Thursday, October 1, 2009

GOOD -- The Enemy Of BEST

Remember the Italian spaghetti western with squinting, gun-toting, tough guy, Clint Eastwood -- "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"? And how the Good Guy won out over the Bad and Ugly? Well, most times, i need to rethink what is "good" and i must be careful that my Good does not win out over GOD's Best.
Because my mind is finite, my perception of what is Good will always be just Good Enough. But when i submit my perceived Good to GOD's laser beam scrutiny, His infinite wisdom -- He will always show me what is His Best, according to His Word. When i surrender my self-focused way to His all-knowing Way, then my merely Good Enough is transformed into His Ultimate Best, for His almighty power, as engineered by the Holy SPIRIT, will move heaven and earth and all of creation to enable me to do what He desires to do through me.

Here are some Good that may not be Best in GOD's scheme of things:

GOOD -- Remorse...feeling sorry for one's sin. It's saying I'm sorry and even making amends, but without true repentance.

Remorse is an emotion experienced by one who feels that he has committed an action contrary to his moral code. It is characterised by feelings of regret, self-hatred and a desire to make the wrong thing right.

Sometimes, from remorse, a sinner will do some form of penance, thinking to balance out the wrong committed, in the false hope that GOD will forgive the sin in this area because he or she has done good in another area. That is negotiating with the Holy Judge...and He cannot be manipulated with good works, shadowed by ulterior motives. But GOD is faithful and will forgive when i confess my sin, turn from it, and turn to Him in restored fellowship.BEST -- Repentance...confession of sin to GOD Himself, agreeing with GOD's view point about that confessed sin, turning away from that sin, and turning to GOD.

Repentance is a change of thought and action to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged. It is confession to GOD, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to His laws. It includes an admission of guilt, a promise or resolve not to repeat the offense; an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible. True repentance involves the heart (emotions: true sorrow), the mind (beliefs: agreeing with GOD about the sin), the soul (the will: turning to GOD), and the body (physical: self-control).

GOOD -- Reformation...obeying the Mosaic Law -- the Ten Commandments -- conforming to societal laws, striving to live a righteous life. A reformed person (i.e., an ex-alcoholic or ex-addict, lives a better life because he/she has implemented in his/her life:

1. A change for the better; an improvement.
2. Correction of evils, abuses, or errors.
3. Action to improve social or economic conditions without radical or revolutionary change.
4. Reclamation: rescuing from error and returning to a rightful course.
BEST -- Regeneration...being truly good because the abiding Holy SPIRIT of GOD changes the person from within, so that the change is inward and real and permanent, not just outward or temporary. Though that person still sins, makes mistakes, his inner nature is changed forever -- he is a new creature altogether. This regeneration is GOD's gift to those who receive His Son JESUS as Messiah, as the CHRIST.

Regeneration is an act of God whereby He bestows upon the believing sinner new life. This life is God’s own Life, the impartation of His own nature. God Himself is the Source and Bestower of His Life, so that believers are said to be “partakers of the Divine nature” (II Peter 1:4), “created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10), “born of God” (John 1:13), “born again” (John 3:3, 7), “a new creation” (II Corinthians 5:17).

GOOD -- Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19). Living the Golden Rule -- do unto others as you would have them do unto you.BEST -- Love one another as I (JESUS) have loved you (John 15:12). Sacrificial love -- agape -- laying down one's life for the brethren, brothers and sisters In CHRIST. Forsaking self for the sake of the other. Loving as JESUS did...all the way to the Cross at Calvary.

GOOD -- Good works in the name of JESUS...pursuing a righteous cause in His name. Giving tithes, volunteering in church ministries, giving up personal time to help those in need.BEST -- A deeply intimate and personal relationship with CHRIST Himself -- being sensitive and receptive, then obedient, to His quiet, still voice. Realizing that He is my all, confident that He is in all ways, always more than enough. It is enough that He abides in me and i in Him.

The closer my fellowship with JESUS, the more i do the things which please the Father. When i make my relationship with the Son the passion of my life, then my whole being -- body, heart, mind and soul -- are laid at His feet, and i am the clay beneath His hands to do whatever, whenever, and wherever He desires to use me, according to His good purpose(s).

BEST is my old nature obliterated by the Life of JESUS.

BEST is when those around me no longer see me, but rather the reflection of His nature.

(All photos: Muri Beach, adjacent to Vara's Beach House, a popular backpacker hostel in Rarotonga, Cook Islands)

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