When I’m indifferent to Jesus,

I never feel like a sinner.  But I’m clear-sighted about sin in others.   However when I’m freshly convicted of my sin, see myself as a sinner, Jesus is a huge deal in my life.  Shepherd.  Lord.  Nothing else hardly matters.

Jesus has almost nothing to offer non-sinners.  Just a model of a perfect, loving human, but so what?  The nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for me, is to freshly convict me of my sin, so I’m freshly enjoying Him, others, self, circumstances, just as they are.  Even nonbelievers with opposite values.  Even enemies.  Wow.

–DumbSheepDave, having the time of his life, because folks have been praying

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I don’t enjoy Jesus,

 

I don’t enjoy Jesus,

just as He is, when He thwarts my plans/agenda for an easy, trouble-free life.  I enjoy Jesus when He gives me what I want, blesses my agenda.

And when I don’t enjoy Jesus, just as He is, I don’t enjoy others, just as they are, myself, just as I am, my circumstances just as they are.  And the pre-believers around me notice that I’m just like them, that Jesus makes no difference in my life.

–JudgeDave, who knows what’s best for himself and others, but lately has more moments of sanity/dependency as DumbSheepDave, because folks have been praying

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Jesus commands us to love everyone,

even our enemies.  Gulp.  That means enjoy everyone, just as they are.  Gulp.  Satan wants us to feel superior to others, especially our enemies, and the disgusting.  Satan wants us critical-judgmental, feeling superior.  Proud.  Gulp.

A humble believer loves/accepts/enjoys everyone, just as they are, even political opponents.  Gulp.

–ProudDave, taking baby steps in more-loving directions, because folks have been praying, hoping pre-believers notice and experience the love of Jesus in a HumbleDave

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Why do I want fresh faith?

Or more faith, or more obedience, or to be different?  Part of my motivation for being different, better, is for the glory of Jesus.   But what about the dark side — the sinful side, of my motivation?   I wanna feel gooood about myself, and I’m tired of feeling lousy about myself, a failure at following Jesus.  I want to do better so I can feeeel better.  The imputed righteousness of Jesus is unsatisfying to me: I want something more.

Satan doesn’t want me to see the pride involved, in my having such a noble desire to be more like Jesus.   I cannot confess what I do not see.  I need the convicting work of Jesus’ Spirit to freshly experience the peace that passes understanding, so I have something pre-believers want.  A humble believer is content with where he is, who he is, how he is, because Jesus is enough for him, for today, and he has surrendered the timetable for any change, to Jesus.  Ahhh.  A proud believer wants something more.

–DumbSheepDave, surprisingly and amazingly thankful right now, for everything just as it is, and thankful for those who have prayed for him

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How do I get fresh faith?

Is faith like a muscle I exercise, so I get credit for something I initiated/generated?   No, faith is something granted by God.  Jack Miller once told Rose Marie that the starting place for faith, is conviction of sin.   When I first heard that back in the 80’s, on a recording of Rose Marie teaching women in her home from Romans, I was amazed, and that understanding has profoundly helped me ever since.

The starting place for fresh faith, is fresh conviction of sin.  I cannot convict myself of my sin, cannot make myself believe/repent, but what I can do, is ask for the Spirit afresh, to come and convict me of my sin, so my eyes are freshly opened to seeing the awful truth about myself, that I’m much worse than I ever imagined, so I can CONFESS my sin, and feel like the town sinner in Luke 7 who loved much because she had a sense of having been forgiven much: loved Jesus much, loved others much, even enemies.  Wow.

When I’m bummed by my sin, that’s not humility, but pride.  Satan doesn’t want me CONFESSing my sin, doesn’t want me feeling completely forgiven, wants me full of self-contempt, wants me trying harder to do better next time.  CONFESS is anathema to Satan.  And to my flesh.   ProudDave strives to fix himself.  HumbleDave enjoys himself just as he is, just as Jesus enjoys him, and he enjoys others, just as they are, even his enemies.  Wow.

–ProudDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of pride, so he’s momentarily HumbleDave, experiencing the ecstasy/life compelling to pre-believers (please pray now)

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Proud believer enjoys himself,

when winning, but hates himself when losing or mediocre.  Humble believer enjoys himself when winning, losing or mediocre.

Proud believer loves himself conditionally, based on performance.  Humble believer loves himself unconditionally, just as he is, just as Jesus loves him.

Proud believer is selfish/self-absorbed, loves others conditionally, and is indifferent to Jesus.  Humble believer loves others unconditionally, even his enemies, and loves Jesus with all his heart.

–ProudDave, powerless to change himself, needing prayer to be freshly convicted of his sin of pride so he’s HumbleDave, so the pre-believers around him will want LIFE also (please pray now)

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Jesus will not be contagious in me,

until He has brought healing to the wound on my soul that gives inordinate power to the idols I unconsciously use to prove myself worthy, distracting me from Jesus-dependency.  Jesus will make the kind of difference in my life that will attract others when I don’t care about the things I’ve cared way too much about.  Howz that gonna happen?  I either need supernatural healing from Jesus’ Spirit, or I need Jesus’ Spirit to use good therapy/counseling, to bring healing to the wound on my soul that weirds my life, my relationships.  With pre-believers.  And believers.  Contagion is dependent on the effects of The Curse being reversed in my life.   That’s my theory about why there was so much contagion from believer to pre-believer after the Resurrection: believers had nothing to prove, were content with Jesus’ performance/righteousness, and they oozed with His amazing-humility and amazing-love to the point that their neighbors and family were wowed.  “They enjoyed the favor of all the people.”  Wow.  Salt and light.  Holy Spirit, please bring an awakening in our day among us tasteless, boring believers.

–WeakDave, benefiting from the prayers of others, but needing more prayer (please pray now)

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Abstinence from areas of idolatry.

Abstinence has been a workable strategy for many people in AA for many years.  Why shouldn’t abstinence be a workable/helpful strategy for me, in dealing with my idolatry, another word for addiction?  Helpful for getting me out of the trap of addiction: A.K.A. the trap of proving myself worthy.  My idols really are less strong than they used to be, as folks have been praying, but I’m like an alcoholic down to six drinks a day, from twelve.  I’m sick of being on the pathway of worthiness-proving, and want to walk on the pathway of Jesus-worthiness.  Ahhh.

An addict to alcohol is weak as water, flowing down a hill, taking the path of least resistance.  Only the presumptuous/confident alcohol abuser feels like s/he can handle alcohol in moderation.  The recovering alcoholic, however, has come to realize he is powerless over his addiction.   Abstinence seems wise for the weak who know they are weak.  Abstinence is very humbling.  Too weak to drink alcohol.  Need to abstain.  The presumptuous imagine otherwise.

Two paths are before me: the pathway to worthiness-proving, and the pathway to Jesus.  The problem with the pathway to worthiness-proving is that it’s a horrible trap: the same things that give me life, also give me death, when things go south.  And death-avoidance is addictive, thereby weirding my life.  I am so much happier when I don’t obsess about death-avoidance, failure-avoidance.  I’m sick of that kind of lifestyle.  I feel too weak to place myself in harm’s way on the pathway to worthiness-proving.  While a strong person might not be devastated by death, a weak person, dysfunctional person, is so traumatized and re-traumatized by death, that he becomes obsessive about death-avoidance, and it ruins his life, ruins his health, undermines his relationship with Jesus, others and himself, as a control-freak perfectionis t.  He hates himself when he fails, and when you hate yourself, it’s impossible to love Jesus and others, to even care.

If a man is weak and knows he is weak, he is no fool to take extraordinary measures to avoid temptation.  So.  I’m contemplating a bold lifestyle change.  Abstaining from idolatry, another word for addiction: areas of my life where I obsess, am self-absorbed and self-contemptful when I fail.  Here’s what I’m thinking about changing:

Check ministry reports once a month, instead of many times/day.  Check investment report once a month, instead of many times/day.  Stop reading articles about improving my dysfunctional health.  Sell my cool, fast, hard-cornering car, and my fast motorcycle, and buy a used VW Golf: not sexy, not fast, not tempting to drive in such a way as to prove myself worthy.  Stop obsessing over bargains, researching purchasing decisions: just pick a supplier and pay whatever the price.  Stop helping others find good used cars.  Stop following my favorite sports teams on TV and online: no Eagles, Phillies, US Open, OU football, Messiah soccer, because with sports I’m vicariously proving myself.  Addicted to winning.  Suppressing my pain when losing.

Maybe some day, maybe next week, I can return to these activities w/o being obsessive, trying to use them to prove myself worthy, but for today, I’m thinking I’m too weak, too vulnerable, to face the onslaught of such temptation.  Think of a recovering-alcoholic of a few hours, and unemployed, being offered a good-paying job as a bartender with free drinks as a perk.  Unwise to say yes.  That’s how weak I feel.  Maybe in a month, year, decade, I can return to activity, or more-frequent-activity, in these areas, sell the Golf and buy a cooler, faster car, but I have no clue how long it may take, and I may decide I can never go back to life as it was before Sept 11, 2012.  I’m not abstaining from alcohol, BTW, because I don’t abuse it.  And maybe I’ll decide I can handle these temptations without abstinence, after all.   I just need your prayers.

Days later.

Since I journaled the above, I decided to check ministry and investment reports once a day instead of once a month, and I decided to watch a Messiah soccer match: our son is the coach, the match was video webcast, and I hoped it might be a good experiment.  It was.  I felt like an addict-wanting-a-drink-at-a-cocktail-party as I watched, and that awareness enabled me to have a much-healthier indifference than ever before, watching Messiah soccer.  I’ve not sold my car, but there too, when I’ve driven it, I’ve noticed more awareness than before, of trying to prove myself cool, worthy, and noticed more awareness of my critical/judgmental spirit toward others, and it’s actually frightened me: trying to feel good about myself by going down the worthiness-proving pathway, because it’s a trap by the forces of evil that sucks me in, leads to death, not life.  Unconscious self-hatred.  So helpful to have the mindset of a recovering addict, doing something very dangerous.  Driving my car is very dangerous, because it strokes my addiction, though I’ve never seen it that way before, and the same with TV-sports, ministry, bargains, investments, judging others, etc.  Feels like a game-changer.  Dunno what tomorrow will bring.

–WeakDave, thankful for the prayers of many (please keep praying and please pray now)

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