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August 2019

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Amen and amen! Thank you again for the incredible encouragement and connection to the Word! This blog is amazing and helps so many engage in God's Word!!! Thank you for all of the work, time, love and faithfulness that you pour into this!!!!!! Glory be to God, blessings to His faithful servants!!!!

“And if we ourselves are not walking with other believers in the body of Christ by investing in a church on a weekly basis, then I think we are at risk of getting swept up in the pop-cultural cares of this fleeting world.”

After trying unsuccessfully for years to cure alcoholism by means of psychoanalysis, Dr. Carl Jung concluded that alcoholism could not be treated by either medical or psychodynamic techniques. He reasoned that the underlying problem was one of spiritual emptiness and wrote in a letter to AA founder Bill Wilson (in which Jung coined the phrase, “spiritus contra spiritum” or “spirits against the spirit”), “I am strongly convinced that the evil principle prevailing in this world leads the unrecognized spiritual need into perdition, if it is not counteracted either by real religious insight or by the protective wall of human community. An ordinary man, not protected by an action from above and isolated in society, cannot resist the power of evil, which is called very aptly the Devil.” Jung also concluded that today's religion was equally spiritually impoverished and just as ineffective in the battle against alcoholism (and evil).

Wilberforce made a great distinction between what he considered to be a “cultural” Christian and an “authentic” Christian. First, one should know scripture well enough to be able to defend one’s beliefs (and he had very strong words for those who suggest faith is a private matter). The problem, said Wilberforce, begins with a misconception about the nature of God and of sin. People end up not taking Satan or sin seriously so that they continually belittle their own guilt concerning efforts to be good. Jesus did not die on the cross, he said, so God could have a more tolerant perspective of sin as man is still as worthy of Hell as ever and Man without true repentance (requiring change) is still as doomed as ever – no matter what words may come from one’s lips. Wilberforce goes to great length to express what it means to put God first with a life led by the Holy Spirit with beliefs that are based on the Word in contrast to earthly attempts to be a “moral” person (with only self-effort to serve God) simply trying to do “good” things and avoid “bad” things with beliefs that come from men. My favorite sentence is: “Our behavior is so conformed to cultural standards that if we were put on trial as a Christian, the case might be dropped for lack of evidence.” pg 89. I think his most important message, though, is that while Wilberforce was able to talk his countrymen out of slavery (which would be like talking Americans today out of using oil) as well as the world’s most popular lottery (until 1995) that he was equally wholly unable to talk the same people into being authentic Christians despite his book being a “best-seller” for more than three decades (available for free download at http://books.google.com/books?id=DxevFc7biKQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=a+practical+view+of+the+prevailing).

“Do we disobey God in our lives today? Why do we do this?”

I would disagree with Mike's suggestion that it is because we fear God won't live up to His promises, but that we don't fear Him (or the wrong answer) enough -- or, as Wilberforce put it almost two centuries ago, that we don't take Satan or sin seriously enough. It's just easier to use our own solutions (or hearts) and feel just because we call ourselves “Christians” that any reasonably good intentions should simply be good enough (“well, I tried”). BUT... We're not called to be good but great just as it's not the good commission but the Great Commission.

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