Category Archives: Forget Everything series
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1 Corinthians 1:10-13
Have you ever read or seen The Hobbit? If you have, recall that scene where the Dwarves and Bilbo have been caught by the trolls who are trying to eat them. The trolls are tricked by an outside voice (Bilbo) telling them opposing things about how to best cook Dwarves. They start to fight among themselves, arguing over seasoning and skinning techniques, all while forgetting the primary objective: to eat the Dwarves before the sun comes up! So what happens? They toil in vain, arguing, until the Light of Day reaches the sky and they turn to stone.
We Christians are the Trolls. We spend countless hours arguing over the “Right Way” to do baptism, prayer, evangelism, and every other aspect of Christianity. We have split up the earthly Church into sections, saying “I am a Baptist”, “I am a Presbyterian”, “I am of Wesley” or “I am of St. Augustine”. Are we not all of Christ? Do we not realize that these petty arguments are just devices to impair us from our true purpose: to unify ourselves against the powers of darkness and spread the glory of Christ to all nations.
In this apt analogy, Satan is the “outside voice” that causes the trolls to over think their goal of eating the Dwarves. One of Satan’s best tactics to destroy those who have faith in God is to get us to revisit what God said and distrust it by asking, “Did God really say that?” This is the device he uses against Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), and it is how he attempts to tempt Jesus in the Wilderness (Matthew 4). Jesus didn’t take the bait and combats Truth with Truth. I encourage you to read through those passages so you can see Satan’s strategy. He recites God’s Word, questions the intention of it, watches as we twist it just a little bit, and hands our doubt to us as a gift wrapped bomb from Hell. We spin in circles, trapped in our eagerness to please God. While we toil in vain arguing over doctrines, we ignore the very commandments of God. If we’re not careful, Christ will come back as the Light when we least expect it, and we will need to account for our distractions.
Beware of False Doctrines
There are false doctrines in the world. I am not suggesting that we mindlessly follow anyone who claims to be of Christ. There are some doctrines worth rejecting, some teachings that are blatantly unBiblical, and others that completely lack Christ as the only path to salvation.
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 2:1-3
The point of my teaching today is not that we must accept everything taught to us; it is that we need to pick our battles and keep our eyes on God. There are battles worth having, and there are wolves in sheep’s clothing looking to destroy us any way they can.
The Dangers of Denominations
I don’t have an issue with churches that are part of a denomination. I am not telling you that you must reject your Methodist/Baptist/Presbyterian church and go join a non-denominational one. I am concerned that many churches and doctrines put God in a neatly packaged box, present themselves as having “all the answers” and “The RIGHT Way”. I fear that many well-meaning denominations are earnestly trying to promote Christ throughout the world, but they do it on their terms only. Instead of relying on Scripture and prayer, they rely on the doctrines of brilliant and pious theologians whose interpretations have become doctrines all on their own.
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 1 Timothy 1:5-7
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” Matthew 15:8-9 (also Isaiah 29:13)
How many churches have split over “fruitless discussions” that have nothing to do with the fundamentals of the Gospel? Does the dunking technique of the one baptism really affect your salvation? Does which day you uphold the Sabbath really enough to judge another’s salvation by? Is instrumental music in church really something we need to have a convention over to decide whether it’s safe or not?
A lot of these “rules” were put in place to protect people’s intentions. I get that. But what has that turned into for the masses? It has turned into “confident assertions” that have caused churches to split, caused Christians to doubt the salvation and trustworthiness of other Christians, and it has nothing to do with the Truth that Jesus came on earth to preach.
Follow God, not men
We Christians spin our wheels in toil while Satan sits back and laughs at us. We don’t even need Satan to keep us from spreading the glory of God; we do it so well on our own! The church in pieces is as ineffective as arguing children. We were meant to be unified, a singular Body of Christ that goes out as one to be the hands and feet of Christ; to do His bidding and love others just as Christ loves us.
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 1-6; 15-16
I know people will automatically throw out what I have to say because they disagree with me. They are too afraid to consider following a path that’s not theirs, a path that doesn’t fit in their boxed-in understanding of God. A servant is not above her Master. In no way am I saying that my way is better than yours, but I do want you to stop and think: when it comes down to it all, whose way is Sovereign? Do you act on what men tell you to act on, or do you act on what God says? Do you follow “rules” out of the pure intention of your heart to love God, or because men with degrees and robes tell you to follow them or you’ll go to Hell?
The only way to know what God says is to get into Scripture yourself. Stop blindly following people who tell you how to live your life based on their own interpretation of what God says. Don’t even take my word for it. I want to encourage you to forget doctrines created by men. Start following God, and do it with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. God will lead you where you need to go.
What’s the world say about healthy eating? They recommend it, but no one really believes you can do it unless you’re one of “those” people. Corporations cater to the fact that you think you’re too busy to really care about what’s in your food. Do you even know what you’re eating half the time? Can you pronounce half of the chemicals in your food, let alone contemplate the havoc it’s wreaking on your body? The world says you shouldn’t care, that you have better things to do with your time, but forget everything you know about acceptable nutrition, and see what God has to say. If you’ve ever read Leviticus, you know He’s definitely interested in your diet and health!
I’ve got news for you, my friends. God wants us to be healthy. He designed our bodies to operate like perfect machines. Consider a car engine; if you put the right things in, it will work – and you need to take continuous care of it. If you put regular gas in a premium gas car, you are going to have some engine troubles. If your brake line is broken, you will crash. If you don’t replenish your oil or fill up your tires with air, then you’re not going to get very far after a while. Your car will break down.
Have you ever felt that way about your own body? Do you find yourself frequently getting headaches or feeling tired? I once claimed that I had better things to do than spend an hour working out, and that I had no time to do anything but heat up a can of Chunky Chicken Soup or microwave some Bagel Bites, and my body and health suffered for it. If my body was an engine, I was putting in tar and expecting to run on Premium. Does this sound familiar in your own life?
Let’s look at some of the ways your body and health can affect your spiritual life:
Your body is a temple: glorify God in your body and in your spirit.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
This passage is often only thought of in terms of sexual morality, but it applies to nutrition and diet as well. A clean diet leads to better health. Certainly there are some health things we are not in control of, so please don’t think I’m telling you that people with cancer have sinned in some way and brought their disease upon themselves. For most of us, our energy and overall health will improve if we improve our diet. This directly affects our ability to serve God with our whole hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. We are to glorify God in both body and spirit.
Lack of discipline in your body can lead to a lack of discipline in your relationships.
“So husbands out to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Ephesians 5:28-29
Interesting to note: America has one of the highest rates of obesity and divorce. Could neglect and abuse of our own bodies directly affect our loved ones? If we cannot discipline and love ourselves at the most basic level, how can we discipline our minds and hearts to love someone more than ourselves? Again, I’m not saying overweight people are incapable of loving their spouses, but I am drawing an eerie correlation between self-inflicted bad health and broken relationships.
If you are disciplined already, be careful not to let that turn into pride.
“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:18-21
On the flip side, if you are experiencing self-obsession with your body image, pray about that. If you are obsessed with your diet, whether gluttony or some trendy diet you’re proud to follow, pray that God would change your heart. Do not let your body be your god. Our bodies are a temple for the One True and Living God.
Let’s get to it!
This year I was convicted to start making myself healthy. For years I’ve known what I had to do, but I kept putting it off for various reasons. My loving husband, who’s a real health nut himself, constantly encouraged me and prayed for me to feel internally motivated to work out. When I started praying God would change my heart toward healthy living, He did. And He can change you, too.
It took me the better part of 8 years to really embrace this new lifestyle for myself. Why did I recognize exactly what would make me feel healthier, happier, and stronger, yet ignore it? This is the great irony of the American way: we have all the resources, all the time, and all the professional advice we could want or ever hope to have, and yet a lot of us ignore it. If you can improve your health with diet and exercise, what’s holding you back? Surely your health should be more important to you than your extracurricular activities, your promotion at work, or the new season of your favorite TV show.
If you’re still feeling resistant, get help for it. Seek out a work out buddy, a partner in prayer, and maybe even a nutrition expert. You are welcome to comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help. My husband’s favorite hobby is helping people be healthier, and I can give you some encouragement and tips!
Please, my friends, if you’re at the point now where you recognize that your human engine needs to be fixed, then please don’t just read this blog post – do something about it. You can do it. God will empower you, internally and externally, if only you ask.
Good health is vital to serve God, good diet and exercise shows discipline, and an overall fit body will make you feel great and give you energy to serve others. Plus, being fit and humble when so many are either overweight or fit and prideful will make a great witness to the masses, and give encouragement to your brothers and sisters in Christ who are also trying to be healthy.
Remember, forget everything the world tells you about ignoring your health and focus on God. You’ll be happier and healthier for it.
God’s determined that the year of 2013 will be my year of health exploration. As much as he’s been transforming my mind, body, and soul, the main lesson I’m being constantly reminded of is: FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNOW.
It’s a really big lesson that smacks me in the head just about every day, and here’s why: the world is wrong. My decision making paradigm has been focused on what the world tells me is healthy, attractive, successful, and expected. While it’s gotten me to some good places in life, it has definitely left a strain on my mental and physical health. Worst of all, my spiritual life was consistently inconsistent.
What’s curious to me is how much I’ve been tricked into believing what the world says is correct, even though I try so hard to ignore worldly advice. I would say it comes down to the way I process advice. If I stop to ask myself, “Is this what God wants for my life?”, then I can really cut through the smut a lot faster and focus on what Jesus desires. The trouble comes when I first accept advice before consulting God, and try to work God around it.
Do you find yourself doing this too? Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I constantly stressed or tired?
- Is my body physically healthy?
- Do I get anxious or overwhelmed frequently?
- Is my career my primary preoccupation to the point where I exclude my family, friends, and hobbies from my life?
- Do I skip taking a day of rest every week?
- Am I forgetting to prioritize God’s will for my life?
- Is there something lacking in my physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual health?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you also need to rewire your brain away from the world. The world teaches us that these things above are a normal and expected part of a human’s life. We’re taught that being overweight, stressed, and constantly on the go is a natural part of a human’s life, especially a successful one. American culture in particular tries to cover up these stressors with pills and quick fixes. While there are those who recommend a healthy diet, exercise, and reading Scripture daily, even the people with the best intentions can inadvertently cause others to focus first on “fixing the problem”, and secondly on God.
What’s the best remedy? First, rid your mind of everything you think you know: Forget Everything. Then, completely and absolutely focus your mind on God. So many people mistakenly try to fit God around what they know rather than letting God shape their hearts, minds, and bodies. I know I did. I will be updating based on these topics to share what I’ve learned recently in my own life. In the meantime, truly think about how you can improve your overall health, and pray that God would give you the wisdom, guidance, and desire to be a healthier you.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2