Q & A Series:  Why Some Christians Crave More of God than Others?

By Craig Bluemel

 

 

 

----- Original Message -----

From: Maggie

To: Craig Bluemel - The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

Subject: Christians crave more of Jesus than others

Hi Craigo 

 

I've got a question but I don't know how to put it into words, Jesus lives in us... you get the impression that He has more room in some people than others because some Christians are a whole lot nicer than others. How does it work? 

 

In a way he changes us (e.g. I have no desire to sit and watch television anymore), but I know that He lives in me and that's why I'm different not because Maggie has become good; the best of men’s heart is like a bush of thorns. 

 

Why do some Christians crave after God more than others, is there anything we can do apart from pray to make warm Christians hot?  Words have absolutely no effect.  My husband is mad about football and spends so much time on it, he gets in a frenzy when his team scores. How do I fight in prayer? 

 

Thanks for your help Craig, I feel so alone sometimes, I'm so glad I found you; it's good to know you're there,

 

Love Maggie

 

 

CRAIG’S REPLY:

 

Hi Maggie,

 

Your observations seem to be linking Christians that appear to act ‘nicer’ than others to an innate desire (you said ‘crave’) for more of God.  The best approach to understanding why some Christians crave more of God than others is to gain an overall understanding of the differences that exist within the heart of man.  Once you are able from scripture to see this perspective, then you’ll be better equipped with knowledge to pray for your husband and make more informed distinctions.

 

Spiritually and morally speaking, there are only two kinds of people that exist in this world, the righteous and the unrighteous.  Christians typically form personal opinions the spirituality of others, basing their judgments upon outward appearances (i.e. what ‘appears’ to be spiritual, or even ‘nice’).  Jesus confronted this outward façade of pretense amongst the religious Jews of his era in Matthew 23:28, saying to the Pharisees and scribes, “Just so, you also outwardly seem to people to be just and upright but inside you are full of pretense and lawlessness and iniquity,”  (Amplified Bible).

 

It boils down to what a person loves with their whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Assuming you want answers about those who profess to be Christian, my statement about the righteous and the unrighteous still applies.  Below is a dynamic verse from John’s gospel, and Jesus is speaking about the two groups I mentioned earlier:

 

John 3:19 And this is the test by which men are judged: the light has come into the world and men have more love (agape) for the dark than for the light, because their acts are evil. 1985 Bible in Basic English

 

Every believer ought to be nice Maggie; however, the term ‘nice’ is somewhat vague and not knowing exactly what it means to you, I’ll approach the topic from Scripture and my own experience, and hopefully this will help answer some of your questions.  In this article I’ve prepared, you won’t find the ‘magic bullet’ (so to speak) for your husband’s spirituality, but I would not stop praying for him if I were you.  Imagine what it would be like if God turned all of his passion and zeal for football into a pursuit of God thru Jesus Christ? 

 

Gauging the degree of passion, desire, or craving for God is not always proportionate to how ‘nice’ a person seems to be (outwardly).  Jesus did teach that we know what is on the inside of a person’s heart by the ‘good fruit’ or the ‘bad fruit’ they exhibit in their words and actions (deeds).  The question that you posed, which needs further clarification is: How do we make the correct determination(s) about outward deeds and speech?

 

The answer to this question is that we are to judge the FRUIT instead of judging the PERSON who exhibits the fruit.  There are countless Scripture passages that provide you with ample clarification and descriptive illustrations of what God considers to be genuine, spiritual fruit.

 

Ephesians 5:9-11 For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth, 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.  New American Standard Bible

 

If our criteria for judging the ‘fruit’ in someone else’s life is based upon a false premise, then no matter how careful we are in forming our judgments, they will inevitably mislead us to one degree or another.  For example, Christians (especially in Charismatic-Pentecostal circles) mistakenly look at a person’s OUTWARD ‘gifts’ as evidence of ‘good fruit.’  Their false premise is based on the assumption that ‘good fruit’ is notable in things like miracles, healings, anointing to preach, etc.

 

The mistakenly suppose this is the biblical criterion for judging a person’s ‘good’ spiritual ‘fruits.’  Nothing could be further from the truth!  This kind of warped (distorted) thinking is the main reason that churches and individual Christians get themselves into big trouble and fall prey to deception.  There are two general rules of thumb that help beginners to determine the difference between spiritual “gifts” and spiritual “fruit.”  Gifts are given and fruit is cultivated. 

 

C General Rules of Thumb D
For discerning between spiritual ‘gifts’ & spiritual ‘fruit’

 

SPIRITUAL FRUIT IS CULTIVATED BY GOD IN BELIEVERS WHO ARE OBEDIENT.

 

In Luke 8:15 Jesus said, “And the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance,” (New American Standard Bible).  Spiritual fruit requires pruning by God to remove useless branches (flesh); this fruit of the spirit is only seen in the lives of in those willing to obey commandments (e.g. - Galatians 5:22 the fruit of the spirit is patience, love, kindness, etc.).  The obedient lifestyle commitment to God thru Christ involves sacrificially loving others as Christ loves us (1 John 2-4).

 

To bear the fruit of God’s spirit requires the individual to comply with His requirements & yield to His pruning in his or her life as a believer (1 Peter 2:20-23).  God’s pruning anvils and shears come in an array of tools that cut-away unnecessary, and spiritual death-causing diseased parts of our lives.  He prunes us in order that we might bear more and better spiritual fruit.  God uses trials, tribulation, testing, suffering, affliction, and death to self to lop off dead, useless, and diseased branches in our lives.  These useless branches consist of fleshly desires, such as gossip, bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, anger & road rage, idolatry, materialism, cares of life, greed, indifference toward the troubles of the needy & suffering, neglect of family, taking our wives for granted, etc (2 Peter 3:13-18). 

 

SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE FREELY GIVEN BY GOD & INTENDED FOR EDIFICATION OF OTHERS

 

Gifts of the spirit are given to those who are willing to be used.

 

The gifts of the spirit are many & varied, such as healing, miracles, hospitality, serving, etc (see 1 Corinthians 11-12)

 

Gifts without love are useless & serve no eternal purpose (1 Corinthians 13); discerning how God’s love is expressed is directly proportionate to how a believer treats others.

 

Spiritual gifts without obedience, correction, and humility thru transparency will inevitably lead to deception of self and others (see text below).

 

John 15:1-2, 5-6, 8-10 Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the Vinedresser.  2 Any branch in me that does not bear fruit, that stops bearing, He cuts away, trims off, and takes away; and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit….  5 I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever lives in me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit.  However, apart from me cut off from vital union with me you can do nothing.  6 If a person does not dwell in me, he is thrown out like a broken-off branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned… 8 When you bear (produce) much fruit, my Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of mine.  9 I have loved you, just as the Father has loved me; abide in my love; continue in His love with me.  10 If you keep my commandments and if you continue to obey my instructions, you will abide in my love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed my Father's commandments and live on in His love.”  Amplified Bible

 

On your birthday, your receive ‘gifts’ that come without any labor or effort on your part; so too with spiritual gifts that God dispenses for use by His people to benefit (i.e. edify, strengthen, build-up) the body of Christ (i.e. the church).  Using grapes as the illustration of spiritual fruit, the aggregate toil of the Vinedresser (God), the Vine (Jesus), and the branches (individual believers) makes up the composite view of how spiritual fruit is ‘cultivated.’ 

 

Cultivation is an excellent analogy of how God cultivates His fruit bearing branches, as they continue to abide in the Vine of His beloved son, Jesus the Christ.  Unlike the effortless and passive ‘receiving’ of spiritual gifts, to ‘bear spiritual fruit’ involves daily, ongoing diligence and year-round labor to irrigate, fertilize, train, prune, and harvest. 

 

Using the process of irrigation and watering, this analogy signifies the course of action we take whenever & how often we access the Spirit of God thru His son, the glorified man Christ Jesus, our mediator between God & men; (Read John 7:37-39; 14:16, 26: 15:6; 16:7; 1 Timothy 2:5).  By tapping into the rivers of ‘living waters’ thru prayer, we satisfy our inner ‘craving’ for more of God, and this in turn contributes an important element in the spiritual fruit-bearing process. 

 

Yet, watering alone is not the Vine branches’ only requirement for healthy boughs because the plant also needs nutrients, training, pruning, exposure to sunlight, protection from frost, disease, and predators, etc. To maintain the ‘good soil’ of an honest heart also necessitates fertilization of the soil to feed the root system (i.e. regular feeding upon the words of God’s truth in the Scriptures), training (a Vinedresser with fasten the individual, fruit-bearing branches to the ‘straight & narrow’ path of the vine-trellis to insure that the tender shoots are not destroyed by storm winds, and in order that they receive support for the weight exerted upon them by the heavy, juice-laden grapes at harvest, etc).  So too, we must apply all diligence to our walk, working out our own salvation day to day, lest any one of us fall short and fail to endure till the end.

 

Read the passage below in Matthew 7:12-23 and take note of the words highlighted in blue color font.  This is self-explanatory and needs no further explanation by yours truly.

 

Matthew 7:12-23 Jesus said, “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  13 Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.  14 For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.  15 Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  16 You will know them by their fruits; grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?  17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.  21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.  22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’  New American Standard Bible

 

According to the context of the passage above in Matthew 7:12-13, treating others, as you want to be treated, (i.e. love your neighbor as you love yourself), is proof that you are still walking within the borders of the ‘narrow path.’  I realize this is an over-simplification, and that there are many other qualifications needed to depict a balanced message, but for this format, simple seems better.

 

Nowadays, within the ranks of the Christian churches throughout the world, there are many, popular preachers, televangelists, and others, who are in positions of prominence and claiming to be God’s ‘anointed’ teachers.  The fruit hanging from the branches of the vast majority of these Charismatic celebrities is rotten, diseased, and is a stench in the nostrils of the God of heaven.  They are storing up for themselves the wrath of God in the Day of Judgment unless they repent of the avarice, arrogance, and their misuse of the name of Jesus Christ for the love of money.

 

Sometimes I flip on the idiot box (i.e. the television set), and flip channels to watch a few minutes of the ‘blab-it-and-grab-it’ preachers making their offerings to the god of greed and prosperity.  These children of the devil misuse and make a mockery of the blessed name of Jesus among the nations.  They use the name of God’s son to satisfy their insatiable greed and appetite for money, material possessions, and for the adoration and praises of men.  These men and women are deceivers, false prophets, and they are the “wolves” that Jesus says are disguised in “sheep’s clothing.”

 

The text of Matthew 7:21-23 is compelling evidence that most professing ‘Christians’ (i.e. who say, “Lord, Lord, did we not…”) are likely to miss the ‘narrow path?’  Hmmm.  Hits close to home doesn’t it?  Whenever I read this passage in Matthew 7:12-23, I am cognizant that staying on the narrow path, or being given access to the narrow gate is not something to be taken for granted. 

 

It is so common, especially amongst pastors, ministers, etc, to presume that one is walking thru the narrow gate by virtue of ministry, or by virtue of whatever accomplishments we have done in the past, or by virtue of our present ‘anointing.’  I used to think and believe this was the case with my own Christian walk, UNTIL God pointed out to me that I was trusting arrogantly in myself instead of Him.  Yikes!  This called for some big time repentance on my p-art, which continues to this very hour.

 

Psalms 119:67, 71-72 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word… 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. 72 The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.   New King James Version

 

I do not like pain and suffering, even though the spiritual dividends that it yields cannot be obtained any other way.  I am now pleased to report that having been afflicted, the Lord’s rod of chastisement has effectively driven such futile reasoning’s far away from my mind, (even though admittedly, I still have the human tendency to wander back into the dangerous spiritual turf of self-righteous adulation… just being honest here J).  Self-righteousness comes in many different packages Maggie, but it all amounts to the same pile of smelly pride and human ego.

 

Even if it is thru God’s authority and done in the Name of Jesus Christ, none of our spiritual feats are the determining factor in what Jesus considers as “good fruits.”  The fruits of a good tree are not gifts of the spirit, nor are they to be weighed in value by how many miracles are performed, or how many demons are cast out, or how effectual our prayers and laying on of hands are in bringing Divine healing to the sick, the lame, etc. The million-dollar question that every Christian needs to ask themselves is this:

 

N HOW DO YOU ACT WHEN ONLY GOD & JESUS ARE WATCHING? N

 

Many born-again Christians await a rude awakening and will say to Jesus on the last day, when all men are judged according to their deeds, “Lord, Lord, did we not DO this, and DO that in your name?” And then Jesus will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’  Lawlessness?  Who, us? 

 

There are two more examples in the gospel accounts, which are like the passage above in Matthew 7:21-23, where Jesus says to those claiming to be his own, in futility plead their case on the last day of judgment, saying, ‘Lord, Lord!’  In both accounts, Jesus responds to them by saying., “Depart from Me!” In one account, they plead, “Lord, Lord, we ate in your presence…we listened to you teach…’ and Jesus responds, “Depart from me, you evildoers!’  The other account in Matthew 25 in the parable of the sheep and the goats.

 

Depending upon your individual marriage relationship, this topic involves a myriad of variables that I am unable to address in the present format.  It will have to be sufficient to say that anyone involved in marital difficulties ought to seek every possible and credible source available to acquire God’s wisdom.  If your mate is an unbeliever or backslidden Christian, or antagonistic toward the gospel message, then much more spiritual discernment should be applied.  Below are several Bible versions of the same New Testament scripture verse, found in 2 Corinthians 6:14. 

 

The reason I provided you several options is twofold; it is always good to compare translations, plus it breaks the paradigm mold that has been foisted on you by the ‘King James Version only’ advocates.  No one, single Bible version can be described as the ‘only’ inspired translation, because translation is what it means; i.e. converting from one language to another, which always involves a loss of the original dialectic intent. 

 

Christians should not get involved with each other romantically unless they have the same vision and purposes in the Lord.  I have read so many emails sent by discouraged wives, whose husbands are either backslidden, addicted to porn, a slave to the television, and/or just plain indifferent toward a relationship with God.  I know that the majority of these precious sisters in Christ would never have entered into the marriage covenant with their current spouse if they realized what effect it would have upon their relationship with the Lord down the road.

 

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  Revised Standard Version

 

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?  New King James Version

 

2 Corinthians 6:14  Don’t link up with unbelievers and try to work with them. What common interest can there be between goodness and evil? How can light and darkness share life together?  The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson 2002

 

2 Corinthians 6:14  Do not come into close association with unbelievers, like oxen yoked with asses. For what is there in common between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what partnership has light with darkness?  Weymouth New Testament Translation

 

2 Corinthians 6:14  Stretch {Set} yourselves therefore out; {at large,} and bear not the {a stranger’s} yoke with the unbelievers. For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What company hath light with darkness?  William Tyndale’s New Testament

 

 

I provided these verses of Scripture in the hopes of snagging a few that may be tottering on the edge of compromise, and stopping the problem BEFORE it goes to the next level, thereafter becoming.  As far as bringing change in your husband, the best approach is found in Peter’s epistle:

 

1 Peter 3:1-4 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they {i.e. the disobedient husbands} may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 And let not your adornment be merely external —  braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  New American Standard Bible

 

A quick side-note; being ‘submissive’ to your husband does not mean the believing wife should allow any form of abuse or disrespect.  Some church pastors have misguided their congregation by teaching wrongly that wives are to submit to their husbands, even when he is demanding and controlling.  This is hogwash.  The scriptures only teach that a wife is to ‘submit’ to her husband in so far as he acts like Christ!  If the husband is acting like the devil, does it make sense to submit to the devil in him?  Does this passage and others like it mean therefore that a godly acting wife ought to compromise her zeal for the Lord to appease her lukewarm husband’s resentment toward the things of God?  Not at all. 

 

Maggie, you asked me what we can do apart from prayer to turn up the burners, so to speak, and get the love and craving for God into the “boiling” range, instead of on “lukewarm’ and on the back burner.  The answer to this is not as simplistic as you might suppose, but here’s the bottom line: You cannot make anyone crave after more of God.  You can provide them with a godly lifestyle as the prototype or model by which they can see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.  However, this can also backfire in their face if they continually harden their heart.

 

From God’s perspective there is no ‘in-between’ classification for believers; you must be practicing righteousness and in addition to practicing righteousness, you must also be loving your fellow Christian brothers and sisters.  The TRUE children of God are plain as the nose on your face because they PRACTICE what they preach. Contrary to popular opinion, the Scripture plainly teaches us that there is no such thing as a half-hearted, double-minded, or lukewarm Christian.  Practicing righteousness is a lifestyle and children of God love their brothers and sisters in Christ in very real, tangible, pragmatic ways, always recognizing this cannot be done without God’s help. 

 

1 John 3:10-19 By this we can distinguish God’s children and the devil’s children: no one who fails to act righteously is a child of God, nor he who does not love his brother man.  11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning—that we are to love one another.  12 We are not to resemble Cain, who was a child of the Evil one and killed his own brother. And why did he kill him? Because his own actions were wicked and his brother’s actions righteous.

13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.  14 As for us, we know that we have already passed out of death into Life—because we love our brother men. He who is destitute of love continues dead.  15 Every one who hates his brother man is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has the Life of the Ages continuing in him.  16 We know what love is—through Christ’s having laid down His life on our behalf; and in the same way we ought to lay down our lives for our brother men.  17 But if any one has this world’s wealth and sees that his brother man is in need, and yet hardens his heart against him—how can such a one continue to love God?  18 Dear children, let us not love in words only nor with the lips, but in deed and in truth.  19 And in this way we shall come to know that we are loyal to the truth, and shall satisfy our consciences in His presence.  Phillip’s New Testament

 

If we truly yearn to have God’s love abiding in us, then sacrificial giving of ourselves and of our material resources (i.e. things we own) to meet the needs of sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ is NOT an option that we pick and choose at random.  Of course, this is not license to go ‘whole-hog’ and give away everything that you own to the detriment of your own family.  If a man does not care for the needs of his own household as his foremost priority, then his faith is worse than that of an unbeliever.  Idolatry comes in many forms, and just giving for the sake of giving, without having the essential, godly characteristic traits of God’s love as motivation, the same giving is useless (Read 1 Corinthians Chapter Thirteen).

 

Acts 20:35 In all things I have set you an example, showing you that, by working as I do, you ought to help the weak, and to bear in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

 

Jesus taught the people that there is a greater blessing in giving than in getting and yet the main focus of most Christian church services will repeatedly emphasize ‘receiving from the Lord.’  Don’t mistake what I’m saying here; it is wonderful to receive from God’s bountiful Hand of love and mercy; we ought to do it every day, several times each day.  However, if the aim of our church service protocol is and has been accomplishing what it boasts, then scores of individual believers within the ranks of the Christian church should have become like Jesus a long time ago! 

 

The fact is, that most Christians, regardless of their sincerity and piety are lukewarm and backslidden; this broad-brush application includes both charismatics and evangelicals.  Some readers might get a wee bit on the defensive side at this kind of generalization, and object to my criticism by alleging it is out of context with the intended purpose of gathering together as a church assembly.  The objection no doubt claims that church services are for corporeal worship and mutual edification.  To such objections, I simply ask you this question: Can you please provide us with the chapter and verse for this kind of objectionable rhetoric?  I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find the words ‘church service’ anywhere in your Bible.

 

As we express our love for God, the Father, we must at the same time be expressing commensurate love for His son Jesus.  Expressing love to Jesus is not ethereal, mystical, ‘pie in the sky’ love that is often portrayed by Christian church pastors in the sermons about the ‘bride of Christ.’  Being espoused to Jesus is not an emotional attachment to him, even though emotions follow those with fervent love for the son of God. The foundation for expressing love for and to Jesus Christ is brought about by caring for his people, who are described in the New Testament as the ‘body of Christ’ and as ‘members individually.’

 

Romans 12:5 So we, though we are a number of persons, are one body in Christ, and are dependent on one another.  1985 Bible in Basic English

 

1 Corinthians 12:12 As the human body, which has many parts, is a unity, and those parts, despite their multiplicity, constitute one single body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by the one Spirit into one body, whether we were Jews, Greeks, slaves or free men, and we have all had experience of the same Spirit. 1985 Bible in Basic English

 

The love we express for each other is the foundation for expressing our love for Jesus.  If we do not abide in God’s love by obeying His commands, the implications are clear. The scary part of 1 John 3:10-13 (above) is the apostle John’s comparisons that contrast the children of God and the children of the devil (whom he likens to “Cain” who slew his brother).  Cain and Abel were brothers, and John’s epistle is not written to unbelievers, but rather as instructions to the church.  Therefore, his analogy of ‘Cain’ is used to illustrate and warn true believers in future generations in the Christian church that there will always be professing Christians with an evil, hateful, unrighteous, and jealous nature in their midst.

 

On several occasions, while engaged in street evangelism one-on-one or at The Bible Answer Stand Ministry, I have been on the receiving end of the hatred and hostility of so-called ‘Christians’ whose disagreement with my doctrinal position brought to the surface their father the devil.  In 1975, along with about 5-6 other believers, we made the long 250+ mile drive to a ‘Jesus Festival’ in hopes of allowing God to use us for His glory by strengthening fellow Christians in the faith and introducing glossalalia to them in prayer.  During a ‘Jesus Festival’ I was mingling amongst thousands of other Christians from across the Northwest region who attended the three-day event.  Many of those Christians in attendance had never heard of speaking in other tongues as a spiritual prayer to God. 

 

There were several local churches that sponsored this Jesus Festival’, advertised it for several weeks on the local television and radio media, and sold tickets thru various Christian bookstores and ticket agencies.  These churches that sponsored the festival were not ‘glossalalia-friendly.’  At the evening events of the second day, I was sitting on the large area of lawn where a stage was set up for Christian bands, musicians, speakers, etc, and I had prayed with about 5-8 people to receive their glossalalia gift from God. 

 

It was awesome!  A warm, balmy summer night, the Presence of God was there, when suddenly I was approached by two armed security guards, forcibly asked to stand, and then handcuffed to one of my wrists, and escorted to a holding area where the other people from our small 3-man, 3-woman group was staged.  Eventually, it took 2 hours, and we were all rounded up by the fair security officers (plain clothes, off-duty police officers) at gunpoint, huddled into two separate groups, and illegally interrogated by hostile, angry, even raging ‘Christians’ who wanted us arrested and jailed for ‘praying with people in tongues.’  No joke. 

 

Finally, the Jesus Festival management was persuaded by the cops on duty that it was illegal to detain us further, so they agreed to release us, ban us from ever returning to the event, refused to refund our prepaid money for the third day remaining, and heavily escorted each of us to our cars.  By this time, we were being followed by a small mob of roughly 75-100 people, who screamed and chanted, “GET THESE @!$%# OUT OF HERE!  PRAISE THE LORD!  GET OUT OF HERE YOU TONGUE-TALKING DEVILS!!  YEA, WE GOT RID OF THEM!  YEAH, PRAISE THE LORD

 

In the midst of this chaos and spiritual carnage, I had the most incredible peace from God, but some of the young ladies that were part of our group were actually shaking and quivering as if they were about to go into shock, so when we found a rest stop area, we pulled our vehicles off of the freeway, and prayed for them and hugged them until they were calm and secure.  One Scripture that came to mind that night, which I shared after prayer time with the group is taken from Isaiah 66:5, a familiar passage that has been to me a source of spiritual discernment, comfort, and strength during times of opposition from fellow Christians.  As you read this passage below, note carefully that Isaiah specifies that persecution will come from WITHIN our own ranks, not just from unbelievers

 

Isaiah 66:5 Hear the word of the Yahweh, you who tremble at His word: Your brethren who hate you, who cast you out for My name’s sake, have said, “Let the Yahweh be glorified, that we may see your joy!  But it is they who shall be put to shame.  Amplified Bible

 

L    The Hebrew word in Isaiah 66:5 translated as, “cast you out,” is a verb signifying to separate, to drive away, and to disaffect. It means to push someone away from a course of action (2 Kings 17:21); or to shut out (Isaiah 66:5). It is used figuratively of shoving something into the future, of keeping it at bay.

 

I was still a fairly new Christian when this incident occurred, but I had been doing street evangelism almost from the day I got saved three years earlier, so I was used to having hostility vented upon me by people that hated God, Jesus, me, or all of the above JJJ (gee, maybe I’m part of the trinity… just kidding!).  However, for the others, who were also newly saved Christians, it was a ‘baptism by fire’ into the reality of what lies hidden beneath the outward religious façade of many so-called ‘born-again Christians,’ (who were of the ‘not very nice’ variety Maggie). 

 

As the peace and Presence of our God descended upon, in, and around us on that dark, balmy summer night alongside Interstate-5, we gave thanks to our Father in heaven that we had been counted worthy to be insulted and accused for His great Name’s sake thru Jesus Christ our Lord.  We are taught to forgive and love those who insult and attack us, in the hopes that our testimony might at some point bring them to repentance and salvation thru Jesus Christ.

 

Getting used to hostility, betrayal, and even hatred expressed by professing Christians has particular relevance that some are discovering for the first time as they share with fellow believers their insights about Jesus being a ‘man’ instead of being ‘God.’  This contemporary and relatively recent change in theology by untold tens if not hundreds of thousands of Christians via the autonomy of Internet search engines will stir to a flame the coals of animosity and jealousy seething just beneath the surface of the religious façade of countless millions of alleged Christians.  I am making this statement based on years of personal experience and encounters like the scenario described at the Jesus Festival and elsewhere, so it ought to be noted for whatever prophetic significance it may have in your life dear brother or sister in Jesus.  If you deny the doctrines of the trinity or the deity of Christ, beware of your brethren, who undoubtedly will cast you out of their midst for what they think is “His name’s sake.”  But they shall be put to shame, when the church in Philadelphia is one day exonerated by the glorified son of man.

 

Scores of Christians have discovered the falsity of orthodox theology such as the bogus doctrines of the Trinity and false teachings about Jesus Christ, which changes his human status as the “son of God” and his human messianic identity as the “son of man” by making Jesus out to be one of three Gods in the polytheistic triad (i.e. Trinity) as “God the Son.” 

 

If you are one such truth seeker that has embraced the purity of the Scriptural teachings about Jesus Christ, you WILL be confronted by you fellow Christians in the community that find out you have denied the Trinity and that you no longer refer to Jesus Christ as “God” or as “Deity.”  This will be unlike any other doctrinal disagreement with another Christian that you have ever experienced.  I say this prophetically, not because of Divine revelation imparted to me, but because of prolific, repeated encounters that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, as you see so-called ‘Christians’ seething in pure hatred for you over the issue of Christ’s “Deity” and the “Trinity.”  In some of these encounters, I could swear that the more rabid and overtly hostile opponents to my teaching look as if they are demonically inspired or possessed.

 

During his short, 3 ½-year ministry, at one time the question was put to Jesus by a leading Jewish Ruler, who asked him, “Good Rabbi (or Teacher), what shall I do to inherit the Life of the Ages?”  Jesus replied in response to this ruler’s patronizing (i.e. brownnosing) inquiry, “Why do you call ME good?  There is no one good but One, namely God” (Luke 18:18-19).  Jesus does not allow the Jewish ruler’s use of rabbinical adulation to invoke words that will affirm his place in the kingdom of heaven or guarantee that he will obtain ‘eternal life.’

 

In reprimanding the Jewish ruler for his sweet-talk; Luke 18:19 also provides us with compelling Scriptural evidence that Jesus Christ is not “God.  When Jesus says, “There is no one good but One, namely God,” he establishes a dominating precedent for any and all future interpretation of Old and New Testament Scripture in this light.  Therefore, we must simply reject any church teaching (i.e. doctrine) that attributes ‘Deity’ to Jesus Christ; we also reject any teaching that describes him as having present at birth, inherently existing in possession of (i.e. as a human “being”) the one, characteristic quality of being ‘good.’

 

To boil this previous paragraph down into a simple concept, no human being (ever) can or does simply exist as ‘good.’  In other words, just ‘being’ a human, whether or not the person sins, does good, or seeks to do or be good, they cannot.  God alone lays claim to having the intrinsic ‘Being’ or ‘existence’ that is characteristically ‘good.’  This is relevant to your questions about why some believers are ‘nicer than others’ or seemingly have ‘more of Jesus’ inside than do others because being nice and having more of Jesus does not mean that anyone is innately ‘good.’  They have simply made wiser decisions and lived out better and more God-ward choices a than the Christians that manifest ‘less’ of Jesus to the world.

 

Jesus did not claim any attributes of ‘Deity’ he acknowledges that only ‘God’ is ‘good’ (even though Jesus himself never once sinned).  Therefore, anybody else, Christian or otherwise, who puts forth his or her hoity-toity objections to this assertion about Jesus’ deity or inherent goodness apart from God, is just another puffed up believer reveling in self-righteous indignation.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the compliments of an adversary (Proverbs 27:6).

 

The most common misguided notion that is practiced during the stereotypical, Christian church service would have us believe that somehow, by osmosis, or some other mystical, humanly incomprehensible way, we are changed and even transformed into more godly, loving, Christ-like believers as we bask in the Presence of God together in worship and that this spiritual watering is then directed by the pastor’s sermon, which lays the foundation in Scripture for change to take place.  NOT!!!

 

Loving our sisters and brothers in the body of Jesus Christ transforms us spiritually, and God honors our obedience by causing us to “know” that we are of the truth.  This knowledge, which assures our heart before (i.e. in the presence of) God, cannot be obtained in any other way because it is a GIFT from Him to those who OBEY His commandment to love one another.  It seems so simple, yet most people in the Christian churches worldwide, throughout time have missed the mark of this high calling in Christ Jesus to be the least amongst God’s servants.

 

Christians today quite often seek knowledge, even knowledge ABOUT God, but the knowledge that God GIVES alludes them.  The pursuit of riches and cares or worries of this life gobble up their time and attention.  They squander their spiritual inheritance by wasting whatever is the allotted amount of time that the Father gives to each of us during this brief and fleeting mortal existence in the flesh. 

 

How few Christian are truly laying up treasures in heaven, where thieves cannot steal them, and corrosion is unable to corrupt.  Instead, they seek material pleasures in order to gratify themselves with frivolity, and sadly, they waste precious time watching the boob tube for hours on end.  They allow their individual ‘free time’ to be consumed with the things of the world, and whenever challenged by the Lord’s servant, or convicted by the Spirit of God, instead of repenting, they stiffen their neck by making an excuse for the lack of spiritual diligence.

 

I’m not judging anyone; just provoking to good works those who are wasting their valuable time.  Each of us has an allotted time of life on this earth, but too many are flitting eternal treasure aside for seemingly ‘benign’ hobbies, over-indulgence in sports activities, useless gossip, meaningless devotion to pleasure seeking, such as obsessing over cars, motorcycles, quilt-making, arts and crafts, etc

 

God’s word commands us to eagerly pursue that which builds (i.e. edifies) the body of Christ (also known as the kingdom of God).  Where are the Elijah’s of the new covenant?  Where are those whom the Lord Jesus, after washing and gently drying each of the twelve disciple’s feet at the last evening meal he had together with them said, “If I the Master did this for you, you ought also to follow my example,” (paraphrased quote).

 

How many Christians do you know that are willing to lay down their life for the brethren?  Laying down one’s life for the Christian brethren is not limited this to martyrdom.  The passages of Scripture above reveal that laying one’s life down for the brethren is done by meeting simple, pragmatic needs.  In other words, if we say we love God, but then refuse to share with our brother in need the material necessities we have, in effect we are disobeying God’s command to sacrificially lay down our life for the brethren.

 

The reason you are able to clearly differentiate between Christians who are ‘nicer’ and as a result have more of Jesus is due to their willingness to lay down what they have for God’s people, the body of Christ.  There are only two primary labels, if you will, that depict the kinds of professing Christians in today’s churches; one group is the ‘SHEEP’ and the other group are called the ‘GOATS.’  The ‘SHEEP’ are the believers who CHOOSE to be nice by expressing their love for God in both deeds and truth; this is also the way they love their brothers and sisters in Christ.  This plain indicator differentiates between two types of alleged Christians; these are two distinct groups (see below):

 

1.      THE SHEEP = Christians who love with more than mere words, giving of themselves and of their resources to meet the needs of their fellow brothers & sisters in Jesus Christ; in so doing, they shine the light of God’s love in deed and in truth, making it obvious to the world that they are disciples of the Lord Jesus.

 

2.      THE GOATS = Self-professing Christians whose hypocrisy, self-righteous attitude, jealousy, and greed reveals to the world their true colors; these types of religious Christians provide ample evidence that they are not ‘nice’ by virtue of a lifestyle of choices that reveal their indifference toward their fellow believers who are in need or impoverished, or gravely ill, etc.  Instead of providing for these needs, the GOAT-TYPE CHRISTIAN instead projects a façade of spirituality.  They are too selfish and greedy, too apathetic & self-absorbed, too fixated on how they will get their next dose of ‘blessings & prosperity’ from God to even notice their fellow Christian brothers and sisters in need, let alone actually doing something pragmatic to provide for those needs.  If and when a needy sister or brother in Christ makes known to them a plea for help, instead of helping out in tangible ways, instead the GOATS offer little more than patronizing words of a promises to ‘pray for them,’ but lacking the necessary ‘works’ to shine God’s glory thru the face of Jesus Christ. 

 

2 Corinthians 4:6 WITH Matthew 5:16 For God who said, “Out of darkness let light shine,” IS HE WHO HAS SHONE IN OUR HEARTS TO GIVE US THE LIGHT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S GLORY, which is radiant on the face of Christ.  LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE LIKE THAT IN THE SIGHT OF MAN.  LET THEM SEE THE GOOD THINGS YOU DO AND PRAISE YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.  (2 Corinthians 4:6 Weymouth New Testament Translation & Matthew 5:16 Phillip’s New Testament)

 

Actions have always spoken louder than words to people of truth, Christian or otherwise.  Therefore, the believers who have ‘more of Jesus’ to reveal to others are the same ones that by their actions (i.e. works) they openly acknowledge that loving Jesus is tantamount to loving the members of his spiritual body (also known as the body of Christ).  Jesus himself taught his disciples an important simile about the ‘sheep’ and the ‘goats’ than shows evidence of distinctions between various Christian people and those who are Christian people in name only (read the entire narrative below, and pay special attention to the highlighted words).  I have purposely segmented the Scripture passage from the text of Matthew 25:31-46, so that you might be able to clearly delineate individual reasons why Jesus applauds the ‘SHEEP’ and rejects the ‘GOATS on the last, great day of judgment in the future.

 

THE SHEEP

Matthew 25:31-36

 

Matthew 25:31-36 Jesus said to his disciples, “But when the Son of Man comes in his splendor with all his angels with him, then he will take his seat on his glorious throne.  32 All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men from each other like a shepherd separating sheep from goats.  33 He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.  34 Then the king will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have won my Father’s blessing! Take your inheritance; the kingdom reserved for you since the foundation of the world!  (Continued below)

 

25:35A “For I (Jesus) was hungry and you gave me (Jesus) food. ”

 

25:35b “I (Jesus) was thirsty and you gave me (Jesus) a drink. ”

 

25:35c “I (Jesus) was a stranger (homeless) and you made me (Jesus) welcome. ”

 

25:36a “I (Jesus) was naked and you clothed me (Jesus). ”

 

25:36b “I (Jesus) was ill and you came and looked after me (Jesus). ”

 

25:36c “I (Jesus) was in prison and you came to see me (Jesus) there.’ ”  

 

25:37-39 Then the true men (the sheep) will answer him, ‘Lord, WHEN did WE see YOU hungry and give YOU food? WHEN did WE see YOU thirsty and give YOU something to drink?  38 WHEN did WE see YOU a stranger and make YOU welcome, or see YOU naked and clothe YOU, 39 or see YOU ill or in prison and go to see YOU?’” 

 

25:40 And THE KING will reply, ‘I assure you that WHATEVER YOU DID FOR THE HUMBLEST OF MY BROTHERS YOU DID FOR ME.’ 

 

THE GOATS

Matthew 25:41-46

 

Matthew 25:41-46 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Out of my presence, cursed as you are, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 

 

25:42A “For I WAS HUNGRY and YOU GAVE ME NOTHING TO EAT. ”

 

25:42B I WAS THIRSTY and YOU GAVE ME NOTHING TO DRINK. ”

 

25:43A I WAS A STRANGER (HOMELESS) and YOU NEVER MADE ME WELCOME. ”

 

25:43BWHEN I WAS NAKED and YOU DID NOTHING TO CLOTHE ME. ”

 

25:43C WHEN I WAS SICK AND IN PRISON and YOU NEVER CARED TO VISIT ME. ”

 

25:44-46 Then they too will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick or in prison, and fail to look after you?’  45 Then the king will answer them with these words, ‘I assure you that whatever you failed to do to the humblest of my brothers you failed to do to me.’  46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the true men to eternal life.”  Phillip’s New Testament

 

Charismatics (also known as Pentecostals) have a general predisposition to spiritualize way too many things, and they are always trying to affix the “leading of the Holy Spirit” to whatever they do, without recognizing love is something done with actions that back up a person’s words.  Now I have to be careful I don’t step on toes, including my own because technically speaking, I’m also charismatic (i.e. meaning I pray in both known and unknown tongues).  Having exposed our inclination toward over-spiritualization by adding my name to the list of potential Pentecostal fanatics for Jesus, I do have to mention something important about glossalalia (glossalalia is the Greek transliteration of the word cognate that is rendered as “tongues” throughout the New Testament).

 

It has been my experience over the course of the past 34 years as a believer, having fellowshipped with Christians from both sides of the ‘speaking in other tongues’ issue, that believers who DO speak in other tongues as a prayer to God are generally more enthusiastic and vibrant in their relationship with God thru Jesus Christ.  The most obvious and notable contrast in comparisons would be that of an Evangelical-type of Sunday morning church service contrast with that of, let’s say an independent, non-denominational Charismatic church service.  My forthcoming comments are given as an evaluation based upon LOTS of personal, firsthand experiences, having myself attended numerous and extremely different kinds of corporeal praise as worship in churches across the West.

 

It is a hands-down, no-contest surety that Pentecostal/Charismatic church services are much more spiritually invigorating.  Unlike the stereotypical restraints upon the expression of human emotion during praise and worship at Evangelical’s old-line denominations, most of the contemporary Charismatic services are very free and liberating.  Having made this distinction, and recognizing it is common knowledge amongst ecclesiastic social circles that ‘Evangelical’ churches flatly deny in both doctrine and doctrinal exegesis (practice) the modern-day usage or existence of spiritual gifts in the Christian church, such as speaking in unknown tongues, prophecy, Divine healing thru prayer, etc).

 

It is a common misnomer amongst Charismatic/Pentecostal Christians that spirituality is gauged in direct proportion to the extent or amount of emotional liberties they experience every week during praise and worship time in church services.  There’s almost a smugness and self-righteous flaunting of the alleged ‘freedom’ they have whenever discussions amongst themselves or with Evangelicals compare the differences in church service protocol. 

 

Admittedly, I concede that many Evangelical church services are relatively boring during the song service.  However, this is changing, and in fact many Evangelical churches have now moved on to a much more contemporary type of song service because the older generations of believers raised on pipe organ music have passed away into memory.  Here’s the caveat on this issue: Many Christians equate having ‘more of Jesus’ in their life based upon what they do or do not personally experience each Sunday during church services.  I hate to be the one to rain on your parade if you the reader have incorporated such delusionary thinking.  Church services and your participation in what occurs there may have some significance in the choices and decisions made to walk in accord with the plan of God for your life, BUT, church attendance and paying tithes and offerings is not mentioned even once as criterion for godliness.

 

Those who truly have more of Jesus in their lives bear fruit of the spirit, which are character qualities born from a willingness to seek God daily, allowing Him to lead and guide you in serving others in love and expressing God’s love to fellow brethren in Christ thru deeds and truth.  In the Book of James, the measure of a believers life and relationship with the glorified son of God is succinctly summarized in the following words (see verses below):

 

James 1:27 External religious worship religion as it is expressed in outward acts that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world. Amplified Bible

 

My favorite teaching of Jesus in the gospels is the analogy of the ‘sheep’ and the ‘goats.’  The ‘sheep’ type of believers in Matthew 25 are the type of Christians you allude to in your email inquiry (i.e. the ones that have a lot more of Jesus).  Jesus contrasts the ‘sheep’ kind of Christian with the so-called ‘professing in name only’ type of believer, whom he compares to the ‘goats.’

 

I’m not a farmer (duh), so I don’t know a heck of a lot about sheep and goats; maybe you can contact the 4-H Club in your area for more Bible answers?  Hahahaha!  Just kidding! J  Seriously though, goats have a very stubborn, self-serving nature, and are typically

 

Christians that don’t develop a habit of godly living during times of peace and prosperity will begin to gradually fall way or become lukewarm in their overall relationship with God and Christ.  Jesus taught that we are to be faithful in little things if we hope to be given the responsibility of greater things by God, including things like sacrificial giving (to others in need), regular Bible reading, trusting in God for everyday types of things, even little things that most people take for granted, building a habit of always giving thanks to God, which develops a strong foundation of gratitude and contentment. 

 

Luke 12:48 Jesus said, “AND FROM EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN GIVEN MUCH SHALL MUCH BE REQUIRED; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”  New American Standard Bible

 

Instead, the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches distract them from establishing these habits.  Therefore, when times of trial, distress, poverty, sickness, loss, death of a loved one, financial ruin, etc, they are unprepared. 

 

Matthew 13:22 Jesus said, “As for what was sown among thorns, THIS IS HE WHO HEARS THE WORD, BUT THE CARES OF THE WORLD AND THE PLEASURE AND DELIGHT AND GLAMOUR AND DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES CHOKE AND SUFFOCATE THE WORD, and it yields no fruit.  Amplified Bible

 

Like the man in the parable that failed to properly assess and count the cost of building his house, at the end of his financial resources, he was unable to bring the construction to its final completion.  This man is symbolically representative of all Christians who start out with a zeal and passion for God, but eventually the deceitfulness of riches and/or the cares of this life choke out the word of God, and it never takes deep root in them.

 

You made a statement and question saying, “I get the impression that he has more room to manifest and reveal himself in some people than in others because some Christians are a whole lot nicer than others.  How does it work?”  Let’s look at one of the best examples in the entire New Testament, which the apostle Paul contributed to nearly half of the entire canon of Greek New Testament Scriptures (i.e. collection of New Testament books).  In spite of Saul’s (Paul) persecution of the church, thru Jesus, God the Father revealed His plan to save Paul to a believer named Ananias in Acts 9:15-16, saying these words to him (see below):

 

Acts 9:15-16 The Lord said to Ananias, “Go, for he (Saul/Paul) is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 FOR I WILL SHOW HIM HOW MUCH HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME’S SAKE.  New American Standard Bible

 

Notice Maggie, we see the same theme of great suffering that comes to those whom God has called , whose depth of commitment is commensurate with the level of suffering they are to endure for His name’s sake.  This concept of suffering is not popular with charismatic Christians these days, and even the Evangelical church has embraced a watered down form of the gospel message, so is it any wonder that people are so wishy-washy and distracted by the world’s lure?

 

In closing, I want to show you how God is able to see the raw, rough, unfinished product of the human will, before it is cut into a diamond, so to speak, that can reflect His glory and light.  I’m using this precious gem as an example of the human soul-spirit that is born from above whenever a man or woman experiences their initial relationship with God thru his son Jesus the Christ.

 

The example I will use to illustrate my use of the diamond as a metaphor is the passion that Saul had and expressed for the truth, even though initially, his concepts of truth were horribly misguided when he started persecuting the first Christian believers in Palestine.  Saul is later given the name ‘Paul’ by the same man Ananias, thru whom God revealed His plan to save Saul (NOTE: To read Paul’s retelling of his initial salvation experiences, simply read Acts 22:1-21).

 

In many of his writings in the New Testament, Paul admits openly that his misguided zeal as a Jew prior to his conversion to Christ motivated him to have “persecuted” the Christian believers throughout various regions and areas around Palestine.  One example below is taken from Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth:

 

1 Corinthians 15:9-10 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 but by the grace of God i am what i am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. New American Standard Bible

 

The Greek word that is translated as “PERSECUTED” in 1 Corinthians 15:9 above and elsewhere its various cognate forms throughout the New Testament is “DIOOKO.”  This Greek word DIOOKO has two primary and opposite meanings and applications.  In bringing this article to a close, read the following Greek lexicons dictionary definitions for DIOOKO.  The word meanings imply the idea of someone harassing another in such degree that it puts the victim to flight, and is therefore rendered in the various New Testament passages that use it this way as ‘persecute, persecutor, etc.’

 

As you read these definitions, note the last use of diooko in a metaphoric sense, which carries with it an eager pursuit to acquire something or someone that is good, righteous, etc.

  

DIOOKO (NT:1377)

1.      To make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away: (Matthew 23:34). 

2.      To run swiftly in order to catch some person or thing, to run after. 

3.      to harass, trouble, molest one; to persecute, to be maltreated, suffer persecution on account of something, (Galatians 6:12). 

4.      WITHOUT THE IDEA OF HOSTILITY, TO RUN AFTER, FOLLOW AFTER: someone, (Luke 17:23). 

5.      METAPHORICALLY, with the accusative of thing, TO PURSUE, I. E. TO SEEK AFTER EAGERLY, EARNESTLY ENDEAVOR TO ACQUIRE: (e.g. Romans 9:30) (from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

 

The Jewish zealot named ‘Saul’ (before his name was changed to ‘Paul’) was a man who ‘PERSECUTED’ (DIOOKO) the first Christian church in ignorance.  Nevertheless, it was this SAME passion and intensity that he used for the cause of Judaism to PERSECUTE (DIOOKO) the church before his conversion is what God in His infinite wisdom and unique discretion saw within Paul, knowing it could also be used to EAGERLY PURSUE, SEEK AFTER, OBTAIN & ACQUIRE (DIOOKO) the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

 

Now, having already read the following word definitions and applications of DIOOKO provided above, below are some of the choicest of many New Testament passages I did not have time to copy for this article.  These passages are places that you see the apostle Paul’s writings and letters to the churches and the new and redemptive way that he utilizes diooko to describe how a Christian ought to eagerly pursue and acquire things pertaining to God and Jesus Christ.

 

These few of the many New Testament scripture passages that use diooko capitalizes on Paul’s passion for Jesus Christ.  This exercise will give you some insight as to why it seems that some people have more of Jesus than others.

 

1 Corinthians 14:1-2 EAGERLY PURSUE AND SEEK TO ACQUIRE (DIOOKO) [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy (interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching). 2 For one who speaks in an [unknown] tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning, because in the [Holy] Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things [not obvious to the understanding].  Amplified Bible

 

Philippians 3:6-16 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. New American Standard Bible

 

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody.  Amplified Bible

 

1 Timothy 6:11 But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christ like), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.

Amplified Bible

 

2 Timothy 2:22 Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.  Amplified Bible

 

2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed all who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution [will be made to suffer because of their religious stand]. Amplified Bible

 

Hebrews 12:14 Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. Amplified Bible

 

To truly comprehend and appreciate what I am teaching here, consider how Saul was so eager to pursue and arrest and imprison Christians for the cause of Judaism, even though his cause was a lost cause, and even though acting in sincere ignorance, his eagerness to pursue was abusive.  Only God the Father was able to see that Saul’s inmost motives were pure, and that once he had been convinced of the truth concerning Jesus as the true Messiah to Israel and to the Jewish people, this persecutor Saul; turned Paul the apostle would use his ‘eager pursuit’ (diooko) in ways that would further the cause of the gospel of Christ more than just about any one individual Christian.  Now you see that there is a reason WHY some Christians have more of Jesus than others do, and it is measured by the way they decide to use their passion and eager pursuits.  Your husband and mostly other Christians, or so-called ‘professing Christians’ eagerly pursue television football games, the world series of baseball, or whatever useless, causeless trivia that this temporal world has to offer.  But you Maggie, on the other hand, have decided to use your eager pursuits to further the cause of the kingdom of heaven, and it’

 

Simply a matter of choice and the decisions you incorporate into your life that align with the truth of God’s word in Scripture.

 

God bless and keep you seeking Him always in truth, love, and deeds Maggie.

 

Your brother & friend,

 

Craigo

 

Craig Bluemel - The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give reasonable justification

to anyone who asks you for an explanation of the hope that

is within you,  but do it considerately and courteously.

 

 


 

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