Legalism and Being Like Mike

I “played” basketball in high school. I wasn’t very good. I have bad eyes that are always worse in artificial lights that throw my depth perception off. I stunk.

The more I stunk the more self-conscious of my stinkiness I became. There must be something I can do to be better? It was hard to get better when I never got any playing time. How could I be better while bench-warming?

During this time Michael Jordan and Nike shoes were all the rage. I soon figured out that I needed Nike shoes. “It’s gotta be the shoes” is how Nike commercials summed up Jordan’s success.

I bought the shoes. I paid $100 for those shoes with my own hard-earned money. I looked good, man. I even stuck my tongue out while doing lay-ups like Jordan. “Like Mike, I want to be like Mike, Like Mike. I want to be like Mike” ran through my head.

Nike settled for a legalistic approach to my basketball career. “Want to be good at basketball? Buy our shoes and shorts and shirts and eat Wheaties and drink Gatorade and stick your tongue out like Jordan does.” They wanted to change the external while never truly addressing the issue.

Legalism is an excessive conformity to a law. If this excessiveness is demonstrated by interpreting laws to minute detail to see how the law should apply to every circumstance, problems arise. Rather than being told “dress modestly” we invent 437 laws to explain what that means.

This flesh-oriented legalism’s main point is to make sure you are keeping the law. That’s it. It has no other concern for you. Legalism relies upon several things in order to work:

1) Clear authority–someone has to make, interpret, and enforce the law
2) Fear and Torment–there is no other possible goad for obedience then penalties and fines
3) Guilt–there is never a time to rest, you are always failing at some law or another
4) Peer pressure–what will the neighbor’s say?
5) Judgment–how will you know you are wrong lest I tell you?

Flesh-oriented legalism must rely upon externals. Enforcement of laws depends upon suitable external punishments to keep you in line. Obedience to laws is only proved by external conformity. Legalism is not concerned with your attitude, merely whether you are fulfilling the letter of the law.

1) Legalism wants to conform you to a law
2) Legalism doesn’t want to conform you to Christ
3) Legalism’s conformity to a law does not require the Holy Spirit
4) Conformity to Christ requires the Holy Spirit

This legalism will never lead you to dependence upon the Spirit and will never result in Christ-likeness. Legalism’s best hope is that you become just like the one who is externally enforcing the law it gave you.

Legalism might make me wear baggy shorts and wear Nike shoes, it can turn me into a Nike salesman, but it will never make me Michael Jordan. To be Michael Jordan, I must be reborn!

Legalism and Women’s Clothing

Legalism is like “cold”–it means different things to different people and too much of it makes me quiver.

Legalism officially means, according to the dictionary, “a strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code.” That being the case, legalism might not be bad.

I suppose the problem enters when we look at what law we adhere to or perhaps what “excessive conformity” means.

Excessive conformity might mean “abiding by interpretations of the law.” In other words, the New Testament tells women to dress modestly, that’s about all the details you get on women’s clothing.

Excessively conforming to “dress modestly” isn’t a bad thing at all. But “modest” can be a shifting wave in our culture. In fact, “modest” might not mean what you think it means! The Greek word translated “modest” means “orderly, well arranged.” Didn’t see that one coming did ya?

Modest then might mean, “make sure your shirt is ironed and matches your pants.”

The problem with biblical principles is that we don’t trust others to know what they mean. I, obviously, know what modest means, but I’m not the problem, it’s all those other people who don’t know. Therefore, excessively conforming to the dress modest law could mean well nigh anything.

Therefore, I must define what “dress modestly” means. But I’m not satisfied with merely telling myself what it means, OH NO! I must then start a movement and tell all women everywhere what it means.

I will make a list of modest and non-modest clothes and set myself up as the authority on what a woman should wear. Furthermore, since I’m nobody, I will then add that my lists are the definition of biblical modesty and if you do not conform to my list you are disappointing God and more than likely close to being singed by the fires of hell.

Once my lists go public and God’s authority is placed behind them, I will get one of three responses:

1) A fair number of women will take me seriously because, honestly, the women’s fashion industry is in constant flux, it’s a sea of confusion and it costs a lot of money to keep up. It is also time consuming to put your self in order every day, so yeah, Jeff’s lists are very helpful and I’m also closer to Jesus. So this is cool.

2) A fair number of women will suddenly dress worse then ever before. They may have even dressed modestly in the past, but no more! Once they’ve been told what modest is they will go all crazy nasty into un-modest dress. They will push the limits like never before. They might not even be comfortable with how immodest they’ve become, but as long as they aren’t legalistic, they’ll go for it.

3) Most women will ignore everything and just keep rolling along.

If this is legalism, an excessive conformity to a law, then this is a problem. Hyper-defining biblical principles soon turns into following the traditions of men rather than the word of God. Legalism doubts the Holy Spirit.

We can’t trust crazy women and teenage girls to know what modesty is, so I must force them into living by what I know it to be. This short-circuits the work of the Spirit and gives the false notion that you’re doing fine without Him.

Legalism is excessive conformity to a law and legalism abhors a law-vacuum. Legalism will invent a law where none exists. How will we cope otherwise?

Ten Points on Legalism

1) Most people’s objection to legalism has more to do with resisting authority than it does with resisting legalism. Most people opposed to legalism would be just fine if they were in charge of it.

2) Legalism can look very modern. Legalistic churches don’t all have their women wear skirts and have a bun in their hair nor do their men wear black and have short hair. Many legalistic churches wear jeans and have dreadlocks and think if you don’t–you really don’t know Jesus, man.

3) Legalism is not a biblical term. I know a guy who had an argument over legalism with other Christians and they said, “You have to define legalism the way the Bible does.” To which he asked, “Where does the Bible use the term?” They never saw the point. Legalism is our term and means different things to different people.

4) Listening to God is not legalism. Listening to God is called “faith.”

5) Listening to God’s law is not legalism. Listening to God’s law is called “the point of redemption–those who walk in the Spirit fulfill the righteousness of the law.”

6) Legalism defined, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code” According to this, I doubt God would have a problem with a legalist!

7) Pharisees are typically the group we point to for the dangers of legalism. “Jesus didn’t like Pharisees and they were legalists, therefore Jesus doesn’t like legalists” is the typical line. Why didn’t Jesus like the Pharisees? Because they tried to keep the law? Nope. Matthew 23 tells us why Jesus didn’t like Pharisees:

“All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

The problem Jesus had with Pharisees is not that they tried to keep the law, He told His followers to keep the law like Pharisees said to do. What He didn’t like is that while they told others to keep the law, they didn’t keep it themselves! Pharisees weren’t legalists enough!

8) Pharisees were not legalists; they were hypocrites. They said stuff they didn’t do. Most of the ensuing verses in Matthew 23 begin with, “Woe unto you Scribes, Pharisees, HYPOCRITES.” Pharisees did stuff for show, to lord it over others. The problem with Pharisees was not legalism. Let me say it again: the problem with Pharisees was not legalism.

9) Non-legalism can be just as destructive as legalism. There are many who have turned liberty into a law. I’ve known many an opponent of legalism who will scoff at you for wearing a tie to church.

10) Legalism is a problem, if you take legalism to mean something other than what legalism means. If legalism meant adhering to a man-made law of righteousness, that’s a problem–but that’s not legalism, that’s a cult. If legalism meant earning your salvation by works, that’s a problem–but that’s also not legalism, that’s self-righteousness. If legalism meant discarding Christ cuz you got this one, that’s a problem–but that’s not legalism, that’s pride.

Legalism Aint All Bad, But When it is, It Is!

Christians know we’re supposed to be different, but rather than wait around for the Spirit’s movement and the subtle changes of character gradually brought on to make huge differences, Christians have settled for external proofs of change.

In America, legalism targeted different foe through the years. Near the turn of the 20th Century, teetotalism was all the rage. Refraining from alcohol was a big deal. Legalists weren’t satisfied with keeping themselves not drunk, they insisted upon getting rid of all alcohol everywhere for everyone.

Christians soon gave that up and moved on to movies. Movie watching was akin to worshiping Baal. Setting foot in a movie theater meant you sold your soul.

Television came next. All the evils of movies were now in your home. The Devil has an invite to your children with the flip of a switch.

Then came Elvis Presley and his gyrating hips. Rock music and dancing were two peas in a pod and those peas need to be composted, brother.

Over the years legalism has targeted and then dropped one fad sin after the next. Obviously, in all these behaviors, there are dangers and evils lurking. My point is not that these things don’t have evil tendencies, they can, as there are evil tendencies with anything on this earth.

Legalism’s problem is that it makes people against these things apart from voluntary participation. You refrain because a guy made you feel guilty about it. Pride came in, obsessive concern with your self entered. You weren’t against sin for the sake of being against sin, you were against these sins so you’d fit in with your group.

Now, again, peer pressure is not the worst thing in the world. Legalism falters, however, when it chalks up spiritual worth to what was physically done. It’s the people of Israel bringing animals for sacrifice near the end. Yeah, they technically fulfilled the law but their heart wasn’t in it.

“Be not conformed to the world” is a tough phrase to digest. Legalism attempts to make you non-conformist to the world’s evil. But evil is shifty and hard to nail down. It’s not always external either.

Legalism settles for “be not conformed to the world” as its base principle. “As long as we’re different from those smoking, drinking, movie watching heathen scum, we must be good.”

But that’s not the whole phrase. “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Legalism doesn’t deal with the mind; it deals with the body, it deals with what can be measured and/or judged.

Legalism has its place. I said it, yup I did. All parents should be legalists to a certain degree. So too should teachers, bosses, governors, etc. But if legalism is our sole approach to God? We’re in big time trouble. God judges the heart.

Legalism is an obsession with conformity to law, which again isn’t all bad. What is bad is if external conformity to an external law is relied upon to prove a spiritual reality. In my mind, this is the danger of legalism.

Holiday Entertainment

It’s a holiday in America, Memorial Day–the day Americans remember all the men who made America win wars over all those other loser countries in the world–so I’m taking a break along with everyone else. Here are some videos I did a few years ago to provide you with some holiday entertainment and education.

 

How to Use the Gift of Christ
 

Let the Bible Define Grace

Did The New Testament Invent Grace?

Jogging with Jeff, not with Joel Osteen

I am Forty-Second

Well, at least I think I’m funny.

Leaving the Faith Happens one Skipped Church Service at a Time

I have spent almost 39 years in a pastor’s family, either by being a PK or being a pastor. Over this time I have seen many who have walked away from the faith.

I cannot remember anyone who walked away from the faith (not leaving just “our church”) due to falling for the arguments of an atheist.

I have seen many walk away because they got busy with stuff and Christianity was merely a burden to bear. Something to discard to make selfish living easier.

Faith is a living thing, as with all living things, it must be kept alive. One of the pitfalls of “once saved always saved” is that people think faith is static–I had it once and now I’m in.

But faith needs to be kept alive. Keeping faith alive happens by the Word, the Spirit and the Church. These are the means by which God ordained to keep our faith alive and active.

People leave the faith slowly. They peter out. Very few flame out, most just fade away. It starts slowly. Church attendance was once weekly, then couple times a month. More gets done without bothering with Church.

Then it’s down to once a month. Then down to going when the pastor calls. Next thing you know, they’re gone. I’ve seen it many, many times. So did C. S. Lewis. If you don’t believe me, then at least believe him.

“if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe.

“Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away? “

Don’t fade away. Keep the light burning. I know it’s Memorial Day weekend and you are busying memorializing, but go to church tomorrow. There’ll be plenty of time for barbecuing and doing yard work later.

C. S. Lewis on Health

“It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters.

“Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more -food, games, work, fun, open air.”

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Tornadoes, Your Neighbors and Charity

Ricky Gervais thinks sending money is better than prayer, it may or may not be. What I do know is that neither prayer nor sending money necessarily means love occurred.

Charity has come to mean–an organization that uses 80% of donated money for staff and 20% for doing some sort of indefinable good.

Charity used to mean–giving money to the poor.

Before that, charity meant–love.

When the Bible uses “charity” it means love. Love meant actively giving something to someone in need, not just saying nice things, or thinking happy thoughts. Giving is the essence of love, so much so that charity/love meant giving money.

Unfortunately, charity now means an organization our money is funneled through keeping us at a safe distance from involvement with anyone in need.

Thus, charity now is the furthest possible thing from love–not only are you not actually giving to the poor (you’re at best giving to an organization that does something or other), you don’t even know the poor you’re giving to.

Throwing money at people isn’t love. Praying for tornado victims is fine, giving money to them is fine, but neither is necessarily evidence of love.

In our news-cycle world we are faced with disasters daily. It is easy to express love and concern for people we don’t know. What is tough is to love the moron next door with the dumb dog who barks all day and night.

Feel free to love tornado victims in Oklahoma, but make sure you’ve sufficiently loved those you know are in need near you. Giving money is as easy as a click of the mouse and saying that you’ll “send prayers” sounds really nice on your Facebook status. But both might just mean you are lazy and want credit for being loving.

Give so your right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. Give to those in need, particularly those near you, ones you will be forced to truly face and actively love. All your self-vindicating demonstrations of charity will be tested for what they truly are.

Tornadoes, Prayer and Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais is a comedian and an atheist who enjoys picking on Christians. Atheism is the new Kabbalah. Remember how every celebrity was suddenly in Kabbalah for a while? Atheism is like sitting at the cool kid table.

I do not mind atheists picking on Christians. If there is a group of people in the world who need picking on, it’s Christians. After the recent tornado in Oklahoma, Gervais picked on faith yet again.

The spat began when Gervais put out a Tweet for his followers to donate money for victims of the tornado. This was followed by a “MTV News tweet reading, “Beyonce, Rihanna & Katy Perry send prayers to #Oklahoma #PrayForOklahoma.”

Gervais responded with another Tweet saying, “I feel like an idiot now, I only sent money.”

Christians, who are so busy being persecuted and living separate from the world, read this tweet and immediately got huffy. Gervais obviously is against prayer and thinks people who pray are doing nothing. I am outraged!

This is all quite comical, although the comedy was probably not intended by Gervais. I’m guessing Gervais does not know the book of James very well, but seems to me James would have tweeted the same point.

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Gervais is right! Praying for Oklahoma with no intention of helping Oklahoma is pretty close to pointless, if not sinful hypocrisy.

Again, let me say, prayer does not exist so we can avoid consequences. If you build a house in Tornado Alley, you have to expect this sort of thing. You can pray to have God put a “hedge of protection” around your Tornado Alley house, but bushes probably won’t help either.

I ask in all seriousness, when you say, “I send my thoughts and prayers to you,” what are you expecting that to do?

In my experience with Christians, any time I’ve heard someone say this to me, I know they are saying it to be nice. I have also noted that everyone who has said this to me has never actually done anything nice to follow it up.

I’m not telling you not to pray. I’m telling you not to use throwaway lines to cover up your inaction. That’s called “hypocrisy” and God does not take kindly to that.

Faith and Health Care

My back, right wrist, left elbow and both achilles hurt. They each hurt from different activities I have done in the past few days. Seems as though any time I move I hurt myself. I sneezed the other day and had back spasms for two days.

It is possible that I am getting old. It hardly seems fair that a nice guy like me should have to suffer and be in pain.

“The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves

This is an important verse for thinking about faith healing and even the “health and wealth gospel.” There is the notion that those who have the Holy Spirit are exempt from pain. That true believers defy the laws of nature. We can do any manner of activities in our old bodies and not have to feel the effects afterward.

Everyone wants a life free of consequences for actions. Our actions are typically stupid, ensuing consequences tend to be more stupid. Wouldn’t it be nice to skip the reaping part of sowing stupid?

Indeed it would. Technology is driven by this desire. Hangovers can be cured with magic pills. Abortion occurs many times for the sake of convenience. Wheels were invented to get to other sins quicker. Seriously, they were. It’s also why Wal-Mart was created.

But not all consequences are removed by technology, so where does this leave us? I guess, once we’ve exhausted physical remedies, we turn to faith.

Faith is chalked up as the god-send to skip consequences. “You can sin, live like heathen scum and if you have enough faith, God will heal all the problems your heathen scum lifestyle produced.”

Faith isn’t just applied to escaping sinful consequences though, it makes an appearance to defy the laws of nature (parents convicted of killing their second child who died while not seeking medical attention because they believed they would be healed). If Christians were able to enjoy health and wealth as everyday experience, we would certainly attract a following. Mainly a following of people who want health and wealth.

Obamacare would never have been thought of if faith worked like this! (Although it does take a considerable amount of faith to believe Obamacare will help. . .)

The health and wealth gospel wants you to get God for your physical benefit, seemingly skipping the idea that even those with the Spirit groan and suffer.

Groaning and suffering are life. Then you die. This is true if you are heathen scum or if you have the Holy Spirit. This world was never the point. Faith was not invented to make your life here pain-free. It was invented to get you out of this world of pain and into the presence of your Creator.

C. S. Lewis on Individuals Being More Important than Nations

“If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilisation, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual.

“But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of the state or civilisation, compared with his, is only a moment.”

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

“We Know Not What we should Pray for as we Ought” What Does that Mean?

Prayer is a subject that gets attention. One would think that with all the attention there would be some logic. Riiiight.

I recently listened to a sermon on the necessity of prayer to keep your life from falling apart. At one point the preacher said he wanted to keep praying so his life would stay together, he wouldn’t fail his calling, so that his church members didn’t have to be embarrassed to see their disgraced pastor walking down the street.

Now, I can sort of see the point. Not disgracing the ministry is a legitimate concern, but should it be the basis of our prayer life? Is avoiding embarrassment the point of prayer?

He also went on to say that prayer is what makes a ministry successful, that if you pray you will get converts and if you don’t your life will tank.

Again, I cannot argue against prayer aiding the ministry, but did not Jeremiah and Ezekiel pray for Israel? Didn’t Paul pray for Israel and yet repeatedly were met with failure? When Christ prayed, “Take this cup from me” it was not removed.

If our motivation for prayer is: “help my physical experience to be better,” and that’s it, we have some problems.

Romans 8 talks about prayer and the famous phrase about how we don’t know how to pray. I have heard this used to teach that

1) praying really isn’t all that big a deal anyway since we don’t know how to do it.
2) don’t expect answers to prayer because you don’t know what you’re doing
3) yes, Paul says we don’t know how to pray, but he meant sometimes we don’t know how to pray.
4) prayer is really hard, even Paul doesn’t know how to do it, what chance do you have?

I’ve rarely been comfortable with the applications I’ve been handed out of Romans 8:26.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Notice Paul doesn’t say, “we don’t know how to pray.” Sure we do, the Bible tells us. Remember the disciples’ famous question, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Did Jesus answer with, “Sorry, no can do, you don’t know how to pray and I’m gonna leave you there.” No, He taught them to pray.

Paul does not say we don’t know how to pray, he says we don’t know what to pray for as we ought. But the Spirit helps us in this infirmity by interceding. There are two phrases about the Spirit’s involvement with our prayer

1) The Spirit helps our infirmity–the infirmity being that we are fleshly minded and desire fleshly results, which leads us to not pray for the right things, as James says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” In order to pray for the right things we must use the spiritual mind we’ve been given not base prayer on our physical desires.

2) The Spirit intercedes with groanings that cannot be uttered. This means either the Spirit does prayers for us that we don’t know about, or it may mean we are in a state of prayer that defies words. Perhaps it is both as I have heard both expressed by commentators.

One thing it means is that we need the Spirit to help us pray. I can’t imagine denying this point. The reason why is because we don’t have a clue what’s really going on and most of our concerns are physical.

Right before this verse Paul’s context is hope. In order to understand a passage you have to use its context. “hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Hope is all about the unseen; which leads Paul into prayer and how we don’t know what to pray for as we ought, which is why we need the Spirit. The Spirit is not seen. Most of our prayers are looking for a see-able answer. If we always got a see-able answer we would not have hope, nor need the Spirit!

God has big things in mind. Eternal things, things we can’t see yet. It’s part of the weakness of the flesh that only the Spirit can answer. It’s what Romans 8 is about.

Want Glory? Then Suffer

I love music. I particularly love loud music. I inherited this from my father who used to play his music loud. When my dad died, I inherited his stereo, which can put out some good sound and also has a big subwoofer attached.

I can rattle dishes upstairs.

It is awesome.

Obviously I would rather have my dad than his stereo, but I am grateful that I can enjoy his stereo now that he’s no longer using it. I did not take his golf clubs because I knew I would struggle to remember him fondly with those.

When we think of inheritance we always think of good stuff. Not long ago we were asked if we wanted to take some distant German relative’s inheritance. This sounds like a good deal, except that the German government does not tell you what the inheritance is, and it might be debts you are now liable for!

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” is the major portion of Romans 8:17 we hear. We love to talk about being children of God, inheriting heaven and the meek inheriting the recreated earth. Sweet!

Romans 8:17 has another bit with it though, here is the complete verse: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

Our inheritance in Christ includes glorification, this is true, and this glorification is a tremendous thing. But in order to get it, you have to suffer. This suffering is not limited to bodily suffering due to being a fallen creature in a fallen world, I believe it is specifically referring to suffering for righteousness sake.

Paul specifically says “if so be that we suffer WITH Him.” It’s not general suffering of all people, but a specific suffering with Christ, joining in His sufferings, akin to Paul’s goals in Philippians–that he may know the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.

Before we start jumping to inheritance, it is important to go where Paul went in talking about inheritance–you have to suffer for it. Apparently, based on Paul’s verbiage, if we don’t suffer we have no reason to believe we’ll be glorified.

This does not mean we must suffer to be saved. What it means is that true salvation results in living godly, which leads to suffering. One of the tests of whether you are saved is whether you suffer for it. If you do, you then have the confident expectation of glorification.

There are reasons why Romans 8:17 is rarely fully quoted: no one wants to deal with this inconvenient truth, but since Paul brings it up, I imagine we might want to deal with it.

Ticks, Mosquitoes and Judging Sin

Just pulled a tick out of my son’s head. In Northern Wisconsin, ticks are a risk. They carry Lyme’s disease and other increasingly bizarre diseases. They are nothing to mess around with.

I do not seem to attract ticks. Some think ticks don’t like everyone, that there’s some smell or something about certain people they don’t like (could just be I’m ticked off all the time). (Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week) (except tomorrow). But I’ve also found, and this is pure theory based on anecdotal evidence, that those who do not attract ticks seem to attract mosquitoes more!

Mosquitoes flock to me. I know other guys who hardly seem to be bothered by mosquitoes and yet they tend to get more ticks. Hmmm.

Bugs are annoying no matter what kind of bug they are. Those who attract ticks laugh at those who are constantly swatting mosquitoes away and those with all the mosquitoes laugh at the guy who is picking ticks off himself for half an hour every time he comes inside.

This is a manifestation of Bug Judgmentalism. “Why you swattin mosquitoes? They aint even bad?” “I don’t know, why you pickin ticks so much, I aint got a one.”

Yup, we all talk in that dialect when it comes to judging others. Similar to how we talk like a fat, Baptist preacher from the Deep South when we judge homosexuality, cussers and other sins that don’t affect us. Can I get an Amen? A-ha-men-ah.

Our ability to judge others’ experiences by our own is what gives Christians such a positive reputation among “sinners.” Since I do not struggle with homosexual or cussing temptations, I use all the more outrage against those who do.

However, when it comes to my favorite sins, I rarely mention them, don’t judge others on them and instead give others who don’t struggle with that sin an opportunity to return the judging favor.

Judging others harshly: it’s what makes the world go round.

There is a place for judgment, it’s goofy to deny that. But it must be done the right way and should always be done with “the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

I don’t think this temptation is limited to falling into the same sin you are judging, but being tempted to be proud and an arrogant jerk as we attempt to restore a sinful person.

Sin is a bad deal, it must be dealt with, and part of the Church’s job is to help one another overcome sin, which means pointing it out and helping battle it. Go gentle with it though, cuz we all gonna get bit by sumpin sometime.

Presidential Scandals and Faith

Apparently our president is involved in multiple scandals. I know I’m supposed to be outraged. There are abuses of rights and privacy and infringement. But in all honesty, even if I were outraged, I don’t know what that would do for me. What is an outraged citizen supposed to do?

From what I’ve observed, being a good, outraged citizen means

1) voting
2) posting political rants on Facebook, or if that’s too time-consuming, re-post pictures with pithy outraged statements on them on Facebook.

I fail to see how this does any good. Voting has gone on in this country for a long time and this is where the country is. I fail to see how voting is helping. If only God had told us that following the majority of people was a bad idea. Oh wait, never mind.

Saying (or reposting) outraged statements may feel good, but it is not working the righteousness of God.

I know when good men do nothing, bad men take over, etc.

But bad men have always ruled here, that’s one of history’s main points. “The meek shall inherit the earth,” is what the follower of Christ is told.

Inheritance comes after the death of the one who owns what you inherit. Satan is the god of this world and his minions rule it. When they are all gone, I get it! I’m cool with this, particularly because they will all be gone and righteousness will rein.

I do not want the earth today, nor do I care that Barrack Obama or any other politician wants it to the extent he will infringe upon my rights to get it.

I gave up my rights here when I began living for There. Man can take whatever he wants; he can’t take what I’m gonna get.

Now, I know followers of Christ are supposed to fight injustice and particularly care for the poor, orphan and widow. Political theory never accomplishes this; it merely makes poor, orphans and widows more likely.

I do my part in my life to fulfill this obligation and do not rely upon politicians to do it for me.

My obligation toward government is to pay my taxes, obey and pray for them. My primary concern is to pray for them. The result of this, contrary to popular belief, is not to become outraged, but is to become quiet and peaceful in all godliness and honesty. Vine’s defines these words as “the composed, discreet, self-contained man, who keeps himself from rash doing: is he who is withdrawn from outward disturbances.”

Christians constantly whine about lack of peace and everyone is “busy,” not quiet (at rest), meanwhile we are outraged by every breaking of wind in Washington. I dare say there’s a connection.

Anyone who wants this world is not coming from the standpoint of faith. Faith always lives for the Better Country. You want this one? You want to tap my phone lines, audit me, blow up my house because I “posted a YouTube video?” Go for it. You can have it; I got a better one coming.

Rhetorical Devices, Jesus and Serving Two Masters

I am a moron. I know this because 1) I’ve lived with me a long time and 2) lots of people have told me. I have come to grips with this reality, maybe even reveled in it from time to time. I am a fully functional moron.

One of the times I was informed of my moronicness is when I published my book The Gospel-Filled Wallet. I was accused of not understanding that Jesus uses rhetorical devices.

My opening chapter is about me loving my stuff and thus concluding that I hated God. I based this on the verse saying–no man can serve God and mammon (wealth, riches, stuff) because he will hate the one and love the other.

It’s a little known fact that the original title for the whole book was going to be “I Think I Hate God.” I can only imagine what a moron I would be today if I had gone with that title.

I was accused of not understanding Jesus’ affinity for rhetorical devices. A “rhetorical device” is defined by dictionaries as “a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance).”

A “rhetorical device” is defined by Christians as, “stuff Jesus says I don’t have to deal with cuz I know He didn’t really mean it, duh, it’s a rhetorical device.”

A rhetorical device is a way of making a point. The point is true and to stress its truthiness, extreme language is used. No one use exaggeration in making a point to deny the point being made.

The Chicago Cubs are the stupidest organization in the world. That’s a rhetorical device using hyperbole. Obviously the Nazi Party is slightly more stupid. Ah, I did it again!

Now, although my actual statement may be overstated, my point is clear–I think the Cubs are stupid.

When Jesus says you can’t love both God and mammon, which then means if I love my wealth I hate God, I think He actually meant something by that. I think it means if I love what my wealth does for me then I do hate God.

To me, that’s His point and I think it would help us to think in these terms. If I were given the choice between God or my wealth I’d go with God. But life is not made up of stark choices that often.

Life and your wealth have a way of weeding their way in, slightly distracting you. Even while you tell yourself, “Oh, I’d choose God over my stuff,” the stuff sure seems to take up a lot of your time.

Jesus is using a rhetorical device, it is true. There is a hyperbolic contrast going on in serving two masters. But His point is very true. One of the points of being born again, being made a spiritual creation, is to disinterest you in the things of this world.

If Jesus took time, and a lot of time at that, to warn us about money and how it destroys faith, I think we ought to listen up.

The Gospel-Filled Wallet

About three years ago I published a book. My intent was to have it be so warmly received, so transformational, so powerful in its effects that I would not even have to lift a finger to get people to read it.

When the book came out it was reviewed by a number of people, few of whom whole-heartedly got behind my message. Then the publisher went out of business, which seemed about right. Family, friends and mailmen avoided the subject with vigor.

So, the book is still on Amazon and can be bought cheaply as it sells for what it costs to publish a copy. I also have a box of them in my basement.

I’m not a good salesman. I hate sales. But as I reflect on the book and the passing of years, I have heard enough from people who found the book helpful that I am encouraged to bring it up again and see if anyone else would like to read it.

Here are some reader reviews:

“Every soul on earth is precious, including yours. Do yourself a favor and feed it good food for a change.”
–From Frank Zimmerman’s Amazon review

“In The Gospel-Filled Wallet, Weddle doesn’t attempt an exhaustive exegesis of all things money and wealth.  He does provide witty, pastoral and provocative insights to get us thinking the right way.  You’ll find the book an easy read and one that will encourage more faithful stewardship.”
–a blog review

“Weddle is to be commended for taking on a challenging and controversial topic head-on with an approach that many would consider counter-intuitive or dead wrong. The Gospel-Filled Wallet is Weddle’s biblical version of an “inconvenient truth.” If a book worthy of being read is one in which both your head and heart have been challenged, then The Gospel-Filled Wallet is worthy of our prayerful consideration.”
–BibleX review

“I would recommend that Christians read The Gospel Filled Wallet, then really pray about and focus on both what the Bible says about money / wealth and what He wants each of us to do with it in our lives. You may not agree with the conclusions Jeff reaches, but you will definitely be challenged to look at money in a fresh and new way and then be challenged to live the model that God gives you.”
–blog review

“This book pulls back the curtain and reveals a professing church that is very far off base when it comes to wealth. I have been challenged to reexamine my heart and how I use what God has provided. I recommend the work and hope that everyone who reads it will in the end love and serve God more and use their blessings more wisely to God’s glory.”
–blog review

“For brave, idol-smashing studies of the Bible, there aren’t many writers stronger than Jeff.”
–My publisher I put out of business. Sorry Milton.

Click here to buy your copy from amazon

Click here to buy one directly from me

Abba Aint Your Daddy

Ever heard this one?

Abba is a child’s word, one of the first words a little Jewish boy would say. Kind of like our word pappa. It’s a term of endearment, not an official title. This shows that God is our Daddy! How comforting! How joyous! He’s not a big scary God! He’s Daddy!

As a pastor, it saddens me to be lumped in with pastors who take liberties with facts. So many cookie cutter sermon illustrations are flat-out wrong. The “abba means daddy” one is no different.

It’s complete hooey.

I am preaching out of Romans 8 this Sunday and the verse that says, “ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” In looking up some info on the internets I came across this article from The Gospel Coalition written recently about this very issue.

Abba doesn’t mean daddy. In fact, after doing some more researching, “Abba” is a Syrian word for father. When the Bible says “Abba Father” it is using the Syrian word and then the Hebrew word for “father.”

There are some who think Paul’s usage of it in Romans is showing there is a unified love God has for all His children–Gentile and Jew by using both a Gentile and a Hebrew word for “father.”

It’s not a child’s word, it’s a Syrian word, a different language. The term means “father,” maybe even “my father.”It was not a childish expression comparable with ‘Daddy’: it was a more solemn, responsible, adult address to a Father.”

Certainly there is a father’s love at work with God, but in order to accentuate the fatherliness of God, there is no need to lie and overdo things.

Fathers are an authority, ones who discipline their children. Yes, there is a unique display of love going on there, one very descriptive of God’s love, but lets not trivialize it.

Living With a Dork Requires Patience. Ask My Wife.

My wife and I have been married for almost 17 years. Probably the stupidest thing I ever said to her happened when we were on our way to pick up our wedding rings in downtown St. Paul.

As Governor Jesse “The Mind” Ventura once said, “The streets of St. Paul were designed by drunk Irishmen.” He got in trouble for saying that, as happens when a guy speaks truth.

In the midst of missing our exit and always getting one-way streets going the opposite one way we needed, I got frustrated with my soon-to-be wife. “You don’t have to talk to me like I’m stupid” she said.

To which I replied, “Well, if you didn’t drive like you were stupid I wouldn’t.”

Sin really messes with stuff. We all know how sin brought death, created weeds, made men sweaty and women whiny during childbirth. We know how sin leads to consequences, we reap what we sow and how the sins of the fathers will be passed down to the third and fourth generations.

One of the aspects of sin’s mess we don’t often consider is what it does to God.

Before Noah’s ark, it repented God He had made humanity. They were evil continually and God had second thoughts about creating them.

Psalm 7 tells us God is angry with the wicked every day and Psalm 5 tells us God hates all workers of iniquity (even though Christians will continue to say “God hates sin but loves the sinner”).

We love that God is described as patient, kind, merciful, and willing to forgive. Perhaps we don’t think enough about His patience. Another word for “patience” is “longsuffering.” To suffer a long time.

When we sin, it causes God to suffer. I imagine we don’t think this is a big deal because God is “outside of time.” How long can “long” be for someone not impacted by time? I’m not sure we fully understand God’s relation to time well enough.

If God has no relation to time then He can’t be patient or longsuffering, two things the Bible describes Him as. God is also described as being jealous. He is not pleased that we serve another master.

My wife was patient with me in St. Paul, we did make it to the jeweler and we even made it to our wedding. Seventeen years later my wife has learned to put up with my dumb remarks and I am learning to not say (and perhaps not even think) as many hurtful comments.

Sin hurts people and it hurts God. Sin requires others and God to be longsuffering and patient with you. Next time you blithely sin, remember the patience on display by others and particularly that of God.

Your fleshly pleasure is suffering for another. Does that matter to you?

Be a No Confidence Man

I lack confidence. Always have and I imagine I always will. I have my reasons, ones that are based somewhat in reality, or at least were at the beginning! By “confidence” I mean being self-assured.

I have no confidence in me. I have confidence in God, which further makes me not have confidence in me. I will let the Psalmist say it for me, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

I consider myself to be a man, thus not worthy of my confidence!

In our society “confidence” seems to mean “the ability to talk loudly, get your vision across and sell stuff.” Confidence is generally defined in terms of people skills–our ability to be a jerk regardless of what anyone thinks.

OK, maybe that last statement was over the top, but seriously, that appears to be the world’s idea of a “confident man.”

Here’s the deal–when an un-confident person attempts to be confident, he just gets weird. He is trying to be what he is not. The quiet person gets louder. The shy person talks more. The non-seller tries selling.

Confident people tend to all look the same, which carries with it some irony. But it is my increasing opinion that true confidence is not the ability to be obnoxious or to play a part, or to become Type-A Mr. “I could sell snow to an Eskimo” Man.

No, confidence means trusting the Lord, not me. I’m just me. That’s who I am. I imagine that by the grace of God I will continue to be who I am. This is not an excuse for me to be a jerk though. “Hey, sorry I crushed you with sarcasm, but hey, that’s who I am, so deal.”

That’s just as obnoxious as Type-A Mr. “I could sell snow to an Eskimo” Man. When I see confident, cool people all act, talk, shave, wear glasses and dress the same, it shows their underlying lack of confidence. It takes no confidence to act cool.

Confidence is required to act the fool. To be the outsider. To be the offscouring of the world. But this can be taken wrong too. Being a fool is nothing to brag about. Confident fools are no good. Having the guts to be the class clown doesn’t mean you are confident; it might just mean you’re a clown.

Confidence is to be placed in God, in the work of His Spirit in you. Is His Spirit in you? Then trust Him, follow Him; not because you’re trying to be cool, but because you realize you have no clue, nothing in you to rest on.

No longer I but Christ. I have no confidence in my idiotic self. I do have confidence in God. I plan on following Him and seeing where I end up. By the grace of God I am what I am and God gives grace to the humble.

When I am weak THEN am I strong. That’s not a platitude, that actually means something.

How to Defeat Sin

All week I’ve been hitting the point that we are physical and God is spiritual and this is the main reason why His wisdom is higher than ours, His take on life is so foreign to us.

Mainly I’ve covered this in relation to seeking physical things for our physical needs, but I dare say our desire to solve every problem with a physical solution creeps into our spiritual pursuits as well.

Sin is a spiritual problem that must be cured. It comes from our diseased heart and results from our fleshly lusts. Our flesh, dying body is selfish, wants its life preserved. It craves sustenance and wants what it wants. Lust breeds sin.

Sin is the result of seeking the physical not the spiritual (God’s way). How do we overcome sin?

There are many sinners who want to defeat sin. Sin costs a lot, embarrasses you when you get caught, hurts you and others. There are many physical reasons why some want to defeat sin. Sometimes that physical pain is enough to get people to stop.

There is no spiritual power needed to stop a sin. All you need is a greater physical payoff to stop it than to continue in it.

Enter legalism!

Odds are, all you’ve done is replace one sin with another–this is why legalists are so proud and arrogant with their self-righteousness. Some might be better served to go back to their original sin than be overbearingly proud and self-righteous. They’d certainly make better company.

The true battle is not against A sin; the true battle is against Sin in all its forms. There is no physical way to stop sin as a whole. The Law is the best weapon and the Bible concludes it won’t work.

The Law can tell you what right and wrong are, but it can’t make you stop sinning. In order to stop sinning and walk in righteousness you have to cease being alive to the flesh. The answer is for the physical to be made spiritual. You must be born again.

Legislating morality will succeed to a certain extent–if the punishment hurts the flesh more than the reward pleases it. But to defeat sin in totality, laws won’t work, nothing external will work. There is no flesh, physical thing that will give you victory over sin.

You must be born again.

How to Stop Worrying

While I’m contemplating my rotting house (found out last night they make this vinyl drip fascia that runs along there, which costs money but will solve the problem), I got the annual bill for house insurance. Then got one for the car insurance. I always forget about insurance bills and they always come at the wrong time.

Houses falling apart and money flying away tend to make a guy worry, especially when that guy has a wife and three kids and everything else falling apart too.

Worry is a worrisome thing. Jesus commands us not to worry, so when I do, I worry that I’m worrying. I don’t think that was His point.

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”

He says it so easily. “Oh, OK Jesus, I’ll just go ahead and stop worrying now.” How does this happen? How can Jesus say it? I said this the other day:

Flesh people think water, food, clothing and shelter are vital.
Spirit God thinks the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, righteousness and eternity are vital.

God has a different view of life. We, being physical think bread is important: Jesus says man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. If we fed our Spirit as automatically as we fed our bodies, we’d be better off.

We, being physical, think water is important: Jesus tells the woman at the well she can have the Holy Spirit and never thirst again. When she sees His point, she leaves her waterpot and runs to tell others about the Messiah. If we drank the Spirit, were filled with Him, as much as we quenched our physical thirst, we’d be better off.

We, being physical, think clothing is important, not just to cover us up, but to make us look gooood: Jesus says we need to be clothed in righteousness. If we took as much time making being concerned with righteous living as we do paying attention to our physical appearance, we’d be better off.

We, being physical, think it’s crucial to have shelter: Jesus tells us to seek a heavenly home, don’t mind this earthly tent, but live for your eternal home. If we took as much time furnishing our heavenly home as we do fixing up our physical home, we’d be better off.

We mind the wrong things. Constantly. Physical things are so temporary, so fleeting, there’s really no point in getting hot and bothered over them. Mind the heavenly, not the earthly. It’s the heavenly that lasts.

I imagine this makes more sense to a guy in heaven than it does to a guy here. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word, He knows what He’s talking about. Set your affections on things above, don’t get entangled with the affairs of this life.

Worry flees when heaven is your true home.

Life is Vain, Even if Your Prayers are Answered

House is still not painted. Rotten wood is still not replaced. In this context, what does it mean to “seek a spiritual solution” to this physical problem?

I imagine many Christians would say seeking a spiritual solution means to “pray about it.” How does one pray about a house that needs paint? I mean, I get it, I can tell Jesus my house needs painting and go over some details about what needs painting and what boards need replacing. I can ask for “wisdom” in choosing the right paint and application method. I could pray for someone else to read my blog and volunteer to paint it for me.

Undoubtedly, “pray about it” means

1) Ask God to help get it done
2) Ask God to help my attitude

I Imagine that would be “seeking a spiritual solution” to my physical problem.

If some blog reader comes to my house and paints it I would have “an answer to prayer!” That would be swell, but what do I do ten years from now when it needs new paint? Or, as my luck generally goes, the blog reader who paints it has worse vision than mine and tends to put too much paint on his brush and drips all over the place. Is that still an answer to prayer?

OK, so no blog reader paints my house and I end up doing it. It takes all summer and I get sunburned repeatedly. I discover that the whole front of my house is rotten and mold spores are killing my children. This Fall I get diagnosed with skin cancer from too much sunburn. Did I not seek a spiritual solution enough?

Solomon is often credited with a bad attitude due to his book, Ecclesiastes. Solomon has no worse an attitude than any other observer of life. Solomon just has the guts to honestly tell you what’s up–life is vanity. The End.

It’s not just vanity, it’s “vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” He repeats it. It’s not just vain, it’s the vainest vain currently vaining.

Our notion that “seeking a spiritual solution” somehow makes life less vain is one of the worst deceptions of so-called Christianity. We know enough to know the Health and Wealth Gospel is false teaching, but brother, don’t you go messing with the Comfortable Gospel.

We like to think Jesus is on call to do our bidding, so our lives are remarkably free from the laws that govern the rest of creation. Miserable Christians with rebellious kids and failing marriages non-stop blathering about how Jesus got them a good parking spot. It’s unreal.

Life is vain. The Bible couldn’t say it any plainer. You can pray all day and life will still be vain. Know what? Even if your prayers were answered and all your physical problems were removed? Your life is still vain. (remember: Solomon got an answer to his prayer–he got lots of wisdom!)

Seeking the spiritual solution to physical problems ends up with you looking like the beatitudes and your approach to the rotten, unpainted house will look a lot like, “Oh well, whatever. Guess I’ll waste more vain money on my vain house. Hey, what’s for dinner?

Why Pray About Physical Problems?

Well, I went outside and checked. My house is not painted yet (If that does not have a context for you, see yesterday’s post). What’s up with that? I thought doing a blog post about seeking the spiritual to solve physical problems would get me results.

Alas, the trim on the house is still a mess. What does it mean to seek a spiritual answer to a physical problem? Why pray about physical troubles?

There are a couple things to consider in attempting to answer:

1) God does care about your physical problems, just probably not for the same reasons you do! This doesn’t mean they are inconsequential, or that He does not feel compassion for you, it merely means our approach to physical things is different from God’s.

2) I do not ascribe to the idea that the purpose of prayer is “merely to bring us into alignment with God’s will” and that’s it. I believe being in alignment with God’s will is ONE OF the purposes of prayer, but not the sole purpose. I do believe prayer changes things and I believe prayer can influence physical reality. I believe this because of the Bible.

3) Neither my experience, nor yours, is our guide for direction. God’s Word is what we rely on and we must take that over all our experience that seems to deny scriptural reality.

4) Although I do believe our growth in knowledge and love of God is more important than our physical condition, this does not belittle our physical condition, but actually increases its importance. The height of vanity is physical suffering in the life of an unbeliever.

5) I do not believe that everything that happens to us is God’s will. There is no mysterious reason from God why I got smacked in the shin with a baseball two days ago resulting in a large painful bump. It happened cuz of God’s ordained laws of physics. I do not believe God took any time in eternity to orchestrate my pain. He knows it, He cares about it, and He is watching to see what I do with it, but much that goes on down here is not God’s will. This is the only way the Lord’s Prayer makes any sense. Our God is not the God of the Koran, nor are we fatalistically thrown from the frying pan into the fire.

People ask me all the time to pray for this sick person, and that person with no job, and various other physical conditions that are deemed “bad.” I imagine they want me to pray for healing, a job, or some other physical alleviation.

This is not my prayer. I always pray that whatever would bring this person closer to Christ would happen. If that means they lose a limb or remain unemployed, then so be it. If miraculous delivery would serve them best, then go for that.

Being transformed into the image of Christ is our goal. Tribulation and suffering achieve this, death being the final barrier. Paul, in his request to know Christ, first lists knowing the “power of His resurrection.”  Paul no doubt gets many “amens” on that point!

But I imagine the ameners quiet down as he gets to “and the fellowship of His sufferings.” Yeah, There’s probably one guy who says “ame. . .” and then quits, sensing he is the only one amening and realizes he wasn’t really listening. “Being made conformable to His death.” Crickets don’t even chirp at that one.

Suffering and death are two huge ways God uses to form us into Christ and yet we immediately cry for them to go away!

God does care about your physical suffering, just not for the same reason you do!

C. S. Lewis on Spoiling Pets

“If you need to be needed and if your family, very properly, decline to need you, a pet is the obvious substitute. You can keep it all its life in need of you.

“You can keep it permanently infantile, reduce it to permanent invalidism, cut it off from all genuine animal well-being, and compensate for this by creating needs for countless little indulgences which only you can grant.

“The unfortunate creature thus becomes very useful to the rest of the household; it acts as a sump or drain–you are too busy spoiling a dog’s life to spoil theirs.

“To be sure, it’s all very bad luck for the animal. But probably it cannot fully realize the wrong you have done it. Better still, you would never know if it did. The most down-trodden human, driven too far, may one day turn and blurt out a terrible truth. Animals can’t speak.

“Those who say, ‘The more I see of man the better I like dogs’–those who find in animals a relief from the demands of human companionship–will be well advised to examine their real reasons.”

–C. S. Lewis
The Four Loves

Painting The House With Jesus

I hate painting. Our house needs another painting. I hate that. We painted it about ten years ago. It took for-e-ver. We had to apply a coat of primer and two coats of paint to cover the old ugly orangish yuck that was on there.

This time was supposed to be easy. I went out yesterday to start prepping the white trim around the edge of the eaves. As I began chipping away paint, I hit a few mushy parts of wood. “Oooo, that’s not good.”

Anytime a guy can push his finger through a piece of wood, it means one of two things.

1) He has really strong fingers
2) He has really rotten wood

Although I do have pretty good grip-strength in my fingers, this is rotten wood. I hate it when a painting project turns into a carpentry project.

T’would be nice if spiritual power could come through for a guy to fix a physical problem. I reckon no matter how much I prayed and begged God to fix my rotten wood and repaint my house, it aint gonna happen.

I could pray til I was blue in the face and I’m still gonna end up painting the dumb house. I’d then have to pray to get my face to turn un-blue.

Since we know spiritual power can’t fix our physical problems, we generally tend to go with a physical fix, often not even thinking of God at any point.

There’s an infamous portion of Scripture where king Asa dies and God is not pleased because “in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.”

Many have used this verse to support the idea that going to a doctor is a lack of faith. Can one seek the Lord AND physicians? Probably, but Asa didn’t, and thus the issue.

God being spirit and us being flesh presents a dilemma in our relationship. We don’t mind the same things. We immediately seek the physical to answer the physical and often seek the physical to answer the spiritual.

How often do we seek the spiritual to meet all needs–physical and spiritual? And, what in the world does it even mean to “seek the spiritual?”