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with Common Sense 4 Uncommon People

June, 2016


Being Open To God ~ John C Calkins

Posted: June 21st, 2016 | Category: Christ Follower, Common Sense, Inspirational, Love, Truth | Comments

21. Be Open To God

For the most part, this is a well intentioned world but this upbeat description pretty much ends there. IF our positive intentions were to be regularly carried over into similar actions, I believe that this world would be very different. Delightfully different. God agrees and inspired the Apostle Paul to write this. “It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.” Romans 7:21-23 MSG. Those who were chosen to be instructed by Jesus were ordinary people just like us, at least until they met the Messiah. This self description written by Paul (not Saul) is a very broad brushstroke coloring the majority of humanity. Remember Paul (who was previously called Saul) had a powerful, supernatural, encounter with Jesus. One which was so profound that his entire identity entered the new world of spiritual alterations. Even his name would be changed from Saul to Paul (from Jew to Gentile). He wrote this after his encounter with Jesus, during the inevitable rebuilding of his nature and character. Yes Saul had found the Jesus he’d been pursuing so diligently and he was incredibly surprised that Jesus was not the man that he thought He’d be. This could also be a universally true statement applying to any of us. Jesus is never what we expect. He is always much more in relationship with us. Paul described himself in this statement as a man with many parts. Again he is describing all of us. Our character (that is who we’ve become) is the result of an odd assortment of inputs and experiences, wants and desires, plans and ambitions. So our parts (inherent nature) might wake up with good intentions, but those intentions quickly fade like the dreams of our night lives before the alarms of our pressing realities. Our worldly modified natures seemingly present better in this harshly competitive environment called life. We live in a world which teaches us to take care of ourselves first and then worry about others later. This does not describe God’s world or His original design for us. It also does not describe our desired eternal life.

If we simply acted upon every good thought, helpful urge or necessary need which we witness or experience, the world would quickly change for the better. But we don’t. We change our minds, turn our heads, shy away, walk on by or simply flush those thoughts away as if they were nothing more than silly bouts of optimism. Yes, even those of us who know Jesus intimately do this. Not all the time but too much of the time. Jesus speaks to us, His people, through spontaneous, positive thoughts, helpful insights and compassionate feelings. He speaks to our spirit through His Spirit. He is still teaching us while we are simultaneously dismissing ourselves from His classes. The parts of us which “covertly rebel” against Our Lord’s teachings are not the godly parts of us as presented at birth, they are the earthly smudges which lay waste to our character. A consequentially rebellious  byproduct of this independent life in the trenches, as we’ve chosen to live it without God. Yes I believe that somebody else is resetting the switches of the tracks we are on, trying to permanently sidetrack us away from God. Undermining God has been Satan’s primary objective for a very long time. Dismissing God is our way of agreeing with the master of sin and deception. We do this subconsciously, routinely, even intentionally so much of the time and it’s WRONG. As Paul said, our defiant behavior “happens so regularly that it’s predictable.” Given even 1/2 a chance with any of us, Jesus will correct these character flaws which we have imposed upon ourselves. The first step in this process is recognizing that we are in fact being regularly defiant and dismissive of and to God. Being a good Christian child of God, means being open 24/7 to the good and Godly messages of the Holy Trinity, while simultaneously turning off the distracting messages from opposing forces.   We are even joining the enemy, becoming those troublesome distractions for others. Being Christian is a full time activity. Improving our performance every day should be as much our objective as it is God’s hopes for us. We are going to mess up predictably like Paul said, but if we want a better world, we must do a better job of listening and applying. Continuous improvement. Sure there are going to be people who will turn away from us or refuse assistance but we might look at them and see ourselves, before or even after the changes experienced from meeting the Messiah. The Gift of the Holy Spirit is what differentiates us from (most of) the Old Testament figures. The world is only going to continue to worsen if we don’t represent God effectively. We must be open to God every minute of every day.