Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Escaping the Captive Maker

Perhaps you’ve noticed that we’re having a well-publicized, loud and angry fight here in the United States. Not since I was a boy in the 1960’s have I seen such ugly division. My friends, on both sides of the political divide, publicly lament losing friendships amidst fiery arguments, while expressing supreme frustration that their former friends are so clueless and ill-informed that they can’t help them and remain close any longer. “I can’t stop them if they’re going to be such idiots!” some have said, and away they go, torn apart.

Engrossed by the importance and power of the argument, they are blind to their own captivity.

For us, this is a type of war—right now—but because many are missing the real fight, they are actually powerless while making great effort. Too many of us have grown accustomed to fighting battles by the enemy’s terms, which are these:

“Do not let people think of the gospel as indispensible, powerful and daily good news from the real and eternal world. Instead, let them think of news from the passing away world, the one right in front of them, as most true and most vital. Transfix them, make disciples of them, and own the world. Do not let those in Christ see and think as He does, lest they avoid the world’s passionate argument of right versus left, conservative versus liberal, good versus evil, and instead, choose what’s already theirs: the inner transformation and power that comes from a renewal of their minds and life in the Spirit of God.

“Do not let them see that moral debate is most often an empty meal of self-righteousness, while the gospel of grace and life in Christ fully satisfies. Do not let them see that they are actually the body of Christ Himself, and so realize the love of the Father that compels them to walk and live as Jesus did—offering life and sight to the dead and blind. Instead, keep them captive to lesser identities of politics, gender, cravings and tradition, where arguments will force them to divide and become alienated from one another. In those divisions, disciples can be made and taken captive through passionate beliefs, and through their captivity, influence and power are taken from them and become ours.

“Do not let them see themselves as captive to a system of futility by rewarding them with the trinkets of gold and false nobility, lest they see the wealth of their reward and true nobility already secured and given to them by Jesus. Keep them camouflaged, disguised to themselves, and they will be made disciples in the dark, even though they are the sons of light.”

This is what I think is happening in our day, on a much bigger scale than ever before. The media and those who use it, clamor for our attention and allegiance. If they can have your mind, they can have you. And if you’re a Christian, that ownership will pervert you.

You have been designed and privileged by God to be daily transformed—brought forth and revealed, especially to yourself—by the renewing of your mind through the gospel of Jesus. But if you are not renewed in your mind for transformation, you will be transformed and crippled by the degrading of your mind.

You won’t see and know things as Jesus does, even though you are fit for Him. Instead, you will see people and situations as they appear in this world, cluttered and twisted, including yourself. And you will be drawn into the fleshly pursuit of correctness and righteousness, a little “Here’s how to get it right, people!” the result of which will be, “hatred, discord, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy,” rather than Spirit produced “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:19-23). If you’re feeling more of the former than the latter, please consider what’s filling and degrading your mind.

You are meant for the gospel and transformation.

When Jesus was transformed or transfigured before Peter, James and John, in Matthew 17:1-8, His face shining as the sun and clothes as bright as the light, He was revealed in stunning, heavenly majesty. He did not change and become anything He was not already; rather, the surface clutter of this world, which distracts and commands our attention, was removed—and there He was. God in man.

What I am saying is that Jesus’ disciples—you and me—need ongoing transformation through the renewing of our minds for us to know and for the world to know, God in us. Christianity. Through personal renewal and transformation, we are revealed to ourselves as heaven-born majesty, serving those who are not yet, and escape the corruption, the twisted captivity of this world’s Deceiver, Discipler and Captive-Maker. Through transformation, we know we’re alive, we’re aware and filled with Him, and we see beyond the cluttered, chaotic surface. We know as He knows. We feel as He feels. We do as He does. And that’s when the glory of God shared with us is unveiled to the world, and people are rescued.

To be sure, we are in a valiant struggle, but we do not wage war as this world does—only torture and diminished lives await that war, even while we hurl ourselves into the inviting fight.

Romans 12:1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, and develops well-formed maturity in you. (The Message)

Consider what I’m saying, and renew your discipleship to Jesus Himself. You’ll escape the Captive Maker.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “Escaping the Captive Maker”, and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, go to:, or scroll down this blog page.)

No comments:

Post a Comment