Monday, July 13, 2009

No More Christian Butt Kicking

Well, I’ve just heard another sermon lacking anything very glorious about God (which might induce faith and worship and passion in the church), but which was full of deft and agile butt kicking. Rather than teach the church the incredible gospel, rather than offer the listeners anything that might open their eyes and warm and fill their hearts with reviving and motivating wonder and awe, the sermon offered instruction on how to make something of their sorry selves by self-condemnation and harsh self-treatment.

I was disappointed . . .and a bit mad.

If we are the perfect, new creation sons and daughters of God, who live by the Spirit now in us, and if we are God’s workmanship, then, God, redeem us from the belief that we are our own worst enemies! We’re Spirit-born sons, recognized throughout the heavens! The flesh is indeed donkey-like, but we’re not flesh. Not anymore, not ever again.

And while you’re at it, God, redeem us from believing we have to kick our own butts to get our selves going or to make ourselves arrive somewhere—like we’re little better than religious donkeys. How can that work? Start with the biggest problem (our presumed bad self), and motivate our bad self with the same bad self. Not only is it inaccurate, it cannot possibly work. What Godly thing could one hope to produce?

It’s asinine.

If, however, we believe the truth and offer our redeemed selves to Him, He will gladly produce the life of Christ now in us. “Oh, Father! We believe you! You’ve made us right with you—not just legally but actually. It’s incredible! With minds renewed by the truth, we offer ourselves—your holy vessels—to you. In awe, we believe and worship you, and expect you will be glorified.”

That’s how Christ is formed in us. He won’t be formed in us by a serious and skillful butt kicking!

So knock that stuff off—or I’ll come over there and kick your butt.

There. Rant over.


  1. Anonymous9:10 AM

    Well said! Amen <3

  2. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Rant away, Rev. Fabulous!

  3. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Preach it, bro. It's not only asinine. It's downright Jackassanine! :)

  4. Anonymous9:12 AM

    If BY THE SPIRIT you put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live. Also: If you WALK BY THE SPIRIT you will not fulfill the lusts of the least that's what MY Bible says!

  5. Anonymous9:12 AM


  6. Anonymous9:13 AM

    Thanks, Ralph! Just the other evening I had an experience--just God and me in my quiet apartment--which can testify, with a loud AMEN, to how God molds us to his image. No butt-kicking involved! I appreciate this thought!

  7. Anonymous11:50 PM

    The controversial point is that IF we (collective we) start doing and behaving as we have been told to do, then we will no longer need the "butt kicking" that you so eloquently suggest preachers stop giving us. A good many of the professing Christians that I am surrounded by behave both in public as well as inside the church like they need to be taken over the proverbial Knee of God and given a real good butt whoopin. As Joanne said above, If ... you put to death the deeds of the flesh... . The problem is that too many Christians do not do that. You seem to be ranting about a sermon that you do not feel you need to hear. This is more than likely correct. What about the rest of that congregation? Is there no one listening to that sermon that is in dire need of a Butt Kicking? You're rant has a lot of IF's. My point is that most do not do the IF's you mention. I hear your rant about the sermon. What then is personal Bible study for? What then is Small Group Bible study for?

  8. Thanks for your note, Bart. I have responded to it in a mass sort of way. I hope you don't mind.

  9. Anonymous11:51 PM

    Bart, while I agree that many Christians do probably deserve a real good butt whoopin' from God (myself included), I believe Ralph's point is that such tactics don't really motivate us to change, at least not in the long run. Thankfully, God gives us what we need, not what we deserve.

  10. Read my new post. We live by faith, not by a butt whoopin'. If there's something amiss in our behavior, it's because of something we do not yet believe, and has become a way in which we do not offer ourselves to God--who now lives in us. Therefore, we make the futile attempt to live by the flesh, which always proves frustrating and impossible for the Christian. If, however, we offer ourselves to the Spirit because we actually believe He lives in us, He will produce what Christ is like--the fruit of the Spirit.

  11. Anonymous9:03 AM

    Thanks Ralph! You're the only one I know that can get away with such a blunt descriptive writing such as this. I loved it!

    Allot of the need to "Butt Kick" comes from those who still live under the law, feeling the need to exhort behavior by it's requirements. However, we are not under law but under grace. When we believe in the all sufficient, complete, perfect, glorious work of the cross and by Christ Jesus only, we are free to live this new and glorious life in Him. In reality and positionally we are complete, perfect and holy in Christ Jesus, seated in the heavenlies and already blessed there also. Simply put, we need to renew the mind to these glorious factual truths. The Spirit of God is our guarantee and will see to it for the alignment of His truth by walking in Him. Hallelujah!

    P.S. It might help if most people would begin by understanding that Israel has been blinded for a season, that program has been put in abeyance and now grace reigns through Christ Jesus. Learning to rightly divide the Word of Truth (that which is for Israel and that which is for the Body of Christ, The Church) will make us all Workman that needeth not be ashamed, thoroughly equipped for all works of righteousness, Mature Saints and not children be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Again, Hallelujah!

  12. So true, so true... won't make the followers of Charles Finney and Jonathon Edwards, famous for his sermon, "Sinners in the hands of an angry God", very happy though. Rant on my friend! Jeff

  13. Anonymous4:07 PM

    Yeah, buddy. I concur whole heartedly.

  14. Anonymous4:08 PM

    "If there's something amiss in our behavior, it's because of something we do not yet believe, and has become a way in which we do not offer ourselves to God--who now lives in us." Now you've done it, Ralph-- made me start thinking.

  15. Anonymous4:09 PM

    Hi Ralph

    Good one !!!
    I don't do Facebook etc. But wanted to reply. Guilt and religion keep people down and beholding. Christ tends to perplex those who have been pronounced guilty. He lifts us up. Sets us FREE. Leads us confidently onward.

    People need the relationship with Him.
    Those who pronounce guilt don't want people to really and truly know Christ. Because when they know Him, they don't need to go near the guilt trip ministers.

    Glad to be free!!


  16. Anonymous4:11 PM

    Yep, you're right. It's hard to remember all the time, though, especially when one sees a loved one hurting themselves with their behaviour. At those times it's very tempting to take aim for the butt..... :)