MAN-'centered' or GOD-'centered'
Finding the 'Keys' to the 'Kingdom'
The Man-centered approach:
There is a correct and an incorrect way to approach GOD. Unfortunately, our generation has learned the incorrect way to a fault, while remaining ignorant of our error. We have been born into the 'great falling away.' We have been indoctrinated with the theological teachings of men. By use of man's reasoning capabilities, God has become moldable, manageable, and conformable to our perceived needs and desires. In short, God has become whatever an individual or group have created in their own imagination, with the influence of religious points of view incorporated to give said image substance and validity. I fear that we are all in for a very rude awakening!
Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand" Isaiah 64:8.
There is not much wriggle room for glorying... when we are faced with being little more than a lump of clay. There is something inherent in man's fallen nature that seeks out glory. We are all susceptible to this unsavory attribute of our natural inclination. Remember the argument Satan presented Eve with in the garden? "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" Genesis 3:4-5.
Equality with God! Pride!
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" Proverbs 16:18.
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" Isaiah 14:12-14.
Man-centered religion seeks its own glory, feels wholly justified in the ways and means employed in order to attain its objectives, and ceaselessly strives to spread its message gaining more power over others. Rather than man being here to serve and worship God, God is demoted to existing as a means of supplying the wants and desires of man. History has amply shown us that once pride and lust for the things of this world have entered into the heart of man, he is cruel and insatiable. Though he possesses all that the world holds, he is still not satisfied. There is no room for compassion in the prideful heart, only the lust for more.
"This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing" Jeremiah 13:10.
"[Their chastisement will continue until it has accomplished its purpose] for My people are stupid, says the Lord [replying to Jeremiah]; they do not know and understand Me. They are thickheaded children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge [and know not how]" Jeremiah 4:22.
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20.
"Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?" Malachi 2:17.
Our modern renditions of the Gospel are man's attempts to explain God; to formulate ways and means to extort from God those things that we consider beneficial, such as the health, wealth & prosperity gospel of recent years, along with the perverted faith teachings that have attempted to make the Word of God an instrument in the hands of cunning men who would use select verses in an attempt to force God to do their bidding. Others have attempted to shape God into a being that is compatible with mans personal inclinations, such as an all-benevolent, all-loving Father... all forgiving, not given to wrath or revenge or retribution. This is the god of Universalism, also found is its twin sister the Doctrine of Inclusion... promoting the belief that everyone in the world will ultimately be saved, regardless of whether they comply with God's commandments or the laws of His Household. The entire concept of hell and eternal damnation is eradicated as if it never existed, simply because men have chosen to DIS-believe that God has any rights over his own creation. Along the way, man's obedience to God's law becomes irrelevant in his pursuit of achieving immortality and equality with his Creator. Sounds strangely familiar, does it not? "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High"... without submitting to HIS LORDSHIP in our lives.
We want a god alright, but one that does not put any demands upon us. We want a god that we can dictate to; that we can tell what to do and how and when and to whom. We want the things of this world, as well as things eternal. And believe it or not, we have succeeded in creating all manner of gods, theologies, doctrines, prophecies; you name it, all to suit our own desires and agendas, to build up our own ego's and perpetuate and expand our own false teachings.
[Oh, your perversity!] You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be considered of no more account than the clay? Shall the thing that is made say of its maker, He did not make me; or the thing that is formed say of him who formed it, He has no understanding?" Isaiah 29:16.
"But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? [Isa. 29:16; 45:9.] Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use?" Romans 9:20-21.
"Woe to him who strives with his Maker!--a worthless piece of broken pottery among other pieces equally worthless [and yet presuming to strive with his Maker]! Shall the clay say to him who fashions it, What do you think you are making? or, Your work has no handles? Woe to him [who complains against his parents that they have begotten him] who says to a father, What are you begetting? or to a woman, With what are you in travail? Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Would you question Me about things to come concerning My children, and concerning the work of My hands [would you] command Me?" Isaiah 45:9-11.
We need to come to grips with and know beyond any shadow of doubt... the God that we are serving. We need to come to understand that much of what is being presented in Christian circles today is not the God of the Bible, but instead is a false god. We should also understand that these are the days foretold, when gross darkness would cover the people, and understanding would be far from them. "For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold" 2 Timothy 4:3. We are in the midst of these days right now.
"But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name: That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy" Isaiah 65:11-18.
We need to know just WHO we are messing with people...
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" Isaiah 45:7.
We continually hear leaders who exhort us that we can all look forward to one day 'ruling and reigning' with Christ. There is something inherently wrong in our priorities if holding positions of power and authority appeals to our nature, as the desire to rule over others is a blatant sign that our fleshly nature is not yet crucified.
The God-centered approach...
"For thus says the Lord--Who created the heavens, God Himself, Who formed the earth and made it, Who established it and did not create it to be a worthless waste; He formed it to be inhabited--I am the Lord, and there is no one else. I have not spoken in secret, in a corner of the land of darkness; I did not call the descendants of Jacob [to a fruitless service], saying, Seek Me for nothing [but I promised them a just reward]. I, the Lord, speak righteousness (the truth--trustworthy, straightforward correspondence between deeds and words); I declare things that are right. [John 18:20.] Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge who carry about [in religious processions or into battle] their wooden idols and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. Declare and bring forward your strong arguments [for praying to gods that cannot save]; yes, take counsel together. Who announced this [the rise of Cyrus and his conquests] beforehand (long ago)? [What god] declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a rigidly and uncompromisingly just and righteous God and Savior; there is none besides Me. Look to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness and shall not return, that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear [allegiance]. [Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10, 11; Heb. 6:13.] Only in the Lord shall one say, I have righteousness (salvation and victory) and strength [to achieve]. To Him shall all come who were incensed against Him, and they shall be ashamed. [I Cor. 1:30, 31.] In the Lord shall all the offspring of Israel be justified (enjoy righteousness, salvation, and victory) and shall glory" Isaiah 45:18-25.
"For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances" Philippians 3:3.
Paul hits on the key to living from a God-centered position rather than a man-centered position. The key is found in where our priorities lie. Our worship is in and by the spirit of God... and not according to our flesh. Our confidence is in Christ alone. We are no longer looking out for #1.
Paul beautifully summarized the state we come into when we become God-centered:
"Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One), And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith. [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also" Philippians 3:8-15.
When Jesus came the first time, He came as the Lamb. He is coming again, but this time He is coming as the Lion. Jesus himself plainly stated who we should fear... "But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him" Luke 12:5.
Yet we continue to fear any and everything but God. "The Lord of hosts--regard Him as holy and honor His holy name [by regarding Him as your only hope of safety], and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread [lest you offend Him by your fear of man and distrust of Him]" Isaiah 8:13.
Jude also tells us what the second coming of the Lord is all about... "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him" Jude 1:14-15.
Jude goes on to declare... "These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit" Jude 1:16-19.
The Spirit that we operate under reveals who we are servants to. We are charged to test the spirits... "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" 1 John 4:1.
We are charged to live by the power of the Spirit of God within... "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" Romans 8:13.
We were never called out so that we might become 'religious.' We were called out that we might 'know God,' and that we might 'live by the power of His Spirit' within us. These are the keys. These will be the deciding factor as to whether or not we 'grow up in Christ Jesus.' May we be partakers of this great mystery, which was hidden from the wisdom of the world... "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him" 1 John 4:9.
Are we man-centered... or are we God-centered?
Are we walking in the Spirit of Life... or wallowing in religion?
Amen & Amen
Where Thou Goest I Will Go
God's Refining Fire
Be Ye Transformed
Planting of The Lord
Death & Resurrection
The Spirit of Religion or the Spirit of Holiness
BACK TO MENU