christian blog

Cumulative God

Cumulative God

by Eric Kopp

I believe that when we present things of God we should seek them in a cumulative fashion rather than a factorization approach.

In a factorization approach you break the whole up into parts. These nuggets though good if ever presented on their own miss the point and/or become something other than the whole.

Example:

The number 24 is built from the these components (2,2,2,3) The lowest factor of this is 2 and the highest of it is 3.

2 and 3 alone do not make up the whole truth of what 24 is. In fact they are parts of lots of other truths like 26 and 28. If I were to put this in spiritual terms and change the numbers to aspects of the fruit of the Spirit I think its application becomes more evident.

The fruit of the spirit is looked at like a composite meaning that it is one thing and the listings in Galatians are like perspectives or factors of it. Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance are like those above factors (2x3x5x7x11…) together they all explain the fruit of the Spirit. If I were to take just one and try to do it without the others, say for example Patience without Love it would not really be the Patience we think it is. In fact it would at most be patience and at worst be tolerance.

In fact, what we see in Corinthians when we factor out Love we end up with nothing.

The character of God is like this also. Often times we focus just on one part, with statements like God is Love, God is Good, God is the Father. Which he is, but what he calls Love is much more. God is also Righteous. God is also Jealous. He has many names and when we strip him down to just one thing everyone looses and in fact what we are presenting may not even be God.

If I go to the lowest common denominator of God being Love but only preach Love we are missing some main points of who God is. A gospel based on this with all the truth and righteousness factored out is not the true gospel. It is the same with a gospel that has factored out love and grace and just judgement.

Fear of Hardship

Fear of Hardship

I think every person has at least one fear in their life. I have my own set of fears that I am constantly battling, and attempting to trust God with.  There is one fear that I feel the church is blind to, or is trying to ignore.  That fear is of hardship.

Ever since the 80’s brought about the Word of Faith movement, Christians have been walking on eggshells trying to avoid what they think isn’t faith.  They have strep throat, yet they go to church believing that they aren’t sick.  Instead of growing in their faith, they have spread strep throat to the rest of the church.  They are afraid to be honest about their trials, trying to bear up their load on their own.  Yes, God is a great burden-bearer, but sometimes the body of Christ can be a big hug to those who are hurting.

Then in the 2000’s came the prosperity message that told Christians if they were obedient to God, then God would bless them with money and nice things.  While I do believe that God blesses us, I don’t believe our focus should be on what we have or lack.  It says in Matthew 5:45 that God rains on the just AND the unjust.  In fact, Jesus told his disciples to sell all they had and give the money to the poor, and to only travel in ministry with the minimal amount of things that you need.  Not many Christians do this. I certainly don’t to that extent.

I get on Facebook and on my newsfeed, every day, there are a lot of people who make posts full of fear about what might happen to them if the government does this, or if a certain sub-culture gets power, or if a certain law gets passed.  This is where I want to make my point.  I believe that this “new” doctrine of comfort and prosperity has caused the body of Christ to look for the wrong indicators in their lives to tell them if they are “right” with God.  The only way to REALLY know if you are right with God is to spend time with Him in prayer and in the Word.  While devotionals and books by other Christian leaders can be good, NOTHING is as walk-adjusting as reading the Bible and letting God work His truth in you.   

If you dig into the Bible, you’ll see that Jesus said that the end times aren’t going to be easy.  Jesus warned us that we will be persecuted, martyred, and hated.  He said the earth will be filled with great wickedness.  He told us that there will be crazy stuff happening in the environment.  He prophesied that people who think they are Christians will be deceived by unsound doctrine, even those who did good works in His name.  That’s pretty heavy, really.  We have to know Him.  We have to be solid in doctrine.  We have to be lead by the Holy Spirit.  It is NOTHING within ourselves that saves us, except for what God has given us.  We are measly humans.  He is great.  🙂

We shouldn’t be afraid of the darkness around us, but get determined to be a light in that darkness.  We should be bold to proclaim His truth, but we often shrink back when we are called out for that very thing.  We are afraid of the false shame that people put on us when we stand for righteousness.  We are afraid of being uncomfortable, as the thought of losing our stuff haunts us.  We sing about needing nothing, but Jesus.  However, our lives and our words and actions seem to say the opposite of that.

Things will get hard at the end.  We have to stop being afraid of hardship.  Trust Him.  Be bold.

“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

– Proverbs 28:1

TrustinGod

I am a fairly strong person, and it is easy for me to tap on my own reserves when dealing with a situation.  However, there was once a situation in my life that I had spent years listening to other people’s advice, as well as tried to work things out my way.  It wasn’t working.  Really, it came down to a huge defect in the other person that I had no control over, (and didn’t want control over, except to be left alone.)

Back last August, I had a moment in prayer, where I believe God freed me from that situation.  I got my authority back in my life and that person’s control over me was gone.  I was still left with the feeling that I “should” keep an eye on things to protect our family, but I felt that God was saying to trust Him.  At first this was hard.  I do believe that God wants us to exercise our free will in most matters.  This one, though, He was saying, “hands off”.  I obeyed, and I found so much freedom.  I haven’t been afraid at all about the situation since then, and it has almost been 9 months.  He is good.

He also asked it of me with my music career.  (The “Erisa Rei” one.)  I watched as He worked out some really cool things with my music that I’d been working hard for on my own.  He met me in my stewardship and the music started doing better.  I’ve even had to turn down gigs, because I felt that I was getting too busy.

Well, now I feel that He is calling me to something different.  I’m not sure what that different looks like.  Is it so I focus on Christian music?  Is it for me to start writing more, outside of songwriting?  Is it so I can just rest?  Is it because He has some other sort of ministry for me?  I’m not sure.  He probably sighs over the amount of questions that I ask Him.  (Much better than the never asking Him questions that was originally the case, but that’s another blog post, maybe.)

I have no idea what the future holds.  I’m a bit impatient about the whole “not-knowing” thing.  However, I’m choosing to trust Him.  I know that it will work out best that way.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)