent for your species was for His Presence, Power and Glory to fill every part of your life…not for you to question His Existence.
What is the conventional definition of Prayer? That would be the act and attitude of coming out of the world and into the Presence of God to address Him in worship, praise, fellowship and petition.
This dichotomy of living both in and out of the Presence of God was never what God wanted; sin did that to us and made us religious schizophrenics. The Gospel solved that problem by eliminating the three things that separated us from God: our sin, our guilt and His Wrath! As a Citizen of God’s Kingdom I AM THE TEMPLE OF GOD and my entire life is both His Throne Room and my prayer to Him!!!
Step Two: Realize that REAL Perfection is effortless.
Being good and pure is as easy for God as it is easy for the Sun to be hot. Not one of those who currently dwell in Heaven find being good or pure difficult because they are all filled with God.
Now here’s the rub: the Bible presents the testimony of a few of those who lived on earth which, though they started out imperfect (or, like Saul of Tarsus, downright evil), BECAME GOOD AND PURE BY THE GRACE OF GOD.
Abram, who was willing to give up his wife to save his own skin became Abraham who was willing to give his precious son to God in sacrifice.
Jacob, who was slick, deceitful and conniving enough to talk a cat off a fish truck became Israel who was delivered from his greatest crisis–not by his own wit–but by the Mercy of God and spent the final years of his life surrounded by the wealth and splendor of Egypt.
Gideon, who suffered from a low self-image (“my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house”) and was armed with a mere 300 men decimated the armies of three nations so numerous they could not be counted.
Simon, who was too cowardly to admit he knew Jesus when pressed on the matter, became Peter who, as the voice of a fledgling Christian movement, preached over three thousand souls into the Kingdom of God in a single day.
Saul of Tarsus, who saw himself as the man who would single-handedly annihilate the Christian Faith became Paul the Apostle, who under the Hand of God changed Christianity from a Jewish sect to the Door of Heaven for the entire world…
…and the list goes on and on even beyond the Biblical narrative.
Martin Luther, a law student who could never see himself as anything other than doomed to Hell stood against the might of the Roman Catholic Church to declare that Faith in Christ alone could turn any sinner into a saint and priest and gave birth to the Reformation and the Protestant Movement.
John Newton, who acquired his wealth trading slaves became the author of what may be the most famous of all hymns: Amazing Grace.
George Müller, the German ruffian who stole from his father, refused to pay hotel bills, drank and gambled his way into jail times without number and considered Christians the laughingstock of society became the architect of Christian orphanages in England through whose hands it’s been estimated that no less than seven million dollars had passed in his lifetime–not through solicitation or begging, but only through fervent Prayer.
So tell me: what is your crisis? What is your setback? What is your addiction? What is your impossible obstacle? Don’t be afraid to come to God with the impossible! I say to you the Words Christ gave to His disciples: “With men it is impossible; but with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!”
Step Three: Accept your own spiritual bankruptcy.
God is a generous Giver, not a taker or a certified public accountant. God is The Father, not the bookee or the tax collector or one you would pay for protection. If God asks you to give up something it’s because YOU DON’T NEED IT, not because He likes to see you squirm or because He loves to dominate the weak. You have NOTHING with which you may do business with God; the good news is that GOD DOESN’T WANT YOUR BUSINESS…HE WANTS YOUR TRUST AND AFFECTION; and has already offered you His Own Affection in the Person of Jesus Christ.
When you come to God in Prayer, you’re coming Home to the Best Friend you will ever have.
Step Four: Practice the pleasure of receiving the Gift of Jesus Christ’s Perfection continually.
Sanctification: learning to see yourself as God sees you. If you are a Christian God doesn’t see what you see when you look in a mirror; When God the Father looks at you He sees Christ…therefore GOD IS ALWAYS PLEASED WITH YOU just as He is always pleased with Christ. The other half of that Coin is learning to see God the Father AS JESUS SEES HIM. As in the former task, you have the Impetus of the Holy Spirit of God to open your eyes. Seeing what Jesus sees when He looks at the Father means the forming of an unbreakable bond of love, trust and confidence between you and your Heavenly Daddy (the true definition of Prayer); Eternity has already begun for you!
Step Five: Practice the pleasure of giving Christ’s Perfection to others (Compassion, Mercy, Generosity and Forgiveness) AT NO CHARGE.
I challenge you to search the Kingdom of God end to end; you will not find a single tax, fee, cost of living expense or charge for overhead. In a place where the streets are paved with transparent gold, there is not a single soul strapped for cash, starving for food or in need of a home or a job. Every Citizen of Heaven is in lack of nothing, neither would they withhold anything you’d ask of them if it were in their power to give it.
God has given us, His Church, the opportunity to bring this glorious Heavenly Culture to the lost, burdened and weary citizens of Earth, even as Christ did when He was among us. Prayer is the Place where we fill our arms with God’s Limitless Supply and share it with the world…not a social services line where we have to provide a business justification just to get our basic needs supplied.
Step Six: Practice the pleasure of PROPERLY digesting the Bible on a regular schedule.
Those few that do pray, pray according to their vision of God. Without the Wisdom of the Scriptures, that vision is ALWAYS too small. In both the Old and New Testaments you see a generous, loving Savior giving out a continuous supply of miracles…for the Salvation of Humanity demands nothing less.
LIFE IS A MIRACLE THAT REQUIRES MIRACLES TO BE SUSTAINED.
That is why, unless Christ returns as He promised, miracleless Humanity will become extinct.
Which brings us finally to Step Seven:
What are you worried about?
Why are you worried?
When did the thing you are worried about become larger than the Love your Heavenly Father has for you?
In light of the Unconditional Grace extended to you in the Person of Jesus Christ, worry is just another sin to be repented of and forgiven.
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