Hot, Hot, Hot

Welcome to Journey 8 – Hot, Hot, Hot

Continue your Omniallinfinitude™ Journey Here

 

Hot,  Hot,  Hot  is the eighth of the twelve Omniallinfinitude™ Journeys.  Each Journey is presented through 16 blog posts.  Even though we are now pausing or blogging a different Journey,   we highly recommend completing the journeys in order at your own pace.

Each Journey is made up of Journey Elements  (click for more information).  You can also view or download the PDF version of this Journey by clicking the Hot, Hot, Hot graphic at the top of the right sidebar.

 

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Read each blog post in the order they were posted.
  2. Complete the Journey Elements contained in each post.  Each Journey covers one attribute group and one spiritual practice.  All of the Elements relate to these in some way.
  3. Return to the Blog Post – we encourage you to comment based on the specific assignment.  Read other’s comments and engage in an online conversation.  These posts and comments are ongoing.
  4. For more information see How Does This Work on the Main Omni page.
  5. Then move on to the next post.  You can access the individual post pages from the top menu bar under Journey Elements,  or by clicking the links below in this post.
  6. When you complete a Journey – move on to the next Journey.  The format and Element structure will be the same in all the Journeys.
  7. Each Journey will also have its own blog,  and each post will have its own page,  in addition to appearing in the complete blog.  This will make it easier to complete the blog at your own speed,  as well as for others who start later.  We will eventually have 12 active blogs with people participating in all of them at the same time.

 

Complete the Blog Posts below in this order:

Click on the links to go to the individual blog posts with their respective comments.  Once you click to the Journal pages,  scroll up to get to the beginning of the blog post.  Each Journal post will also appear on the Journey Element Page that it follows.  For example,  Journal 8.1 will appear on the same page and directly under Remember and Read.

 

Hot, Hot, Hot: What comes to your mind?

Hot, Hot, Hot 1: Remember and Read

Hot, Hot, Hot 2: Journal 8.1 – Problem Solved

Hot, Hot Hot 3: Analyze – Core Concepts

Hot, Hot, Hot 4: Journal 8.2 – Anger Management

Hot, Hot, Hot 5: Investigate – Wrath and 10 Things

Hot, Hot, Hot 6: Journal 8.3 – Holy Intolerance

Hot, Hot, Hot 7: Practice – Secrecy and Why?

Hot, Hot, Hot 8: Journal 8.4 – Real Life Consequences

Hot, Hot, Hot 9: Inventory – Your Time

Hot, Hot, Hot 10: Journal 8.5 – Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Hot, Hot, Hot 11: Adventuring – God at the Movies

Hot, Hot, Hot 12: Journal 8.6 – I Object!

Hot, Hot, Hot 13: More Cool Stuff – Life after Life

Hot, Hot, Hot 14: Journal 8.7 – Nitty Gritty

Hot, Hot, Hot 15: Lyrics

Hot, Hot, Hot 16: Closure

 

While we encourage you to leave Comments,  we totally understand if you want to participate anonymously.  This format also works well for small groups meeting in person.  It’s ok to print out the PDF – just remember to keep a copy on your computer so you can use the links.

 

Credits for quotes,  music,  lyrics and videos appear in the Credits section in the back of the PDF.

Omniallinfinitude™ material may be reproduced as long as credit is given.  There is no fee for using this material.

 

Enjoy the Journey…..take your time….but take the Journey!

Hot, Hot, Hot – What comes to mind?

 

What comes to your mind?

 

SunsurfaceHot summer nights with red hot tempers
When the hot blooded get hot headed
Having a hot time in the old town tonight.
The hot shots are hot dogging with the cops in hot pursuit
And everyone ends up in hot water.

 

But not the hot guys and gals
With their hot wheels
Looking all hot – at all the hot spots.
They’re checking out all the hot properties
Wanting to strike while the iron is hot.
Hot Mamas,  in their hot pants,  getting all hot and heavy
And once again everyone ends up in hot water.
(And we’re not talking about a hot tub.)

 

strike-when-the-iron-is-hotLet’s order in some Hot Chocolate and Hot Buttered Rum,
Hot dogs and Hot Fudge Sundaes.
Send over some Hot Peppers with Hot Tamales and Hot Sauce.
Throw in some hot and spicy hotcakes.
Eat all that and you’ll be crying hot tears.
And once again everyone ends up in hot water.
(And we’re not talking about a hot bath.)

 

It’s hot as Hades in here.
For good reason – we’re in the hothouse,
The one with the hot tin roof.
The hot topic is how to get out of this hot water.
It’s a real hot potato – no one wants to venture a guess.
How did we get here?
Who can show us the way out?

 

HousefireAll of a sudden,  up ahead,  a door opens.
“Over Here” says a very glorious looking Man.
“I AM the way out.”
“Follow me.”
“My name is Jesus.”

It’s only going to get hotter down here.

 

COMMENTS:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or in the Comment section of this post)

Before you begin Journey 8,  what comes to your mind as you ponder Hot, Hot, Hot?

 

Hot, Hot, Hot 1: Remember and Read

remember

Psalm 94: 2-3

“Rise up,  O Judge of the earth;  pay back to the proud what they deserve.  How long will the wicked,  O Lord,  how long will the wicked be jubilant?” (NIV)

 

Additional verses to remember :

Psalm 7:11 – God is a righteous judge,  a God who displays his wrath every day.  (NIV)

John 3:36 – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,  but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,  for God’s wrath remains on them.  (NIV)

Romans 1: 18-19 – The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of people,  who suppress the truth by their wickedness,  since what may be known about God is plain to them,  because God has made it plain to them.  (NIV)

Hebrews 9:27 – Just as people are destined to die once,  and after that to face judgment.  (NIV)

 

We always begin by memorizing the theme verse for each journey (including Book,  Chapter and Verse).   Think of this as the necessary foundation for future excellence – like practicing scales on the piano or doing wind sprints or swimming laps,  or taking your vitamins,  or eating your vegetables.

What is that I hear? – OH NO!  Not memorization….

We actually recall or remember all kinds of things we’ve memorized without really even trying.  Can you think of any?

How about your phone number,  email address,  street address,  zip code,  social security number,  birthday,  names of your family,  how to get to work,  how to drive a car,  that secret recipe….or how to spell or multiply,  song lyrics,  movie scenes,  jokes,  what someone was wearing,  what car they drove,  sports statistics,  what chocolate tastes like,  what the ocean smells like,  and on and on.

That’s why we call this element Remember – it’s the remembering that is important.

 

Why do we remember what we remember?

Actually,  recollection is just the tip of the memory iceberg.  Within our marvelous and mysterious brain the memory works in collaboration with us and the world – it uses all our senses and emotions. We associate smells,  colors,  places,  rituals,  symbols,  landmarks,  even people,  with memories and when we sense the trigger,  we remember.

For now you will just have to take my word for it – there are tremendous spiritual benefits from Remembering Bible verses:

  • Strengthens our faith
  • Shapes how we view the world
  • Makes God’s Word immediately accessible
  • Guards our minds

Here are some hints to help you get started.  We all learn differently – so don’t be afraid to try some of the more unusual methods.  Plus – some of them are just plain fun.   And not only do we need to remember the verse,  we need to remember to work on remembering the verse….double whammy!

  • Write the verse on several post it notes or index cards and put it where you will see it such as the car,  the bathroom mirror,  the kitchen sink,  a bulletin board,  your computer screen saver,  your cell phone,  your Facebook status,  by your bed…..Or use one of the many Scripture Memory APPs now available for phones and tablets.  Scripture Typer is one of our favorites.
  • Make plans to spend five minutes, twice a day  (usually as you get up and before bed) to review.  Review often…..
  • Say it slowly, 15 times in a row, emphasizing each word.
  • If you have already learned it in another translation,  review that one.  Once you know it in one,  look it up in a couple of others to see what is different.
  • Review it when you are waiting in line,  or on hold on the phone.
  • Sing it – make up a tune to go with it,  or say it with an accent.
  • Rap it,  paint it,  draw it,  doodle it,  or diagram it like in Pictionary
  • For extra credit,  add the verse before and the verse after.

I like to think of this remember process as Texting or Tweeting My Brain and then having my brain Text or Tweet me back.

 

Also,  remember there is a downloadable PDF available for this Journey – click on the graphic at the top of the right sidebar.  You can download it and save it on your computer where it will link to the online Bible,  a dictionary,  the videos and the songs for this Journey.  You can also type into it and of course you can print it out.  We highly encourage – however you chose to record your discoveries and experiences – everyone to periodically comment online and read each other’s comments.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Don’t forget the REMEMBER verses from Journeys 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6 and 7 – What were they?  Keep reviewing them daily.  Try to use them in conversation and to encourage others.

 

read

Romans 3, 8, 12

(you can change translations after you click the blue chapter links to read in other translations)

 

Please read through these four chapters in one sitting,  on three separate days;  once from a modern translation,  once in a modern paraphrase,  and then finally with a pad and pencil by as you record your thoughts and observations.  It is also helpful to read the selections aloud.  As you read, underline words that describe who God is or the names He is called.  The blue Bible Chapter links above will bring up an online Bible and you can change the translation to whatever you want.

This element is about reading what it says – try to put aside any preconceived ideas about what you think it says,  or what you may have concluded based on other studies or classes.  We are not saying those ideas are wrong,  but for this Element,  we just want to read it as if for the first time.  Please read for the storyline – and see if you can then faithfully retell it in your own words.

 

Since you cannot type into this blog – we suggest you record your answers in a journal or download/print the PDF version.

First Reading:  Modern Translation – which one did you use?

Second Reading:  Modern Paraphrase – which one did you use?

Third Reading:  Reading Notes

Romans 3:

Romans 8:

Romans 12:

Descriptions of God:

Names used for God:

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal, the downloadable PDF for this blog, or in the Comment section for this post.)

Share with us any names or descriptions of God you discovered.  Also share any personal observations or experiences from just reading to see what it says.

Our next blog post will be Hot, Hot, Hot  2: Journal 8.1 – Problem Solved.

 

Hot, Hot, Hot 2: Journal 8.1 – Problem Solved

 

We have come a long way on our Spiritual Journey.

Our most recent discovery was that our One and Only,  Most High,  Creator God had a solution in place for our sin problem all along.

 

Paid in fullThe One who is Beyond Time and Space,  eternal,  infinite,  unlimited and never changing……He provided the answer to the problem of evil and sin and all the heartache and suffering it brings on creation.

 

The One with unlimited power,  knowledge,  wisdom and control,  the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe,  He alone could offer the redeeming resolution to Adam and Eve’s wrong choice in the Garden.  He sent His own Son,  Jesus,  to earth,  to be our High Priest,  to pay our penalty,  to sacrifice Himself for our sins.

 

The Faithful and Trustworthy One kept His Promises.  The Goodness of God provided the means for us to obtain the Highest Good – life forever with Him,  the Good Life.

 

Blood had to be shed to pay the ransom for our sins,  conquering death and destroying evil.  His Holiness,  Righteousness and Justice set the bar so high only Jesus could satisfy.  Through His Death and Resurrection,  we gain access to God,  real life,  and eternity with Him.  Nothing else is needed,  no more sacrifices.

 

Jesus died in my place,  paid for me,  saved me.

But from what?  What did Jesus save us from?  How bad is it?

Really, really bad.

HeavenHell

 

He saved us from the righteous wrath of GodHis Holiness Justly responding to our sin.

One God – The Almighty

One Problem – Sin and Evil

One Solution – Jesus’ Sacrifice

One Victory – Jesus’ Resurrection

 

Two Futures – I get to choose.

He saved us from eternity in Hell.
He saved us for eternity in Heaven.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Compare righteous anger and unrighteous anger.  Give some examples of each.

Our next blog post will be Hot, Hot, Hot  3: Analyze – Core Concepts.

 

Hot, Hot, Hot 3: Analyze – Core Concepts

analyze

Core Concepts

 

For this exercise we will do a deeper analysis of some of the Core Concepts of Christianity.

Write down what you learn about the following subjects from reading Romans 3 and 8.

 

Sin,  Sinful Man,  Sinful Nature:

 

The Law:

 

Righteousness:

 

Jesus, The Son:

 

The Spirit:

 

Benefits and Promises to you and me:

 

 

COMMENT:

 (In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Summarize what you learned in each of the categories above.

Our next blog post will be Hot, Hot, Hot  4: Journal 8.2 – Anger Management.

 

Hot, Hot, Hot 4: Journal 8.2 – Anger Management

 

Talk about uncomfortable.

We do not like to think at all about the wrath of an angry God .

It embarrasses us – seems barbarous,  unloving,  uncivilized,  outrageous and cruel…very ungodlike.  God seems out of control,  overly emotional,  with wounded pride and a bad temper.

This certainly isn’t a very popular idea and many have difficulty defending it in our culture today.

 

wrath.phpHow ironic that we,  as imperfect,  finite creatures,  trying to comprehend the infinite,  transcendent,  One and Only God,  end up becoming His judge by pretending to take the moral high ground.

 

Once again we are caught transferring our own imperfections and limitations onto God,  seeing Him in our image,  instead of ourselves in His.

 

Anger is amoral.  God created us with the ability to experience anger and use it for his Glory,  but unfortunately,  in our selfishness,  pride,  envy,  fear and greed,  our anger is anything but godly or righteous.  Anger motivates us to sinful thoughts and deeds.  It controls us,  drives us,  destroys us.

 

anger

 

Why are we so angry?

Most often anger stems from an actual or perceived violation of our personal rights or boundaries.   A personal right is a rule I have made up which I expect others to obey.   A personal boundary is a rule I make up for myself to obey.

 

Something happens that shouldn’t happen.
Something didn’t happen that should have happened.
We had already decided what should and should not be,  playing God.

 

Then our anger brings us feelings of justification and self righteousness.  Oftentimes we try to control it and then anger erupts from the straw that broke the camel’s back – from something insignificant and unrelated.

 

We can’t get our way.
We want what we want.
We feel disrespected,  lied to,  hurt,  violated.
We didn’t deserve to be treated that way.   We were abused and taken advantage of.  We compare,  become jealous,  covet,  and envy.  And the list goes on…….and then develops into family traditions of anger,  unresolved hurts from the past,  unforgiveness and bitterness.

 

Instead – the Bible encourages us to:

“Be angry but do not sin.”  Eph. 4:26.

“You must be quick to listen , slow to speak,  and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”  James. 1:19-20

“You love justice and hate evil.”  Psalm 45:7, Heb. 1:9

“Show mercy to others,  but do so with great caution,  hating the sins that contaminate their lives.”  Jude 1:23

 

Anger and hatred…….both elements of the wrath of God.

Both perfectly and righteously directed against sin and evil.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

List some things that make you angry.  List some things that you hate.

How do you act or react on your anger or hate?  How does this impact your life?

Our next blog post will be Hot, Hot, Hot  5: Investigate – Wrath & 10 things.

 

 

 

Hot, Hot, Hot 5: Investigate – Wrath & 10 things

investigate

Wrath

 

Define:  Please write a brief definition for each word below in your journal or the PDF using a regular dictionary,  not a Bible dictionary.

(Click on any word to link to dictionary.com for the word’s definition)investigate

 

       Wrath

       Anger

       Hatred

       Ire

       Fear

       Vengeance

       Revenge

       Retribution

       Punishment

       Judgment

       Hell

       Wicked

       Perish

       Disobedience

       Guilty

       Death

       Evil

 

Now write your own definition for Hot, Hot, Hot.
Share it as a COMMENT.

 

Review: 

What does each passage below reveal to you about God’s Wrath

Psalm 1: 5-6

Psalm 7:11

Psalm 76:8-10

Isaiah 9:19

Jeremiah 7: 20-29

Ezekiel 7:19

Nahum 1:2-3

Micah 5:14-15

Matthew 3:11-12

Romans 1:18-20

Romans 9:22-23

Romans 12:17-19

2 Thess. 1:6-10

Hebrews 12:28-29

 

Read the following verses,  and for each one explain what angered God and how He expressed His wrath.

Genesis 3: 13-24

Genesis 6: 11-13, 17-18

Genesis 11: 4-9

Genesis 18: 20, 19:24-28

Exodus 7: 1-6

Numbers 14: 6-35

Numbers 20: 6-12

2 Samuel 12: 7-14

Mark 11: 15-18

Matthew 27: 45-54

Acts 5: 1-10

Revelation 18:2-8

 

Conclude:

List some of the causes of God expressing His wrath.

List some of the consequences of God’s wrath.

List some of the ways to escape God’s wrath.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Share your definition for Hot, Hot, Hot.  Then share some of your answers to the questions in the Conclude section for this post as well as any other insights you gained from investigating the verses above.

 

10  things

Hot, Hot, Hot

 

  1. Esh Oklah is the name for God that translates Consuming Fire,  describing a God who will ultimately destroy whatever is opposed to his holiness.  Images of fire such as the Burning Bush and the Pillar of Fire are used throughout the Word to describe how God manifested Himself to his people.  He is also referred to as a Refiner’s Fire purifying the lives of believers for His purposes.  His purposes are always restorative as He constantly seeks to draw us back to Himself.
  1. Arthur Pink – “The wrath of God is his eternal detestation of all unrighteousness.  It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil.  It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin.”
  1. J. I. Packer –“God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious,  self indulgent,  irritable,  morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is.  It is, instead,  a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.”
  1. Mark Shaw – “God’s wrath flows from his love,  for the presence of deep love necessitates the hatred of that which threatens or opposes what is loved.  The love of life necessitates the hatred of death.  The love of fidelity necessitates the hatred of infidelity.  So the Trinity’s infinite love for one another necessitates a wrath and hatred against anything that would dishonor,  diminish,  or decline to enjoy the persons of the divine family.”
  1. A. W. Tozer – “Every wrathful judgment in the history of the world has been a holy act of preservation.  The holiness of God,  the wrath of God,  and the health of the creation are inseparably united.  God’s wrath is His utter intolerance of whatever degrades and destroys.”
  1. Stephen Charnock – “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind.  The anger of the Lord is often compared to a storm,  clouds of judgment,  turning day into night,  with no notice,  confounding things and jumbling them together.”
  1. Solomon“When the storm has swept by,  the wicked are gone,  but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10: 25  NIV
  1. Tim Keller – “The Bible says that God’s wrath flows from his love and delight in his creation.  He is angry at evil and injustice because it is destroying its peace and integrity.”
  1. God’s wrath is not an embarrassment to Him,  and neither should it be for us.
  1. Jesus’ greatest suffering came on the cross when he was the object of all the Father’s wrath meant for us,  both present and to come.

 References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Hot, Hot, Hot.

 

COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or the Comment section of this post.)

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

Continue to review the Remember Verses and make sure you are up to date on all the prior postings.

Our next blog post will be Hot, Hot, Hot  6: Journal 8.3 – Holy Intolerance.

 

Hot, Hot, Hot 6: Journal 8.3 – Holy Intolerance

 

So,  it’s OK for us to get angry,  but not God?

Yet,  He has the only true right or reason to show righteous anger or wrath.  If God did not punish evildoers,  He would be compromising with wickedness and condoning sin.

 

His Wrath is His Just response to sin,  evil and disobedience.

His Holy Intolerance,  His Judgment,  High Standards,  Absolute Righteousness and Truth require His Wrath to punish sin.

His Wrath is His Holiness stirred into activity against sin.  Not just the horribly gross and tragic sins,  but any sin,  anywhere,  by anybody.  His Holiness cannot tolerate any sin in His presence.

 

zerotoleranceIn the Bible there are more references to God’s wrath and fury than there are to His Love and tenderness.  Yet today it is largely ignored.  It seems so unenlightened to modern man,  hardly fair,  and certainly not sophisticated.  No one has ever liked the wrath of God,  for good reason.

And no one wants to hear about it.

Yet His wrath is judicial,  as all who experience it – deserve it.
God is just and there are no special deals.
No one gets off the hook.

 

He is also patient and long suffering and merciful.

He does not want any to perish and so gives many chances for repentance.  He warns us over and over again of the consequences of our sinful lives.

He provides us a way out,  a way back to him,  a new life,  a different eternity.

 

He may tolerate sin for a season,  but eventually His Wrath will be released.
Slowly,  controlled,  almost reluctantly,  it will come.

  • Adam and Eve were cursed.  (Genesis 3)
  • The builders of the Tower of Babel were scattered and confused.  (Genesis 11)
  • The world of Noah was destroyed by a flood.  (Genesis 6-9)
  • Sodom and Gomorrah were incinerated.  (Genesis 19)
  • Pharaoh’s Egypt was devastated by 10 plagues.  (Exodus 7-12)
  • The Israelites were punished more than once,  killed,  captured,  conquered and exiled.
  • Moses was not allowed into the Promised Land.  (Numbers 20)
  • David lost his own son and was not allowed to build the Temple of God.  (2 Samuel 11-12)
  • Jesus Christ on the cross received God’s wrath for all sin ever committed.

Earthquakes,  floods,  fire,  darkness,  plagues,  insects,  lions,  disease,  famine,  drought,  weather,  captivity,  conquering armies,  governments and angels have all been used to deliver God’s wrath.

 

We dislike wrath so much,  many of us deny the existence of God altogether.  If He does not exist,  we can do whatever we please.  We think we can make God to suit ourselves,  make Him a little more presentable,  more like us.  While we minimize,  excuse and deny our sins,  God hates them.

 

badnews

 

The news is really,  really bad.

Worse than we could ever imagine.

The wrath of God is a fact and not a defect in the character of God.  To fully appreciate the Good News of Jesus,  you have to first understand the Bad News of Sin and Death.

 

 

We have been duly warned.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

How do we compromise with evil or wickedness?

Our next blog post will be Hot, Hot, Hot  7: Practice – Secrecy & Why?.

 

Hot, Hot, Hot 7: Practice – Secrecy & Why?

practice

Secrecy

 

The Spiritual Practices put us in a place where we are better able to interact with our environment and God.  God can then reach inside our spirits and transform them.  Just as our body needs to eat,  breathe,  exercise,  drink,  sleep,  etc.,  so our spiritual self needs to make sure it is being sustained,  cared for,  and trained.  The results include spiritual growth,  a life controlled by the Holy Spirit,  evidence of the fruit of the spirit,  and the ultimate goal,  living life like Jesus did.

The Spiritual Practices are not:

  • Meritorious laws that earn favor with God
  • A way to show how spiritually mature we are
  • Unpleasant or difficult

Instead, they are:

  • Intentional
  • Activities we do that when practiced allow us to do activities we cannot now do.
  • Adaptable to work with our temperaments and gifts
  • Adjustable according to the rhythm and seasons of our lives

 

There are two kinds:

Abstinence – when we stop doing something that is perfectly normal to allow ourselves to focus more on God,  His Word,  and growing in godliness.  These also help us resist our tendency toward sins of commission  (when we do something we shouldn’t do).  We withdraw to breathe in all that God can provide to us,  breaking the hold that the world has on our lives.  Practices of Abstinence help ready us and create room for the Practices of Engagement.

Engagement – when we do certain activities that help us grow in Christ and obey his commandments.  The Practices of Abstinence have opened up the time and broken up the preoccupations so we are now free to learn of,  focus on,  and practice those things that God commands us to do.  These assist in keeping us from our tendency toward sins of omission  (not doing the things we should do).  We engage to breathe out all that God commands us.

This Journey Element requires more time than most to complete so break it down into sections. The two opportunities to Comment provide obvious breaking points.

 

Secrecy

Living Free from what others think

 

People Pleasing,  Look at Me!,  Showing off,  Tooting my own Horn,  Managing our Image,  Taking Credit,  Being Seen,  Making a Good Impression,  Hanging with the Right Crowd,  Making the A List,  Being in the IN Crowd,  Commanding respect……

All these and more are symptoms of lives in desperate need of the Practice of Secrecy.

 

Trying too hard to look good.

ApprovedSome of us care too much about what others think.  We are constantly comparing,  competing,  trying to impress,  envious of others,  and end up in bondage,  captive to what others think,  say,  or believe about us.

It always starts with the comparing,  measuring ourselves and our accomplishments against those of others,  never being satisfied.  We begin to shade the truth,  embellishing,  exaggerating,  making excuses,  justifying ourselves with endless explanations of our true motives,  hiding our true selves.  This exhausting and endless process eventually leads us to resent the very people whose approval we seek.

We want to be noticed for what we do well.

We will also avoid saying what we truly think if it might bring disapproval from those we value.  While praise,  affirmation,  and encouragement are good things,  necessary to learn to both give and receive,  instead we are to focus our efforts on the giving part,  while learning to receive graciously when it is given to us.

 

We seek approval based on our accomplishments in a variety of areas:

  • How much money we have,  earn,  spend,  etc.
  • Our social status,  club,  neighborhood,  selective groups
  • What we own and if we own it first
  • Our beauty,  fitness,  sex appeal
  • Our accomplishments or heroism
  • Our popularity
  • Our career advancement,  success,  or achievements
  • Our education
  • Greater numbers or record breaking,  awards
  • Compliments,  tweets,  Facebook Friends,  LIKES
  • Struggles or trials we have recovered from
  • News coverage and fame,  followers,  rankings

This very same highly sought approval will also come crashing down when any criticism,  isolation,  and judgment is received.  We tend to confuse our performance or approval by others with our worth as people,  instead of looking to God for the satisfaction only He can provide.

 

The antidote to all this is the Practice of Secrecy,  which leaves it up to God alone to decide what should and should not be noticed by others.  It is the opposite of our constant approval seeking and image management since it teaches us to enjoy being anonymous,  freeing us from the impact opinions of others have over our lives.

John 12:43 states the problem very simply.  “For they loved human praise more than they love God.

 

Jesus is our example in word and deed

  • Prior to his very first miracle,  turning water into wine,  Jesus told his mother it was not yet His time to go public with His Mission and Being.  (John 2:1-2)
  • When Jesus entered towns he often tried to keep it a secret that he was there.  (Mark 7:24).
  • After teaching the swelling crowds in town after town,  he would then withdraw by himself or with his disciples.  (Luke 4:42)
  • shhhJesus told his brothers his time had not yet come and that He was not on public display.  (John 7:1-9)
  • Jesus even told the demons to keep quiet about who He really was.  (Mark 1:25, 34, 3:12)
  • Peter was the first to confess that Jesus was indeed the Son of God but then Jesus told him not to tell anyone yet.  (Matthew 16:20)
  • And also after his transfiguration he told the disciples not to tell anyone about seeing his glory.  (Matthew 17:9, Mark 9:9)
  • But Jesus taught us to follow his example of humility:  to pray to their Father in secret,  to do our good works quietly,  to seek God’s praise and not people’s,  and to put aside all selfish ambition  (Matthew 6:1-18).

 

Paul reminds us that God decides when our deeds will be known and when our light will be noticed in Philippians 2.  Peter and James confirm that humility is the main ingredient in a closer walk with God.  (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6)

And Secrecy is one of the main ingredients of humility.  Without secrecy it’s impossible to be humble.  Likewise,  all those who are genuinely humble,  practice the discipline of secrecy.

 

Benefits of Practicing Secrecy

Eventually,  very slowly,  the practice of Secrecy will change our lives from the inside out.  The spiritual practices are not an end in themselves,  but are to allow us to grow spiritually in different areas.  This practice deals with the area of humility and pride.

This does not mean we do not present our best,  be our best,  and do our best.  This does not mean you must do everything in secret or that you can never talk about yourself.   The goal is to place our need for God’s approval over our need for the approval of other people.

Eventually we will see the following changes begin to appear in our lives.

  • We lose desire for fame,  justification,  or attention from others and refocus our efforts on pleasing God.
  • Our Walk of Faith stabilizes as our relationship with God becomes independent of the opinions of others.
  • We rise above the Praise and Blame Game we play with ourselves and others
  • Our Humility increases because,  like John the Baptist,  Jesus can only increase as we decrease.
  • Secrecy becomes a tangible expression of our abiding trust in God.
  • Giving away something helps us to be less enslaved by it – we experience freedom and joy.
  • It is ok to receive praise,  encouragement and affirmation.  In fact,  God encourages us to give that to others,  so He will encourage others to give it to us.

 

Practicing Secrecy

The practice of secrecy involves two different elements.Humility

ONE:  We are to abstain from causing our good deeds or qualities from becoming known.  This helps us to move closer to that illusive quality of humility and takes away any reward of fame or recognition.   Eventually our reward will simply be the thrill of giving,  period.  The motive will be to obey and please God,  and not to gain approval,  recognition,  make a good impression,  or expect a reciprocal deed done for us.

TWO:  We are to free ourselves from the need to be our own public relations firm.  Much of our conversation tends to be about justifying our actions,  thoughts,  situations,  opinions,  as well as promoting ourselves and what we have done,  own,  and know.  The focus is always on us,  where Jesus wants our focus to be on God and others.  We will never be able to please everyone.  There will always be someone who looks better than us.

 

Ways to Begin to Practice Secrecy

1.  Pay attention to your conversations and notice how much you talk about yourself.  Also pay attention to how you listen,  what you are thinking about while someone else is talking.

2.  Pay attention to how often you do the following to improve your image:  blame others,  diminish others,  justify your actions,  make excuses,  seek the limelight,  compete with others,  seek the last word,  prove your point at all costs,  bring the conversation back to yourself.

3.  Do a good deed in secret:  Absolutely no one can know.  Be prepared to share how hard it was to do,  and how you felt after.  These can be done intentionally for some one with a great need,  or anonymously and randomly.  Some ideas to start with are listed below.

  • Pay someone’s rent or other bill
  • Leave groceries on someone’s front porch
  • Mail someone cash – make sure there is no return address on the envelope.
  • Pay for food at another table in a restaurant
  • Pay for the person behind you (or two or three cars behind you) in the drive thru line or the bridge/highway toll lane
  • Mow someone’s lawn
  • Leave a gift on someone’s desk,  porch,  in their car,  purse,  etc.
  • Make an anonymous donation to a fund for someone in great need (medical,  disaster,  etc.)
  • Buy something you know someone really wants/needs and have it delivered anonymously
  • Leave a gift for the next person in the bathroom stall
  • Order takeout food for delivery and have it sent to someone else.  Make sure you pay for it.
  • Pick a day and do good deeds for those around you without letting them know you are watching and waiting to serve them.  The secret in this case is your motives and that you have no personal agenda.  Anticipate every need.

4.  Pray for others to be more outstanding,  more praised,  more useful of God than yourself.  Rejoice in their success.

5.  Allow God to tell others about your needs.  God provides faithfully for those who trust Him and in return our faith is greatly increased in God.

6.  If you use social media,  begin to pay attention to what and why you post,  comment,  LIKE,  SHARE,  Tweet,  etc. How can this reveal ways we manage our image.  How can we use these tools in a less self glorifying,  more positive way?

You get the idea.  This will take some planning and scheming.  Have fun!  Remember no one can ever know.

 

Personal Reflections on Secrecy:

 1.  According to the following verses,  what should our motivation be for our good works,  success,  achievements, performance, etc.?

Proverbs 16:3:

Matthew 5:14-16:

1 Corinthians 10:31:

Colossians 3:17:

Colossians 3:23:

 

2.  List some of the ways you manage your own public relations or image.

 

3.  Whose approval do you seek and why?

 

4.  Are you more apt to Praise or Blame?  Build yourself up or tear someone else down?  Brag or criticize?

 

5.  What did you learn through “paying attention to your conversations” with others?

 

6.  What part of the “doing a good deed in secret” blessed you the most?  What was the most difficult part?  Will you do it again?

 

7.  Do you believe God will tell others about your needs?  How does this motivate you to respond when God tells you about someone else’s needs?

 

8.  If we do our good deeds with the proper Godly motivations,  they will shine all on their own.  What happens when they shine?  Who is responsible for when the recognition comes?

 

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Share your answers to the Personal Reflections on Secrecy questions.  Also share anything you learned from practicing Secrecy.

 

why?

Secrecy

 

Dallas Willard – “Secrecy at its best teaches love and humility before God and others.  And that love and humility encourages us to see our associates in the best possible light,  even to the point of our hoping they will do better and appear better than us.”

Jesus“Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men,  to be seen by them.  If you do,  you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 6:1  NIV

John Ortberg – “When you are in your twenties,  someone once wrote,  you live to please other people.   When you are in your thirties,  you get tired of trying to please others,  so you get miffed with them for making you worry about it.  When you are in your forties,  you realize nobody was thinking about you anyway.”

Paul – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,  but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”   Philippians 2:3  NIV

Jesus “So when you give to the needy,  do not announce it with trumpets,  as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets,  to be honored by men.  I tell you the truth,  they have received their reward in full.   But when you give to the needy,  do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father,  who sees what is done in secret,  will reward you.”  Matthew 6: 2-4  NIV

Don Carson – “We start out for the goal of pleasing the Father,  but it’s soon traded in for its pygmy cousin,  the goal of pleasing men.  We start off with the goal of genuine holiness,  and end up settling for external piety.”

Secrecy leads to uprooting hypocrisy.  We eventually begin to do the right things for the right reasons instead of the wrong reasons.

Jesus “And when you pray,  do not be like the hypocrites,  for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray,  go into your room,  close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen.  Then your Father,  who sees what is done is secret,  will reward you.”  Matthew 6: 5-6  NIV

Dallas Willard – “One of the greatest fallacies of our faith,  and actually one of the greatest acts of unbelief,  is the thought that our spiritual acts and virtues need to be advertised to be known.”

References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Hot, Hot, Hot.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the PDF,  or the Comments section of this post)

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

The next post is Hot, Hot, Hot  8: Journal 8.4 – Real Life Consequences.

 

 

Hot, Hot, Hot 8: Journal 8.4 – Real Life Consequences

 

While most of us will never experience the cataclysmic wrath of God where He breaks into human history and destroys the ungodly in mass and in an instant……we all may experience two more subtle forms of His wrath in our everyday lives:  Sowing and Reaping and Abandonment.

 

sowingSowing and Reaping refers to the concept of reaping what you sow…….the logical consequences or the results of your behavior that come back to impact your life and those of your friends and family.  With repentance of sin,  God gives the grace to go through these times,  causing spiritual growth and wisdom.  There are consequences to sin in this life, that even though you have repented and been forgiven,  God may allow to remain in effect.

 

Often we are oblivious to the consequences of sin because most don’t materialize until even years later.  We do not feel the immediate burn of touching the hot stove.  Unlike Pinocchio,  our noses do not grow when we sin for all to see.  Our consciences may bother us for a while,  but time and practice will dull any desire to repent.  We rationalize and excuse ourselves.

Everyone else is doing it.
I’m not hurting anyone.
It feels so good.
I’m my own person.
I know what I’m doing.

Faith is required in trusting God for His promises both good and bad.   As we believe by faith,  we also obey by faith.

 

Abandonment refers to God leaving you alone,  removing His power,  protection,  goodness and grace from you like he did to Samson.  Many presume to draw on God for his blessings and benefits without dealing with their sin,  using Him as an errand boy or superpower to exalt or indulge themselves.  But God will not be mocked.

God ultimately abandons unrepentant man to do whatever shameful things their hearts desire.
They trade the truth about God for a lie.
They worship the created things instead of the creator.
God abandons them to their foolish thinking since they think it is foolish to acknowledge God.
He lets them do things that should never be done.
Their lives become full of every kind of wickedness.
They invent new ways of sinning.
They encourage others to join them.
All the while they know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway.
Romans 1:24-32 (Paraphrase)

 

It always seems to follow the same pattern.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21417699God sets the standard
Man assaults the standard
Then man ignores the standards
Then man rejects the standards
Then man suppresses the standards
Then man experiences the wrath of God…
God removes His restraining Grace
God lets them go on their course uninterrupted
Man experiences the logical consequences of their sinful choices

Man rejects God,
Then makes up new ideas of God
Then rationalizes in their defense – making themselves feel wise when in reality they have become fools.

 

Man’s descent is complete.
They have transferred their allegiance from the One True God to powerless idolsworshiping the creation instead of the creator.

 

MerrygoroundWhile it is true man can choose to jump off this merry-go-round at any time,  repent and place themselves back under God’s authority and blessing,  the farther down the road of sin one has traveled,  the darker the road and the duller the conscience.

 

No one will be able to say they didn’t know,  that they deserve another chance,  that it’s not fair.

 

“For ever since the world was created,  people have seen the earth and the sky.  Through everything God made,  they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”  Romans 1:20

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

What are some ways modern society worships the creation or man made idols instead of the Creator God?

Do you see this happening in your own life?

What kinds of things have you made into idols that push God out of His rightful place in your life?

Our next blog post will be Hot, Hot, Hot 9: Inventory – Your Time.