Jesus never did in 33 years what I do every day
"Sanctification is the art of getting used to your justification." (Gerhard Forde)
The flesh is most evident not in what we do but in how we relate.
Satan's masterpiece is not the skid row drunk but the self-righteous elder.
We need to reframe people's problems - take them out of the context in which they're presented and put them into a gospel story far greater. Someone presents with an eating disorder - that's not the problem. That's the solution. It's the solution they've chosen to their fleshly struggles for fullness, impact, comfort, self-justification etc.
Lifting denial is key. The only way our flesh dynamics can survive is through a denial of what's going on at the deepest level of our being.
Two basic denials:
1) desire - we deny the deepest longings of our heart (see the nature of those longings under the 'image of God' stuff in previous post)
2) guilt - we deny the depths of our bloodguiltiness.
Lifting denial about desire makes me feel empty. But that emptiness becomes an opportunity to thirst for Christ.
Lifting denial of guilt means refocusing on how I am the problem - not circumstances, not others, me. But as I seek forgiveness in Christ I am filled with gratitude.
Thirst for Christ plus gratitude for His grace will bear much good fruit in our lives.
When true guilt is faced, brokenness and repentance follow.
When true desire is felt, abandonment, confidence and release follow.
Brokenness is not about how bad you hurt but how selfish you are in the midst of that hurt.
On the other hand, when denial remains intact we live according to 'foolproof' strategies to make life work.
We deaden pain, kill hope, withdraw, fake it, toughen up, shut down, blame others, etc, etc
We settle for 'Goodenough Christianity'.
In counselling terms we aim low - healing memories, handling emotional pain, fixing presenting problems.
What we really need to do is aim for goals we have no power in ourselves to accomplish. We do not aim for the re-arranging or socializing of the flesh. We are aiming for a person to know Christ in the midst of their struggles and to bear fruit in ways impossible for the flesh to produce. If we don't aim for supernatural maturity we will fall into fear and pride and fall back on strategies and paradigms.
We need to be safe enough for people to get honest with us. If this is the case, then what do I need to repent of:
Flippancy, judgementalism, reserve, guardedness, disinterest, fix-it mentality, know-it-all spirit, projected air of busyness...
We need to think biblically more than speak bible verses. Though of course the two are not mutually exclusive!