Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Freedom of Humility

This week I have been captivated by this exhortation from God's Book:

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."[1]

As I process this through the distinctive filter of our freedom in Jesus Christ, I look back over the years of testimony that have separated those who have found freedom from those who have remained hidden away in bondage.

What I see so clearly now is that the difference between these two groups of people is not the extent of their soul-injuries, how badly they were treated in the past, how poorly they were supported at the time they were entertaining letting people help them, or anything else that could be measured by degrees of experiences and circumstances.

The difference comes down to this one thing, that those who continued on into freedom did so because they humbled themselves under the mighty hand of God and learned to let HIM handle all their soul-condition needs, while those who remained in their bondage did so because they would not let go of the self-dependent systems and roles they had created to survive and handle whatever they went through.

At times, this was so distinct as to have two people facing virtually identical soul-needs with the exact same opportunities available for receiving help and ministry for their freedom. One person began learning to humble themselves to let God take over, while the other refortified their self-protection so as to keep anyone from seeing them differently than the false role they had created.

In some cases, this added further trauma to the person seeking freedom since the other person’s decision to reject the opportunities led to them also rejecting the friend or family member who was humbling themselves to join God in his work. Some have gone so far as to tear down those seeking to do the ministry so their church is restored to the nice safe place for people to play their selected roles under the approval of others doing the same. When that was not an option, people have left a church that was offering them freedom to go to one that was quite happy to leave them as they were.

My point is that, when I first began learning about these things it was so new to me that I excitedly started showing people all the things God promises us in his word regarding our freedom and healing in Jesus Christ. I had been warned that people in churches would be more committed to their self-protection than to knowing and doing the will of God, but I kept thinking that people who professed to be Christians would surely love to receive all the hope and encouragement God gives us in his word and humbly follow him like little children who want nothing more than to be with their Father doing whatever he is doing.

However, since those early days of immature faith, I have now added so many personal experiences to the mix that I can testify about how faithful God has proven himself time and again to anyone who has humbly received his will and his work, and how even the numerous negative experiences have also proven that only humble faith in Jesus Christ will lead people to the freedom for which Jesus Christ has set us free.[2]

Whatever time I have left in this earthly journey my prayer is that I would make this the focus of my ministry, that I would so exalt Jesus Christ in my own life, and in my sharing with people in need, that they would see how much rest they could experience if they would humble themselves under the mighty hand of God and let him completely take over the handling of their soul-condition.

The bottom line is that I would much rather be with a small group of broken people who know God is their only hope than a whole bunch of role-playing church folk who would attack and destroy anyone who ever suggested there is more going on under the surface than their mask vainly tries to suggest.

It really comes down to this, that Jesus tells us, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,"[3] and I want to join him in continuing to publicize this invitation and to join his work in anyone who wants the freedom to grow up in Jesus Christ.

We must humble ourselves from our independent belief that we can handle our inner stuff better than God, and humbly take on ourselves the yoke of Jesus Christ, the attachment relationship that sees him as greater than ourselves. When we let him be himself in our lives, he will give us rest so that we can freely be ourselves in him.

© 2018 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] I Peter 5:6-7
[2] I have shared about freedom so many times that I am only referring to these things in passing. It is in Galatians 5:1 that Paul speaks about the fact that Jesus has set us free for freedom, and so we are to avoid anything that would return us to bondage.
[3] Matthew 11:28-29

Monday, January 15, 2018

Home Church Video: Staking Our Claim on Freedom in Christ ~ Part 1 ~ Introduction

I often wonder if the amount of conflict that surrounds some of the things that have most helped me grow up in Christ is there because Satan knows how much God would be glorified if Jesus’ whole church banded together to join him in his work.

One such ministry is that of freedom in Christ. When I first heard about this facet of Christian ministry, it felt like a God-given gift of the “this-is-just-what-I-need” variety. I was quickly overwhelmed with encouragement in both the gift, and God’s timing in sending it my way.

However, since that time I have heard so many opposing views on the subject that I have once again[1] had to find out for myself what “accords with sound doctrine,”[2] while fulfilling Jesus’ ministry to “proclaim good news to the poor… proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.”[3]

Understanding that a plumbline approach to any teaching of God’s word will invariably look like I am “the other guy” compared to both the pendulum extremes,[4] here is a home church introduction to what is meant by freedom in Christ, and why it is necessary to tackle such things even in the midst of those with weapons ready to shoot down anything they don’t like.

Over the years, I have met far too many broken people who need more than the every-day life of the institutional church. They need to feel Jesus proclaiming good news to their innermost soul-condition through his church. They need to hear the body of Christ proclaiming liberty to them in their captivity, and recovering of sight to them in their blindness, and freedom from their oppression, and the favour of God comforting hearts so long burdened with condemnation.

They need what is so aptly described as freedom in Christ. They need freedom from things that are holding them in bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil, and they need to know the full gamut of freedom as it can only be found in Jesus Christ the way, the truth, and the life.[5]

Keeping in mind that this video is only an introduction to a series on this theme, if any of this concerns you, or if any personal issues surface affirming your own need for freedom in Christ, or if you have heard negative stories about people who are engaged in some form of freedom in Christ ministry, please take the time to send me an email and I will make every effort to address these things in the rest of this series.

My simple contention is that, when Jesus read the prophecy regarding his ministry of freedom and declared, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,”[6] he meant that everything he came to do would now be accomplished through his body, the church. Whatever needs to happen for Christians to work together in purifying our ministries of freedom while we, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins,”[7] let us be so “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,”[8] that people will be set free by the church working with each other rather than trampled underfoot as church-folk join Satan’s schemes to steal, kill, and destroy.[9]

Or, as Hebrews says it, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”[10]

If people come to the church “lame," let us not do further damage by fighting over how much Jesus would do to help them if he was here. Rather, let us at least unite to pray for their healing, and then encourage people to use their spiritual gifts to administer healing to the brokenhearted and binding up of their wounds however their needs require.[11]

And then, let us be careful we don’t go shooting down ministries just because their spiritual gifts help people differently than ours. Maybe if we came alongside people who have a different place in the body than ourselves, we would discover that working together gives our Savior even greater glory than isolating ourselves with self-induced arguments and confrontations.

At the very least, here is an introduction to joining together to lead people to freedom in Christ.

© 2018 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] I say “once again” because, from early childhood on, beginning life with an agnostic dad and a very quiet church-going mom, I have had to test opposing views in order to know which one had a solid foundation on which to build my life. While some readers may still disagree with my conclusions, I hope you will at least accept that I have made every effort to test everything by the Scriptures, to reject what doesn’t line up (and yes, there are some things), and hold on to that which is good (I Thessalonians 5:20-22).
[2] Titus 2:1
[3] Luke 4:18-19 (Context ~ Luke 4:16-21)
[4] For introduction I will simply say that the pendulum extremes are between those who deny freedom in Christ ministry because they don’t believe Christians can have such problems as they bring to freedom in Christ ministries, and those who are so Charismaniac in dealing with spiritual and emotional issues that Satan is free to work through them even while they act like they are doing God’s work. The deniers help Satan’s work by shutting down opportunities for God to glorify himself in the lives of broken people, and the crazies help Satan’s work by giving Satan so much room to work that people are led astray even while thinking they are doing so much good in Jesus’ name (compare that to Matthew 7:21-23). The plumbline approach seeks to be true to every Scripture that describes the freedom Jesus gives us, and to apply it to anything and everything Satan has tried using to keep people from rejoicing in Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father.
[5] John 14:6
[6] Luke 4:21
[7] I Peter 4:8
[8] Ephesians 4:3
[9] John 10:10
[10] Hebrews 12:12-13
[11] Psalm 147:3

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Home Church Video ~ Relating to Unrepentant Church Folk

One of the very noticeable issues facing our home church as of late is church folks who have wronged our people in the past but now want to have a relationship with them as if nothing ever happened. I have heard many such stories that indicate we are not alone.

On the first Sunday of the new year, we tackled an exploration of God’s word aimed at answering the very simple question: What are we supposed to do?

While this is not an exhaustive look at what applies from God’s Book, there is enough in this message to encourage us to think biblically about such relationships, and then to do all we can to be the light of the world to everyone, no matter what they have done.

In the end, as we shine the light of Christ into our relationships, they are the ones who will decide if they want to walk with us in a growing experience of Jesus Christ, or if walking in the light leaves them running for cover. As long as we are truly ourselves in Jesus Christ, we are able to honour him no matter what anyone else chooses to do.

If looking at this subject from a biblical perspective raises questions as to your own situations, feel free to email with your thoughts on the matter and we will seek to share our encouragement to know and honour Jesus Christ in all we do.

© 2018 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~