Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Scratching the Surface of Revelation
A prayer line shared by Presbyterian Elders in Prayer and Belvidere, Illinois' First Presbyterian Church along with my cellular's voicemail have the same message: "Someday everybody will return from the cemetery but you or me. If that thought troubles you, you really don't get it. You really don't understand what Jesus has done for you. I would like to talk to you about Him at anytime. The most important thing is your personal relationship with Jesus so you can face the future unafraid - here, now, and forever."
Everybody's gonna die in time on earth - sooner or later yet definitely whether it's sooner or later.
Everybody's gonna live forever with the ultimate destination being the only interrogative.
That's what Revelation is all about - ultimate destinations.
Precisely, everybody's gonna live forever in heaven or hell in the end.
Revelation was especially entrusted or breathed into John to encourage people who are going to heaven to see beyond immediate burdens to eternal blessings: "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to show to His servants the things that must soon take place...Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near."
This last book of the Bible has been revealed to women and men who have chosen voluntarily to be servants/slaves of the Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior.
Eschatologically (because this book points to end times) and existentially (because knowledge of the positive outcome in the end for those who have chosen God enables a sense of triumph over temptations and tribulations in the meantime), Revelation is about the consequences of the voluntary decision to be or not to be a believer in God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him...I will grant with him to sit with Me on My throne..."
This volitional choice to be or not to be a believer with consequences here and now and forever was articulated so clearly, concisely, and conclusively by our Lord in the most famous or at least quoted words of Holy Scripture: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light..."
God provides the choice - "No one can serve two masters" - but we must choose.
C.S. Lewis referred to this choice as The Great Divorce: "It is...'either-or.' If we insist on keeping Hell,...we shall not see Heaven. If we accept Heaven, we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell...There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice, there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened."
That's the big message of Revelation.
We get to choose our ultimate destinies; and Revelation is explicit in providing the details of this great divorce.
Heaven awaits anyone/everyone who chooses God: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore..."
Hell awaits anyone/everyone who fails to choose God: "Torment...no rest...the second death, the lake of fire..."
The good news for those who choose God and the bad news for those who do not are in the words of the Lord: "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with Me, to repay everyone for what he has done."
It's a consistent message in Holy Scripture.
David: "The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish...The Lord has set apart the Godly for Himself..."
Jesus: "I will separate the sheep from the goats...Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you...Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels...[and explaining how behavior confirms the belief that determines ultimate destinies]...As you did it to/for them, you did it to/for Me."
Unless one is dense by design or decision, it is impossible to read Holy Scripture and not acknowledge the ultimately and distinctively different destinies of those who choose and those who do not choose God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior.
That's the big message of the book, the whole book, and nothing but the book with Revelation highlighting that message with symbolic language and flare to encourage everyone who has chosen God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior.
Certainly, there are many other important lessons to be learned in Revelation.
If you want to know what heaven will be like, it's there (viz., 24/7/365 worship): "Day and night they never cease to say, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty..."
If you want to know the difference between good/Godly churches and bad/unGodly churches, there are seven letters to 1st century churches commending behaviors confirming authentic belief and condemning behaviors exposing infidelity with striking parallels to contemporary versions of the same.
If you want to know more about battles between good and evil that will get worse before the final score, it's there.
Yet, again, as Grandpa Kopp warned, "Don't miss the forest for the trees!"
Revelation is about Jesus as Alpha and Omega - Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior - who has always wanted to save us for Himself forever and will do that with enthusiasm, without equivocation, and without exception as the ultimate consequence/destiny of our choosing Him.
I like Tozer's summary of this book as a summary of the whole book and nothing but the book: "Since the Christian is a part of God's eternal purpose, he knows he must win at last, and he can afford to be calm even when the battle seems to be temporarily going against him."
Then Tozer echoes C.S. Lewis' conclusion of the great divorce by choice: "The world has no such 'blissful center' upon which to rest and is therefore constantly shifting about, greatly elated today, terribly cast down tomorrow, and wildly excited the next day."
We live triumphantly here and now and forever because our Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior predetermined that triumph in the end for all who choose Him.
That's what I've concluded by scratching the surface of the book, the whole book, and nothing but the book.
It's possible to live happily ever after by the book.
...to be concluded...
Blessings and Love!
Monday, January 27, 2014
Scratching the Surface of Jude
Following Jude's lead, let's be honest about churches.
Historically, church membership rolls have been polluted by people who really don't get it/Him and often don't really want to get it/Him but just wanna be listed as posingly getting it/Him for mostly social reasons or something equally hypocritical; noting the Greek word for hypocrite that Jesus used referred to people who wear masks to conceal who they really are.
Again, historically, we know lots of clergy who have been employed by churches without being called by God who don't get it/Him and often don't really want to get it/Him but just wanna pose for a catalogue of reasons suggesting pejorative pathologies rather than confessional intentions.
Biblically, we know Jesus knows who they are; or as He said, "They come in sheep's clothing..."
They slither into churches like terrorist sleeper cells to ravage and rape the sheep at "an opportune time": "...unGodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
Yes, they may mouth faith and go through the motions of faith; but their true character is exposed by their antics to distract, detour, divide, destroy, and damn: "...ungodliness...These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires...loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage...scoffers, following their own unGodly passions...cause divisions...worldly people...devoid of the Spirit..."
While Jude wanted to be warm and fuzzy and extol everybody and everything, his discipleship demanded honesty to God and the Godly: "Although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation..."
So it's nothing new.
Bad apples find their way into barrels of fresh ones and threaten to make 'em as rotten as they are.
Truly authentic Christian leaders - there's a need for redundancy to press home the importance of The Good Shepherd's call to undershepherds to encourage, equip, and protect the sheep - know they must, in obedience to clear commands in Matthew 18 and Romans 16, identify the irregular, irascible, and irreconcilable; isolating them from the immature and maturing and praying and laboring for their redemption via confession and repentance and removing them if they continue their dark behaviors.
Jude's concerns then remain contemporary as churches are inhibited and sidetracked from becoming part of the Church by unconverted clergy, unconvinced laity, and Pharisaical reincarnations.
Succinctly, unconverted clergy are women and men without faith in church leadership who lied about their infidelities to "get" ordained, never really believed but faked it to "get" ordained, or abandoned Biblical Christology somewhere somehow along the way but lack the integrity to admit it. Unconvinced laity are the children of unconverted clergy. Pharisaical reincarnations substitute organizational order and human traditions for the commandments of God as enfleshed in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture.
They were a problem exposed by Jude while continuing to expose themselves today; particularly in their faithless inability to talk about Jesus by name; "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
While we've gotta love 'em enough to call 'em back to Jesus and leave the ultimate judgment to Him, Jude makes it equally clear and conclusive that they will be judged for their distracting, detouring, dividing, destroying, and damning: "Woe to them!"
Jude concludes with a glorious doxology preceded by practical preparations echoing the truths of John 3:16-21, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, Ephesians 6:10-20, 1 John 4:15-18, and parallel texts certifying our empowerment over darkness by remaining in the Light: "Build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God...have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire...Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
Jude acknowledges the challenges.
He exposes the contrast between churches corrupted by the world and the Church remaining faithful to Jesus by the book.
He never doubts the outcome.
Jesus wins in the end; and people who really believe in Him and behave, more than less, like they believe in Him share the victory.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!
Thursday, January 23, 2014
I heard this story in Litchfield, South Carolina.
A little boy watches a crabber.
The crabber catches crabs and puts 'em in a big bucket with no lid.
The little boy asks, "Mister, aren't you afraid the crabs will crawl out of your bucket?"
The crabber explains, "Don't worry, son, for as soon as one of the crabs gets close to the top, the rest of the crabs reach up and pull it back down."
I feel it, Lord.
It's a dark conspiracy.
They're trying to wear me down; attempting a cumulative effect.
Bantering and moaning.
Complaining and criticizing.
Sooooooo negative about everything everywhere with everyone - like bad leaven mixing in to make it worse.
Miserable people dedicated to making everyone everywhere about everything as miserable as they are.
Yet, as I move to You and You move to me because I move to You when You move to me, I'm released from the...
And the more I move to You and You move to me because I move to You when You move to me, they can't pull me back down to their...
I don't feel empathy for the miserably pejorative anymore, Lord.
The more that I move to You and You move to me because I move to You when You move to me, I don't feel or understand or relate to their...
Moving to You and You moving to me because I move to You when You move to me, I'm no longer stuck in the bottom of the bucket and no one has the muscle to pull me back down because I've moved to You and You've moved to me because I've moved to You when You've moved to me; and I just can't get/be as miserable as...
I don't know what it's like to be captive anymore to/by...
Yes, I feel sympathy for those who are pulled down or stay down because they don't move to You as You move to them and...
I've even tried to feel as miserable as...because that's what they want for...but I can't when I move to You and You move to me because...
I can't help them; and they can't help themselves until they move to You as You move to them because...
Ever since starting to move to You as You move to me because I move to You when You move to me,...
I can't explain it, Lord.
I feel it.
It's a choice.
Move to You and they can't pull me/us back to the bottom of...
I want You for the rest of the crabs.
I know You release crabs like me when we move to You as You move to us because...
You said, "I will set you free!"
It's/You're the truth.
Strange thing about parables and poetry and even prayers.
Ya get it or ya don't.
Reminds me of Him.
We get Him or we...stay in the bottom of the bucket.
Attention all crabs!
Blessings and Love!
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I read lots of obituaries.
It's a vocational hazard.
Sooooooo when Kathie asked me to write something short for our forthcoming pictorial church directory, I thought I'd knock off two pins with one toss.
Informed by 1 Corinthians 1, you'll find my obit in the first paragraph below.
Though I decided long ago that my understanding of eternity precluded gravemarkers and other affronts to the first few of the big ten, here's what I'd put on mine if inclined that way: "He loved Jesus and loved people enough to tell them about Jesus."
Sooooooo when asked for an introduction to this directory, I thought about what would be eternally as well as existentially worth taking this much space.
Jesus is the answer to all of our questions.
Blessings and Love!
RRK, an undershepherd to the Good Shepherd
Corner of Lincoln and Main
Uh, that's it.
Blessings and Love!
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Scratching the Surface of John's Three Letters
God's love has been most clearly and conclusively expressed in Jesus.
That's/He's the gospel!
Our clearest and most conclusive love for God is expressed when we love Him like He has loved us in Jesus.
That's real gratitude; or as John wrote, "Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
Our gratitude in action authenticates our comprehension/trust aka faith in Jesus being God's love in action.
It's the difference between a religion about Jesus that's kinda Christian in that it goes through some of the motions of being Christian and a relationship with Jesus that increasingly goes through more and more and more of the motions of being Christian; or as John wrote, "No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him... We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning."
In short, it's all about Jesus and loving Him by loving like Him.
John's three letters include four major themes of Biblically Christocentric fidelity: (1) Jesus is Lord and Savior and only Jesus is Lord and Savior; (2) Forgiveness is fleshed out by Him and His; (3) Love is faith in action; and (4) The Church's reason for being is heavenly.
Jesus is Lord and Savior and only Jesus is Lord and Savior.
John's letters are consistent with the other 24 New Testament witnesses to the unique place of Jesus in God's plan of salvation: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God...Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?...He is the true God and eternal life ."
Moreover, John identifies anyone antagonistic to the unique place of Jesus in God's plan of salvation as anti-Christ or an accomplice of evil's main motivator whose goal is stealing salvation from souls: "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God...Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he is in God...Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? That is the antichrist, he who denies the Son has the Father...Deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh...Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God...[and echoing Romans 16:17ff.]...If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."
Forgiveness is fleshed out by Him and His.
Jesus clearly spelled out the connection between Him forgiving us and us forgiving them: "If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. If you do not forgive others, you will not be forgiven...The measure you give will be the measure that you get!"
Putting it crudely, grudge-holders are gravediggers and the only graves being dug are their own!
William Barclay often observed it's easier to get forgiveness from God than most people who are putting their unforgiving souls in jeopardy because of what Jesus said about unforgiveness; and John shows how in one sentence: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Love is faith in action.
John highlights active love as proving the veracity of professed faith: "...[remembering Jesus said the evil one is a liar and its followers are liars]...Whoever says I know Him but does not keep His commandments in a liar...Whoever hates his brother is still in darkness...We should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother...Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life...Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."
The Church's reason for being is heavenly.
John's letters, like the entire book, has one goal - getting people pointed in the right/His direction: "We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete...I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life...I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.'
Maybe that's why some of our friends refer to themselves - their mission - as the salvation army.
When we are close to Jesus, we share His reason for being - praying and laboring for everyone's salvation.
That's people who get it/Him.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Scratching the Surface of 1&2 Peter
As we've been scratching the surface of the Bible as the best way to scratch the surface of our relationship with God, several consistent themes have emerged; including (1) A recognition of God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior; (2) The best way to love Him is to love like Him as best exemplified in Jesus and best explained in Holy Scripture; (3) "Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey"; and (4) While never not needing Jesus as Savior because we cannot earn salvation (works righteousness), we are expected to show our praise and thanks to God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior by praying and working to be wholly holy in/through/for Him (righteous works).
I like how Tozer put it: "Faith in God is to be demonstrated, not defined...It is not enough for preachers in their pulpits to try to define love. The love that God has promised must be demonstrated in the lives of the believers in the pews...God wants His people...to demonstrate all of the outworking of faith in their daily lives and practices."
Simply as well as summarily, authentic believers who really recognize God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior walk the talk.
Every book of the Bible fleshes that out as Jesus fleshed out His divine self.
Peter's letters continue that education of believers for enfleshment by believers: "set apart...for obedience..."
Or as Peterson paraphrases, "God the Father has His eye on each of you...to keep you obedient..."
Peter's letters acknowledge the challenges in time for Christians who are living in time as preparation for eternal life with the Lord: "You have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith...may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Essentially, Peter emphasizes authentic Christianity as a call to be wholly holy for Him no matter who, what, where, when, or why in honor of Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life here and now and forever: "Be holy in all your conduct."
Noticeably distinguishable by enfleshed belief consistent with the perfect pattern of Jesus as prescribed in Holy Scripture.
Jesus and those who knew Him best in time never said loyalty to Him would insure immunity from life's miscreants, meanness, madness, and misery.
Indeed, He said we would catch hell for declaring heaven only through intimacy with Him: "You will be hated because of Me."
Thankfully, He also promised that fidelity in time to Him would be more than matched by His fidelity to us forever: "If you die with Me, you will also rise with Me."
Of course, that's why Paul exclaimed so enthusiastically without equivocation, "I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed...Nobody/nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Peter's letters proclaim people who get that/Him look/act like they get that/Him.
People who get that/Him remain loyal to Him whether it's smooth sailing or rough seas.
People who get that/Him know the challenges of a world hostile to Him and, therefore, His do not build their character and commitment to Him but rather expose their character and commitment to Him.
Hence, Peter notes behaviors indicative of believers regardless of the weather such as "...a sincere brotherly love...pure heart...born again...servants...honorable...self-controlled...sober-minded...being examples...humble..."
The eschatological expectation with its reward for those who keep keepin' on for the King of kings is unmistakable: "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you...Rejoice...as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed...If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed...For it is time for judgment...The day of the Lord will come like a thief...we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."
19th century German pastor Johann Christoph Blumhardt summarized all of Biblical Christendom as well as Peter's letters as having one ultimate goal: "...readiness for God's kingdom...Awareness that the Lord will come has made people gird their loins and have their lamps burning."
Or as I have come to accept with revived passion while scratching the surface of the book, we're going to live a lot longer with Jesus than anybody else; hence, establishing Him as our first priority in all things at all times in all places with all people is a no-brainer.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!
Sunday, January 12, 2014
One of the things that I liked about Richard Nixon was he resigned before destroying America.
I also liked how he often said changing our minds is a sign of strength not weakness; noting how he often changed his mind if warranted by fresh facts and new insights.
Taking his advice, I voted for him once; just like I did for Jimmy Carter.
Enthusiastically, I joined the majority of Americans who elected them to first terms in the White House; and then redirected my votes as they ran for second terms.
It brings to mind...
I'm more messed up than anyone who's ever been President.
Come to think of it, realizing the time that I've spent far exceeds the time that I've got left, I've been amending some words as I approach the table: "O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, we thank You for mercies past, present, and to come."
I know I really need Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Including my own, I know I fall short of everyone's expectations as a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, pastor, presbyter, professor, police chaplain, and...you name it which you can if you know me.
Without question and with increasing enthusiasm without equivocation, I praise God for Jesus my/our Lord and Savior.
While I think I'm closer to being who my antagonists advertise than my mom's gracious delusions, I've always identified with the apostle: "I don't do the good that I want to do. I do the bad that I don't want to do."
I can still remember Bert Atwood's words back in seminary ringing sooooooo true for people like me: "No matter how good we are or become, we'll never be good enough not to need Jesus as Lord and Savior."
I'm reminded of Verne Clifford, an old farmer near the Delaware Water Gap on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, whose prayer before a Sunday dinner has been repeated countless times since in my dailies: "I thank You, Lord, for forgiving my past sins, present sins, and the sins that I will commit in the future...through Jesus in whose name I pray."
Sadly, I've spent too many years pretending to be better than God knows I know He knows I've ever been.
I've been such a hypocrite.
Instead of admitting that I'm as or probably more messed up than most other pulpiteers and pewsitters, I've often posed fidelity for public consumption while insulting God's holiness and injuring His people; bringing to mind a rhetorical challenge from those closest to me that has often driven me to my knees: "Why don't you practice what you preach?"
While don't ever recall not knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior because of faithful parents and grandparents, recalling Timothy's experience, I do know I was regenerated (i.e., born again again) during my time with Eugene and three covenant brothers in Montana back in October 2011.
Parenthetically, I really don't know what happened. It wasn't really anything that was said or read or... It/He just happened. The only thing that makes sense to me about that time is what Jesus said to Nicodemus: "You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the Wind of God, the Spirit of God."
I haven't been able to get enough of God ever since - through worship and Bible reading and prayer and sacrament and music and...
I want more and more and more of Him...
Though I know He knows I know He knows I'm just scratching the surface of my relationship with Him after spending too many years in books about the book and posing something/Someone that I didn't really, really, really know personally, I've never felt more convinced, calm, courageous, and enthusiastic about/for sharing Jesus.
While I've been writing and lecturing and teaching and preaching about Christianity for years, I realize my relationship with Jesus was much more academic and professional and Matthew 15/23ish than real and authentic and personal.
I knew lots about Him; but I didn't really know Him that closely or intimately or really.
God knows I know He knows I know, like Heinrich Bullinger exclaimed, He worked in spite of me for almost four decades of professional pastoral ministry; and He knows I know He knows I know sooooooo much of it/me was for show.
As bikers like to say, if I have to explain that to you, you wouldn't get it anyway. You'd be like me before October 2011.
Not that I'm that much better now.
After sooooooo many years, I'm just scratching the surface of what it means to love Him by following Him by loving like Him.
I'm coming clean and trying/praying to stay clean.
I've got a long way to go; and, while calmer about it than ever before, I feel like I'm trying to make up for wasted time.
Maybe that's why I keep telling people that, barring my Grandpa Jacob's cancer genes or assassination, retirement ain't on the radar. He knows I know He knows I know I will not stop looking up, standing up, speaking up, and acting up for Him in praise and gratitude for what He has done for me and what He has done for others like me and what He can do for anyone who opens the door of her/his heart at His knock.
I'm having too much faith and fun to quit any time soon!
Truly, truly, truly, I will die before I retire.
Again, I'm still messed up.
As Paul would say, I'm still working out my salvation; or praying and trying to behave like I say I believe.
I would like to share three of the ways that the Holy Spirit has helped me to start cleaning up.
First, I ask/expect His cleansing/deliverance in a Psalm 51 and Matthew 6:13 kinda way: "Have mercy on me, O God...Blot out my transgressions...Wash me...Cleanse me...Purge me...Teach me...Deliver me...Create in me a clean heart...Renew a right spirit within me...Lead me not into temptation...Deliver me from the evil one..."
Whenever I have prayed that specifically about anything at anytime involving anyone, God has helped me to stay clean.
Second, I pray/try to live in a John 3:19-21 kinda way: "This is the judgment: the light has come into the world...Everyone who hates the light does not come to the light lest their deeds be exposed...Whoever does what is true comes to the light..."
One of the ways that I protect myself from sneaking around and diving into bad stuff is by letting everyone know my passwords are Kopper, 1952, and drkopp.
Though drkopp is in small letters, it expresses my pre-rebirthed Matthew 23ish professional clergy arrogance; while acknowledging the revelation of my passwords doesn't affect money that I don't have anyway anywhere with anyone and is just exposed so I don't expose myself to things that could insult Him and injure His children.
Third, I pray/try to get closer and closer and closer to Him through spiritual disciplines like worship, Bible reading, sacrament, fasting, and so on in the realities of Psalm 22:3 and Galatians 2:20: "God inhabits the worship/praises of His people...It is no longer I who live, but Jesus who lives in/through me..."
I'm reminded of the pastor who said to me, "I can't understand why my church is so unfriendly. I have been teaching them about how to be a friendly church."
My response: "You can't give away what you ain't got for yourself and you can't be friendly like a follower of Jesus should be until you're so intimate with Him that you start acting like Him in a Psalm 22:3 and Galatians 2:20 kinda way."
Simply, the proof/evidence/signs/fruit of being close to Jesus are preceded by being close to Jesus.
Or putting it another way, if you is, you is; and if you ain't, you ain't.
People who are close to Jesus act like it/Him - increasingly more than increasingly less.
Again, I'm still messed up; but I am getting better.
I'm coming clean and praying/trying to stay clean.
I'm not saying my way is the best way.
I'm saying His way for you is the best way.
Of course, before you criticize my way of coming clean and praying/trying to stay clean, I'm trusting you have heard His way for you: so you're not hearing Moody's echo when criticized for how he did evangelism: "I prefer the way I'm doing it to the way you're not doing it."
Blessings and Love!