Born of God
“Born of God” is the title of the series my Pastor has been preaching the last four weeks. I have to tell you that some of the points made in this series have shaken me. I have gone back and read some of these scriptures. I have read the notes for these scriptures in my study bible. It is uncomfortable to have so much of what you thought you knew be shaken up.
Some things were no brainers. The first week he pointed out how being a Christian is more than a code of ethics. It is not just religion. It is not just being polite to people you encounter. (I could ramble on about these ideas for hours, I won’t do that now.)
In that first message in the series he also said that “God’s commandments are not burdensome.” He also pointed out that the “death” in Eden was a spiritual death as a result of sin. All of that is written. It is not some big secret that God has kept under wraps. We just don’t always absorb and apply what we read and hear.
Believe it or not, there is a scientific explanation for this. Adult learning theory cites various levels of retention based on how we receive information. A lecture (or sermon in our case) is about 5%. Maybe reading is better, it is by double…10%. Numbers go up for demonstration (30%), group learning (50%) and practice (75%). (The numbers vary depending on your source, these numbers are taken from https://officedynamics.com/your-case-for-training-adult-learning-retention-statistics/?hvid=3riNcP.)
Before you ask, YES I am a big supporter of training – preferably hands-on training. When it comes to what we retain Spiritually we have an assist. The Holy Spirit guides us and provides supernatural support. What if you are a Christian that is not “plugged in”? Then you are back to those adult learning theory numbers and missing a lot.
I started learning about being a Christian as a child. In the last eight months. I have realized so much of what I thought I understood was wrong. That is literally a lifetime with errors in thought and understanding. You do not know this about me, unless you are a long time friend or relative, I have to do things well. I have not only complete the task, but I need a gold star in the process. (Not sure if that is pride, vanity or what…it is a compulsion to exceed the expected requirement in school and then in work. It’s kind of pathetic sometimes, I don’t have to be the best, but I have to be the best I feel I can be. I often disappointment myself.) Moving on. This lack of knowledge or misinterpretation of information has made me mad a times. Not at the preachers of my youth, but at myself. I have poured hours into researching papers for my education. Hours of voluntary reading to become proficient in identifying gang members or learning policy as an officer. Why did I not put that effort into my faith?
I was a young adult when my questions about faith and my fierce anger at people made walking away from the church a relatively easy task. This was my personal Eden. Everything was great and wonderful, till I ate from the tree of knowledge (in this case saw what was really going on with the leaders of my church back then and the hypocrisy of people I looked up too.) The devil could not tempt me with fruit. He got me with knowledge, doubt, anger and hurt. It was a spiritual death of sorts.
The word of God never returns void. I knew and believed enough that I would hit my knees in prayer when crisis hit. There was no relationship. I followed most of the commandments, but not the most important…Love the Lord with all your heart. One of the Pastor’s at CenterBranch said people do not have to hit rock bottom to turn things around. I hit my rock bottom years ago, before I met my husband. It took the fear of going back to rock bottom for me to finally say “Ok, God…what do I do?”.
That is when I started to research my faith. My system of belief and my relationship with God. Even in my darkest times I questioned why more Christians did not show evidence in their lives that they loved God. It turns out…I was right to question that. This series, “Born of God” has made me incredibly uncomfortable at times. Not the fact that God should be seen in my life. I get that the wages of sin is spiritual death. I get that being a Christian is more than being polite or being void of moral turpitude. Being a overcomer because you can do as or great than Christ. Frankly, that was disturbing. It states it very clearly in John 14:12-13, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.” The Born of God series is focused on the fact we are Children of God. Spiritually I should resemble my Heavenly Father, as much as I physically resemble my earthly parents.
That is a massive concept for someone who grew up believing we are always going to be sinners. How many of us have spent so much time thinking about the fact we are sinners, that we forget Jesus has called us saints. We use the excuse, “I’m only human” when we fall into temptation. We are better than this! We are overcomers. (If you don’t believe me listen to the series on livestream or read I John 5:4-5).
I will close with this (expect more about this series, I am still pondering). That first week one of the statements was “God’s commandments are not burdensome”. We all acknowledge the 10 Commandments, in fact some of our laws are derived from them. We sometimes miss the love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. The two commandments Jesus himself cited as the MOST IMPORTANT. If we love God and our neighbors as Jesus states…don’t the other commandments just fall into place? If we love God and our neighbors, doesn’t that end all the propaganda and prejudice that plagues our society? At the root of every vile or evil thing we encounter isn’t the lack of God and His love what is missing? When we are tempted or when we sin, isn’t that a reflection of us not focusing our hearts and intentions of God?
I challenge you to think about the things you think you know about your faith. Compare them to scripture. Shoot, you can google anything you want to find in the bible these days…so it is not even that hard. Do not be cheap and chicken nugget your scriptural references…read the section. Pay attention to context and what is really being said. It is going to surprise many of you. It surprised me…in good way. I’m reading more, taking notes…researching my questions. I am going to the source with a prayerful heart, seeking wisdom instead of just knowledge.
Join me in the journey…it is worth every minute. This is that working out your salvation thing we talked about.
“Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I John 5:5