Category Archives: Bible study

Does Good Friday Make You Feel Bad Religious Christianity Wants You To

The focus of Jesus’ horrific death on Good Friday certainly results in many ‘feeling bad’ about what happened. Maybe it should be called BAD FRIDAY?

Good Friday Guilt

A lot of “it’s my fault” or “mea culpa” happens on Good Friday.

Does God find pleasure in our ‘mea culpa’?

Even as Good Friday elicits major guilt and condemnation from believers, it is also leveraged to make ‘unbelievers’ feel really bad, with hopes they will finally believe in Jesus. What a way to come into the kingdom – through guilt, fear, and sorrow.

Is that how God wants us to feel? Is that how God wants unbelievers to ‘get saved’?

Does God want and appreciate our guilt, condemnation, remorse, and regret over Jesus’ crucifixion?

Hmm, I wonder how much God looks forward to the religious Good Friday services that make us feel so bad?

What really happened on Good Friday

What really came down during Jesus’ crucifixion? All blue skies at the Cross_photo by aaron burdenNotice, it has nothing to do with making you feel bad. In fact, the truth about His death should make you feel GLAD – very glad!

  • God so loved (take pleasure in, esteemed, wish well to) the world He gave His Son…not to judge the world (Jn 3:16,17)
  • When we were weak/ helpless/impotent/ without strength Christ died for us. Realize that scarcely for a righteous man or even a good man would one would die, (Rom 5:6,7)
  • God demonstrated His love toward us that while we were still sinners, His Son died for us – much more then we were justified/made righteous, acquitted, approved) by His blood (Rom 5:8,9)
  • When we were enemies/hostile/with deep seated hatred, we were reconciled/decisively changed to God on account of His Son’s death (Rom 5:10)
  • Much more having been reconciled, we are saved/healed/ preserved/rescued by/inside/within) Jesus’ life (Rom 5:10). Indeed, on top of this, we are rejoicing/boasting/exulting/with head up high in God on account of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:11)
  • Since One died for all, all died (2Cor 5:14), therefore we were buried with Him into His death – and just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we also walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4)
  • The Father was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting the trespasses against them (2Cor 5:19)
  • For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured/remained under/persevered the cross, despising/looking down on/scorning/disregarding the shame/disgrace (Heb 12:2)
  • He reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God in one body on account of the cross (Eph 2:16)
  • You once thought you were enemies with God, but He reconciled you in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless (Col 1:21,22)
  • You were dead in your trespasses, but He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven you all your trespasses (Col 2:13
  • He saved us and called/named/invited us with a holy calling/summons, not according to our works, but according to His purpose and grace – given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2Tim 1:9)
  • By God’s will we have been sanctified on account of the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb 10:10)
  • This Man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 10:12)
  • By one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified/(set apart as holy (Heb 10:14)
  • Their sins He remembers no more, thus no longer an offering for sin, and we have boldness to enter His presence by a new and living way that He consecrated for us through His flesh (Heb 10:17-20)
  • We draw near in full assurance of faith/divine persuasion – free from an evil conscience and our whole being washed clean/guiltless/innocent (Heb 10:22)

There are many more scriptures, but can you begin to see a pattern here? Please don’t let religious tradition and mind sets blind you from the fullness of truth!

Bottom line

Good Friday is really a GLAD day – reconciliation, peace, sanctification, innocence restored, joy, the end of all sacrifice and works – happened!

Good Friday is not a time to feel guilty, mourn, and regret.

The God Head was rejoicing, because “It is finished.” Humanity/the cosmos is reconciled, healed, rescued, made whole – whether the cosmos knows it or not.

How God proved the reconciliation of all

Ever wonder why Jesus was raised from the dead?

Many might think it makes going to heaven possible or that God will now forgive us of our sins. Think bigger.

Jesus’s resurrection only happened because of our justification/acquittal/ divine approval. (Rom 4:25) Selah

Mind you, this justification has nothing to do with something we have to do. He justified us without our permission or pleading. He even forgave us without our asking for it. Goodness, who is this God?!

So, stop ‘feeling bad’ on Good Friday or any other day! It’s ALL good!

Dig In

  • Religion focuses on God’s wrath being poured out on the cross. But the Word points to a lot of intentional restoration and joy going on. God restored what He started in the first place when He made man in His image and likeness.
  • To grasp the power of the Resurrection, you have to grasp the power of Salvation that happened ONCE FOR ALL on the Cross.
  • Do not let religious Christianity steal joy on your Good Friday. Enter into this celebration with the lights on and overflowing gladness flooding your heart and mind – even before the Resurrection celebration happens!
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More Than One Grace Macedonians Money Angels Incarnation How Do They Go Together

The traditional teaching of 2Corinthians chapters eight and nine is used to get believers to give money to religious institutions’ needy causes. The  Macedonians, who gave in the midst of affliction and poverty, is the standard to duplicate.

But searching through the verses of this passage in light of Greek meanings reveal a different point.

Here are a couple of key words from previous posts about this passage that help reveal the fullness of what Paul was saying.

(2Cor 8:2 2Cor 9:11,13 – BTW liberality is not about giving money)

liberal/liberality in the Greek means

  • simplicity
  • singleness
  • sincerity
  • purity
  • graciousness
  • not compounded or over complicated
  • single-threaded

(Liberality is not about giving money.)

(2Cor 9:7 BTW –  a cheerful giver loves God, not God loves a cheerful giver)

cheerful in the Greek means

  • propitious (favorably disposed toward someone)
  • disposed because satisfied – describing someone who is cheerfully ready to act because already approving (“already persuaded”)
  • won over
  • already inclined

(Cheerful in this context is not about smiling or laughing when giving.)

We will see that grace is the source of of the Macedonians’ liberality and cheerful giving.

More Than One Grace

In the Greek there is more than just one word for grace. They are cognates of the same root word, but their individual meanings are important to apply.

In this passage (2Cor chapters 8 and 9) several cognates of ‘grace’ are used NINE times.

Now this is curious. Any Greek words for money or offering are NOT used in these two chapters!

Grace is such a big deal that Macedonian story (chapters 8-9) is book-ended with grace.

Grace Bookends

Beginning of story –

“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God given to the churches in Macedonia.” (2Cor 8:1)

End of story –

“… who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:14,15)

The Graces_GrowingInFullness_Nancy Teague


It is grace, grace, grace! It is not about money, money, money. In fact, there are no Greek words that mean ‘money’ or even ‘offering’ in this story.

Exposing Mistranslations

In fact let me back the grace focus with a few examples.

“…to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of God” (2Cor 8:19)

Now, we would automatically think this gift is money. Some translations even say ‘offering’. So it must be money, right? Nope.

The Greek word for gift in this verse is

  • xáris (charis)- favor, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit”) – properly, grace. xáris preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is “always leaning toward them”)

“…prepare your generous gift beforehand…” (2Cor 9:5)

Looks like a big offering of money! Ah but, ‘generous’ is not even in the Greek, and ‘gift’ is eulogia – adulation, praise, blessing. Of course ‘blessing’ can be money, but I am deconstructing the religious mindset that this passage is all about giving money.

More mistranslations:

  • In verse 20 Paul continues – “avoiding that anyone blame us in the lavish gift…” Sounds like a lot of money. But, ‘gift’ is NOT in the Greek. “Lavish’ means thickness, abundance, lavish generosity. It seems there could be an abundance of something else going on.
  • Verse 21 – “providing honorable things…”. The translation ‘honorable things’ in the Greek means beautiful, good, worthy; beautiful, as an outward sign of the inward good, noble, honorable character. ‘Providing’ means – I take thought for beforehand, provide for, practice; to think, plan before. There is thought and practice of things beautiful, worthy, and of honorable character. Again, more than about the wallet.

Looking up some of these words in the Greek can certainly get one to reconsider what is really being said!

What Is Thanks

It is the GRACES theme that overwhelms Paul at the end.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2Cor 9:15)

Now, Is this a usual “thanks”?

When we say thanks, it generally means we are expressing gratitude for a pleasant experience, kindness, or help.

Is this what Paul was doing, but was just super thankful to God? No.

Paul is not thanking God. Say what?!

Check out the actual Greek meanings in this verse:

Thanks  

xáris ‘charis’ (khar’-ece) – grace, favor, kindness, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit; sometimes rendered ‘thanks’, but the core-idea is “favor, grace“, “extension towards“.
[Please note it is NOT the cognate euxáristos – prop. thankfulness (thanksgiving) – literally, “the giving of thanks for God’s grace – e.g. 2Cor 9:11,12.]

to God

for

epí (a preposition) – upon – naturally looks to the response (effect) that goes with the envisioned contact, i.e. its apt result (“spin-offs,” effects).

the

indescribable

anekdiḗgētos – indescribable, that cannot be thoroughly related, inexpressible, impossible to estimate

of him

autos – an intensive pronoun (1) self (emphatic) (2) he, she, it (used for the third pers. pron.)

gift!

dōreá – a gift, freely given and hence not acquired by merit or entitlement. It expresses a brand of giving that highlights the beneficent desire of the giver. (Note: this word comes from dídōmi – to put, place. It is used in 2Cor 8:1 – “…the grace of God put/placed on the churches. So when God ‘puts/places’ something or Someone on or in someone it is actually connected with being a free gift!).

Paul, in other words, is ecstatically shouting – “Grace to God upon the indescribable of him, Jesus, His free gift to all of us. ”


Angel Announcement Precursor to the Macedonians

Speaking of Paul’s loud pronouncement, how about –

The angel shocked the shepherds and said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy to all the people…” and then suddenly a multitude of heavenly host filled the skies with praise to God in response to Grace becoming flesh and the goodwill it meant toward men! (Lk 2:10-14)

Paul, in a way, was joyfully echoing this angelic raving, besides boasting how the Macedonians couldn’t help but display the fruit of  true grace!

It is not about money. It is about GRACE GRACE GRACE.  And the essence of grace is about joy!  The Macedonians got that. Talk about fullness!

Dig In

  • “I bring you tidings of great joy.” ‘Joy’ (xará) comes from the root word for grace (xar). Xará means – grace recognized, joy because of grace. Now this angel is talkin’ GREAT joy. Greek ‘great’ means – large, great, in the widest sense. To parallel that, the Macedonians had an “abundance of joy (xará)”! (2Cor 8:2) Their “abundance” (GR superfluity, excessively large amount, an abundance that exceeds normal expectations) was noticeable too. Hmm, is the grace you experience noticeable?
  • The heavenly host were actually saying (in the Greek meanings) – “Glory to God, namely upon (upon – that causes an effect) the physical earth peace (peace – from a word that means to join, tie together into a whole; properly, wholeness) in (in – inside, within – as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside) the human race, with whom He is pleased (pleased – good-will, good-pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, delight of men). Hey, is something wonderful going on IN each human, but we can’t see it because we really do not understand grace nor what Grace completed?
  • The story of the Macedonians is truly about being enriched in all ‘liberality’ – simplicity, purity, sincerity, singleness. This caused euxáristos (giving thanks for God’s grace). (2Cor 9:11) Gosh, to grasp that the coming of Jesus – His glory, full of grace and truth, revealed in flesh (because He really does enjoy our likeness of Him) – brought excessive enrichment to all mankind.

Oh, the exceeding grace of God in you!!!

 

Huge Meanings Why Jesus Stooped Wrote On The Ground and Raised Up Jn 8:2-11

In scripture, when something is repeated two or three times, that means we need to pay attention. It is important. Take heed. Ponder.

Jesus repeated three actions TWO times concerning the woman caught in adultery as she had to stand before her accusers.

  • stooped down
  • wrote on the ground
  • raised Himself up

Looks like we need to pay attention!

There is HUGE meaning and significance to His, what I call, prophetic actions. Out of all my pondering, these past few weeks over His actions in this story with the adulterous woman, I was amazed to discover truths about our true identity and the Good News.

You know, if we begin to realize how much He is for us, how He came to show us who we really are, that He has never changed His mind about us, and get free from the ‘traditions of the elders’ (AKA religious tradition) – then we will begin to see this wondrous pattern of unconditional eternal love.

Click here for the video to see and hear for yourself what Jesus was saying by His actions. You will be wowed!


Dig In

  • Jesus knows the times when we were brought low. Please realize, He will get even lower than us, because He came to lift us up. We were always made to be lifted up and highly valued.
  • Jesus has nothing but terms of endearment about us, even in the midst of our blowing it. Open your heart to the truth of who you really are.
  • Don’t let accusers define you. Only God’s evaluation of you counts. Come into the revelation of His elation over you! Certainty of this is part of fullness.

P.S. The next post will explain what Jesus truly meant when He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”

Who Are The Ten Virgins? What Do The Ten Virgins Show About The Kingdom of God?

Have you ever considered how the traditional religious punitive retributive mindset about God will keep you from understanding the kingdom of God?

The parable of the Ten Virgins is one of many parables that Jesus used to mystify us rather than inform. The Kingdom is so full of goodness for all that most were blind to that fact. Hence their conclusions (and ours) on this parable meaning would focus on judgment, punishment, and hell.

Ah, but there is good news in the parable of the Ten Virgins!

Check out the video and be surprised at what these virgins show us about the fullness of the Kingdom of God:

 

Dig In

  • Do you have your walk figured out, kind of like the five ‘foolish’ virgins? You have enough. Or do you think God only has a little bit for you? Or are you open to getting so full of Truth that you would be like one of the five ‘wise’ virgins lugging around a jug of oil?
  • Do you think God has delayed, is delaying, or will delay in things you are waiting for? God doesn’t delay. “Behold the Bridegroom!” HE IS HERE NOW! Fill up your jug!
  • Has your religious teaching put a hard edge on the parables and programmed you to see the negative? Do know you really can grasp the fullness of grace that is hidden within them. Repent! 🙂 In other words change your mindset and enter into the inclusiveness, joy, and fullness of the kingdom, of which the parables point.

Did the Apostle Paul Get Born Again As Religion Teaches and Requires?

Do you know the steps one must take to get saved? Have you been taught the “Four Spiritual Laws”? How about “The Romans Road”? Maybe the “ABCs of Salvation” is the better way to get saved?!

Yee gads, how did becoming a believer get so formulated? Man. Man likes to help God out.

Paul, the Apostle, knew none of those formulas. In fact his life is a prime example to blow up all our religious ways of ‘getting saved’ or ‘born again’.

Check out the  to video see if Paul really got born again the way we think it should happen –

Here is a free PDF download with all the details and scriptures –Did The Apostle Paul Get Born Again As Religion Teaches and Requires?

Dig In

  • If any aspect of your walk with God involves a formula, steps, a system then beware. These man made ideas have no LIFE in them. Only Jesus is the life!
  • It was revelation that awakened Paul to who he really was, even in his mother’s womb. His violent action affected NOT the security of being in Jesus and Jesus in Him.
  • True salvation is not dependent on feeling bad about your sins and asking forgiveness. You were forgiven at the cross – all mankind was forgiven at the cross. Now to wake up to that powerful truth! Sin is in NO WAY  more powerful than His eternal love expressed in Jesus’ death and resurrection. There’s certainty and fullness in Christ’s final words –  “It is finished.”

God Is Watching You and You Must Give Account! But Religion Mistranslates Hebrews 4:13!

Do you know that God is watching you? Does that scare you?

Hebrews 4:13 would suggest we need to be a little scared, after all He is watching and we have to give an account.

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him, to whom we must give account.” (Heb 4:13 NKJV)

Make you a little nervous? Years ago, it did me.

You just might be surprised at what Hebrews 4:13 is really saying!

Click on the video  and/or open the PDF below to get the real truth!

Free PDF download – God Is Watching You And You Must Give Account! But Religion Mistranslates Hebrew 4 13!

Dig In

  • Perfect love casts out fear. (1Jn 4:18) Yet, we can still read some scriptures with a sense of fear of what God will do to us. Remember, fear involves punishment. If you think you might be punished by God then you still need a clearer revelation of His love! If you think He needs to punish certain people then you do not understand pure love. God is not about punishing, He is about love and caring for His children,  which is actually ALL mankind!
  • If you see italicized words in a scripture verse that means those are added words. They are not part of the original Greek. Might be a heads up to check out the real meaning of that verse. Bible Hub is one online resource to do just that.
  • To grasp – God can’t take His eyes off you because you are such  a delight to Him – is understanding more of your true identity. As you truly grasp His delight in you, in turn, you will delight in others. Oh, relish the certainty and fullness in knowing He is always ‘watching’ you – His ‘logos’, His expression of a beautiful thought!

Abide In Him, His Words Abide In You, Ask Anything, It Will Be Done! Is That A Formula? You Can Really Ask Anything?!

Have you ever asked God for something and expected Him to answer the way you asked?

Have you ever asked God for something and He didn’t grant your request?

Have you ever asked God for something and He gave you an answer you didn’t want? At least you thought that was HIS answer?

Have you ever thought you were doing all the things you thought you were supposed to do in order to get your prayers answered? Ever been disappointed with that kind of thinking? Do you know that is religious thinking?

It sure looks like Jesus gave us a formula to get our prayers answered. But is that what He was really trying to tell us in John 15:7,8?

Check out the video to learn more –

and/or download the free PDF supplement Abide in Him, His Words Abide In You, Ask Anything, It Will Be Done? Is That A Formula? You Can Really Ask Anything?

Dig In

  • If you are caught up in formulas, steps, check lists – in order to do it right or please God, please grasp these are not life giving and are not ‘have to’s’.
  • God is really into abiding. He does not want to be #1 in our lives. He wants to be ONE with us. Let Him show you what abiding really is and that you are already ONE with Him without doing anything!
  • As you rest in His kind of abiding you will find your desires/requests/prayers moving to a whole new place full of life, freedom, certainty, and trust.

What Was the Word Jesus Spoke To Say All Are Clean?

Trying something new in this post! Always good to stretch oneself. Right?

The topic at hand is found in John 15:3 – what is the word Jesus had spoken to His disciples that said they were already clean?

Here’s a clue –  prune, clean, washing feet – have something in common.

You have two ways to find out the full answer!

First choice – watch the video.


Second choice – Download the PDF  The Word Jesus Spoke To Declare You Are Already Clean  – for Bible study details.

Would love to have some feedback on the video, to see if it is a helpful way to get this fullness message out. Also your thoughts on the PDF are sure desired.

Maybe there will be enough that say – “Hey, just keep doing what you did before.”

My biggest desire is that you be struck with the enormity of Jesus’ words about being “already clean”.

Dig In

  • If you have been brought up in the  traditional Christian religion, please don’t summarily dismiss the possibility that God could be even better than you thought.
  • To have mindsets challenged is a good thing! Fullness of life is way bigger than we’ve been told or can even imagine. So be open to the renewing of your mind. It will impact your identity.
  • Don’t forget the disciples didn’t get what Jesus was saying. (Jn 13:7) Yet, He was faithful to help them get it little by little. He really does want us to “get it”!

Does Religious Christian Evangelism Preach The Wrong Gospel – Part 1

What is the gospel message?

What would you say? Before reading further, please take a moment to give it some thought.

Here’s my summary of what I was taught and believed to be the Gospel (AKA Good News):

  • Man is a sinner thus separated and distanced from God
  • Man needs to be saved from his sins
  • Man needs forgiveness for his sins
  • God loves you and sent Jesus to die for your sins and be your Savior
  • You need to ask God for forgiveness of your sins in order to be saved
  • When you repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you, then Jesus will cleanse you of your sins
  • Result – you are reconciled to God and are assured of going to heaven (not hell)
  • Now that you are saved there will be things you should do and will want to do (that show God you love Him and will serve Him)
    1. go to church regularly
    2. pray faithfully
    3. worship (in church and privately)
    4. give tithes and offerings
    5. read the Bible and go to Bible studies
    6. be part of a small group at church (for fellowship and growth)
    7. repent when you sin and get forgiven some more
    8. tell others about Jesus so they can get saved too

Traditional Gospel Focus

The Gospel, traditionally preached, focuses on sinful ‘fallen man’, separation, and distance (from God).

The religious gospel summary says that even though Jesus died for sin, mankind is still sinful – whether you are saved or not. Hmm, looks like an unending disappointing cycle of never quite being right with God. Does that mean Jesus wasn’t enough to deal with our sin problem? Does He need us to help Him out or finish completing something that He started?

The “Fallen Man Gospel” (as I now call it) has been my understanding of the gospel for six decades! Sure I knew that Jesus loved me, but there were a few subtle thoughts over the years that challenged that surety. For example – ‘God will love me more if I…’,  ‘what if I really blow it…’, ‘there must be something I can do for God…’, ‘what can I do to get more of God so that…’

Because the traditional gospel is sin focused it compounds and enhances uncertainty in life and in one’s relationship with God. With us living in such a world of uncertainty, you would think ‘good news’ Christians would be the most certain people around. Not so much.

The Accuser of the Brethren

Since traditional evangelism points out sin in order to get God’s love across, and since Satan loves to point out faults and shortcomings, is it possible that the Accuser Church/religious Christianity is unknowingly in cahoots with the accuser of the brethren? Why I never!? Who do you think you are aligning Christian evangelism with Satan?!

Let’s remember the enemy hates us because we are made in God’s image. He does everything he can to put us down and keep us from knowing who we really are. Sadly, the sin focused gospel message uses a negative emphasis (sin) to get to a positive outcome (God’s love), and yet continues the negative part continues to be part of the ‘walk’.

Anything negative about man is accusatory. God would NEVER be negative or accusatory about mankind, because He knows who we really are. He really likes what He made in His image. Actually, His wonderful complete conclusion of us began before the foundation of the world!  God has never changed His opinion of us, even in spite of sin. We will explore this truth of who we really are in upcoming posts.

It is out of ignorance that those who preach the fallen man evangelistic message are helping the enemy to continue to deceive mankind. By the way, the enemy loves ignorance and takes advantage of it in us! But God does not condemn ignorance. (Pr 24:12  1Tim 1:13)

The Power of Tradition

Obviously those who preach the traditional evangelistic gospel really care about people and want to see them saved. They are simply saying what has been handed down to them, and in turn passing this tradition on. However, this traditional gospel ties in with that traditions stuff that Jesus came against. (Mk 7:1-13)

Status Quo versus God’s Fullness

I never would have seen these things if not for God’s divine set up with certain people, books, and teachings. Then there was searching the scripture to see if this is true, much pondering, many questions, and then the wonderful quickening of the Holy Spirit. It resulted in many a “Oh my goodness!”, and overflowing gratitude. Why I have never heard this before in all my years of church is astounding to me, because the pure Good News is incredible good news! And yet I see why -hence Part One and Two (next post).

I hope you will seriously consider this challenge and exposure of the status quo gospel which falls so short of declaring the fullness we have all received. (Jn 1:16)

Dig In

  • If the gospel you heard ever results in requirements, insecurity of your salvation, feeling  distance from God, resurfacing guilt or fear – then you have not heard the real Good News.
  • Tradition has such a powerful influence on our lives. It is based on assumption that whatever has been passed down ‘is so’. Caution.
  • The fallen man gospel proclaims you are a sinner saved by grace. Do you know that is not even New Covenant?

In Part 2 I will share what I believe are negative consequences of a sin based/ fallen man focused gospel.

What Should A Christian Do

I wonder how many Christians have thought I should do this, I ought to do that, I must do this, or I have to do that? I did, but I’m learning this kind of thinking is not part of His life and fullness.

Here are a few of the things that require the have to, the should, the must, the ought: tradition, religion, guilt, fear, condemnation, performance, man-pleasing, fear of man, shame, religious zeal, misunderstanding, ignorance.

This is how it often happens. Someone says ‘Yes!’ to His wonderful love. Then their friend who introduced them to Jesus or the church they attend now says:
To grow in your faith – YOU SHOULD

  • go to church every Sunday
  • go to other services – Sunday night, Wednesday night, Sunday school, or whenever the brethren gather at church
  • have a quiet time every day – set this time aside only for the Lord
  • read your Bible – perhaps even do the system where you read through the entire Bible in a year
  • go to Bible studies – preferably at the church
  • attend a small group to make friends, to rehash the pastor’s sermon, to follow some other agenda decided by leadership for your spiritual growth
  • learn how to pray, make sure you pray, and of course attend prayer meetings – if you want God to hear you and answer your prayers
  • if you really want God to do something for you then fast, in fact the longer the fast the more effective it will be
  • be accountable to someone – someone needs to watch over your soul
  • make sure you are under a pastor – you need a covering
  • honor those in authority over you in the Lord
  • submit to the spiritual leadership in the church you attend
  • don’t rob God – make sure you tithe 10% to your church so God will bless you (is that on net or gross?), that way you will not be under a curse as stated in Malachi 3:8-11
  • become a member of the church – this shows commitment to the church and love for God
  • volunteer with your  time and energy because there are so many needs in the church’s programs and ministries
  • learn how to worship, then spend time privately and corporately worshiping God – you know that is why He made you, to worship Him
  • make sure you evangelize – it’s about getting people to heaven because we sure don’t want them to go to hell – so share the gospel and save the lost
  • confess your sins to be saved
  • keep all of God’s commandments

Now some of these Christian shoulds seem right. But many are a mixture and some are not even Biblical under the New Covenant in Christ. The mixtures are from religion, tradition, and the world. A mixture is not truth, it is half truth and half lie. So how can we come to the right conclusion if we believe a mixture? Not only will the conclusion be incorrect, but if we still hang on to it, we will come under deception.

A friend of mine, who is also growing in fullness, cried out, as we talked about all the things Christians are expected to do, “God is the most exhausting person I know! I have all these balls to juggle, I drop them, pick them up again, try to juggle again. I’m exhausted!!!” Anyone worn out trying to perform and please?

Granted it is handy to have a list of shoulds that we can check off. They bring a sense of personal accomplishment and we can show that list to God. We might even show it off to others! When we show it to God we now assume He will owe us and bless us. This is not fullness, this is striving and manipulation.

Some Christians and even non-Christians believe God has a list, kind of like Santa Claus.He’s making a list and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.” This thinking is not fullness. It  keeps us from knowing and receiving His unconditional love. This kind of belief distorts who He is.  I assure you, God does not have a list!

There is one other kind of list that is easy to make. We tend to keep a list of all the things we have done wrong. Because of this list we believe God can’t possibly love us or be pleased with us. Once again, this smacks against the truth of God’s unconditional love. The enemy and his demons even help us make this kind of list through guilt, condemnation, shame, and fear. In fact, would you believe even the church system uses guilt and fear. A double whammy!

Instead of lists, how about a banner?!

I heard of a wise lady who put this banner in the entry way of her house. I Will Not Should On Myself

What a great reminder! A maxim worth heeding. Get the play on words?

By the way, there is another banner worth noting  – ‘His banner over me is love.’ Song of Solomon 2:4

Dig In

  • If you have had a lot of shoulds dumped on you, or you’ve dumped on yourself  – begin to realize they are not part of His yoke. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Mt 11:28-30  Boy, do we need to understand this truth!
  • Start asking the Lord to show you your shoulds, even the subtle ones. Then ask Him to set you free from your shoulds. He wants you to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the letter of the law. The Spirit gives life, the letter kills. 2Cor 3:6
  • Relationship is key with God – His heart in sending Jesus was to bring reconciliation and fullness of life – not requirements. Salvation in Jesus has nothing to do with have to do or should, but all about ‘being with’ and ‘receiving’ – out of which comes fullness.

For those who may be offended at my list of ‘shoulds’ please give me time to expound in forthcoming posts.  On the other hand there may be those sensing a ‘sigh of relief’ is on the way. Hey, you might think of some ‘shoulds’ or wonder if something is a ‘should’ – please comment. We can all get more free together! Indeed, as Paul loudly proclaims in Galatians 5:1 – ‘It was for freedom that Christ has set us free!’ My goodness, do we even know what that means? Let’s find out because it’s part of growing in fullness.