Living out God’s Purpose through Positional Christianity

 

Positional Christianity

Okay, I know I haven’t been blogging as consistently as I should. I started out with a series on how to become a Battle Ready Christian, but since then I have only been blogging about once a month. Life got busier for me, and I just didn’t have time to think of a new topic to write about every week.

So, rather than just blogging once every few weeks, I am going to go on hiatus until the first Monday in January (Jan. 5). Between now and then, I will pray about what the Lord would have me say, write a blog calendar, make this blog look as awesome as I can, and work on some other projects.

Recently, God spoke four words to me, which He said I am to make the focus of this blog. Those four words are prayer, praise, hope, and healing. In that order. So, I am going to blog on one of those every week. The first Monday of the month I will blog on prayer, the second Monday on praise, the third hope, and the fourth healing. On those months that have a fifth Monday, I am not sure what I will do.

Why those words in that order?

Every Christian must go through and remain in these four positions to receive the fullness of Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me (Lk 9:23).” Being a disciple of Christ means we need to decide daily that we are going to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.

The Position of Prayer

When we pray, we become intimately acquainted with God. The fullness of this intimacy allows us to move into a position of understanding our authority in Christ. It is from this position of our authority in Christ that we are able to prepare ourselves to fully praise God. That doesn’t mean we can’t praise God until we have an awesome prayer life. It just means the more we pray, the more we will come to know God and want to praise Him.

Though, never think you can go from one position to the other and leave that position behind. You must remain in each position, while you move into the next position, or else you will fall out of your position in Christ. You must get into and remain in these positions daily.

The Position of Praise

My pastor once said, “If you’re not happy, maybe your problem is you’re too focused on yourself.” Go ahead. Try to praise God and keep your eyes on yourself. Prayer moves us into a position of realizing our authority in Christ, from where our natural response is to praise Him for His nature. We can praise in private, but praise is best expressed as a public declaration of our realization of Christ in our lives.

The Position of Hope

When we begin to pray we begin to take our eyes off of ourselves, and we begin to praise Him. The more we begin to praise Him, the more we will begin to hope in Him. Prayer and praise are both conscious decisions to develop an intimate relationship with God by taking our eyes off of ourselves. Hope is also a conscious decision. Though, while the positions of prayer and praise are conscious decisions to develop more intimate relationships with God, the position of hope and healing are positions of enjoying the benefits of developing an intimate relationship with God, which is to receive the fullness of Christ.

When we take our eyes off of ourselves and fix them on God through prayer and praise, we stop wallowing in self-pity and begin to hope in God. This position of hope is the position from which we will begin to realize God’s healing in our lives.

The Position of Healing

Notice I said “realize,” not “experience.” You are healed! You are healed by the blood of the Lamb! By the stripes on Christ’s back! You just need to realize it. Think of it like when you first met your significant other. At first, you hoped they liked you, then you got to know each other, and the more you got to know that person the more you realized they did like you. We begin by hoping God will heal us, but the more we hope the more we realize He has healed us.

Though, God’s healing in our lives will manifest itself at different times physically, financially, or relationally, I am talking about spiritual healing. This is the position from which a person begins to not only understand and live out the fullness of Christ in their lives, but it is also the position from which a person begins to live out their purpose in Christ.

Understanding Positional Christianity

So, it is this last position–the position of purpose–that I will not write about in this blog. God didn’t tell me to include it. I may use that 5th Monday to write about how the first four positions will cause you to move into a position of purpose. Though, the first four positions are positions of preparation, whereas the position of your purpose in Christ is the position of God carrying out His good work in you (Phil 1:6).

Though, know that God only moves those into this position of purpose who are faithful to move into and remain within the first four positions. That doesn’t mean we won’t get knocked out of position on occasion. It means the more and more we learn to get into and remain in a right position with God the less and less we will get knocked out of position and the faster we will get back into position when we are knocked out of position.

The future of #OBHBlog

God is still working on me. I am no further ahead than anyone else. Though, they are becoming more  and more infrequent, there is still the occasional day when I don’t pray. There is still the occasional Sunday when I am not in the mood to praise God. There remain times when I need to remind myself to take my eyes off of my circumstances and set them on the hope that is before me (Heb 12:1-4). And I still sometimes forget I am healed.

Though, those days are becoming less and less, and the more infrequent they become the more God is able to move me into that position of purpose for which He created me. So, as God teaches me how to move me into that position of purpose, I will pass on what I learn. I also welcome you to pass on what you have learned in the comments. Through that collaboration, I hope to create a community in which we can learn and grow together!

Have a very blessed Thanksgiving, joyful Christmas, and happy New Year!

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Becoming a Battle Ready Christian – Living a Life of Prayer

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Last week, while writing the first version of this blog, I received a phone call. The caller said I might not remember him. He said his name and told me he was a freshman in the church youth group where I volunteered at that time. I hadn’t seen him in more than three years, but I couldn’t forget him.

Every week, I drove more than 20 minutes from my house to his house and then another 20 minutes to church. After church, with one or two more kids in tow, I drove them home and then brought him home. If you think of a Y, I lived at the top of one end of the Y, I went to a church at the top of the other end of the Y, and he lived at the bottom of the Y. With the extra kids to drop off after the youth group, the round trip took close to two hours of driving.

At the youth group, the larger group split off into smaller groups. I sat with a small group of young men, they told me about their weeks, we did a Bible study, and we spent time in prayer. After a while, that young man stopped coming to the youth group.

Many years before I knew that young man, I went through an internship in another church. One of the requirements was that I and the one other intern arrive to the church by 7 AM and pray in the sanctuary for an hour. Every morning, we walked into the sanctuary, put on a worship CD, sat in silence on opposite sides of the sanctuary, and prayed.

The pastor took us through the book The Hour that Changes the World. It taught us to pray for an hour by devoting five minutes to various aspects of prayer. For instance, it taught to spend the first five minutes giving thanks to God, then five minutes in praise, then five minutes in intercession, and so on and so forth.

For several years after that internship, my prayer life went through ebbs and flows. Much of that time I had no prayer life other than praying over meals, at church, or in Bible studies. Sometimes, I went through seasons when I prayed more fervently. During those seasons, I prayed by using the principles of prayer I learned. Many times, school, work, something else caused me to get out of the habit of prayer.

Now, I practice the habit of prayer every morning. But, now, as I practice the habit of prayer, I am learning to develop a life of prayer. I believe when Paul told Timothy to “Pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17),” he was telling him to develop a life of prayer by practicing the habit of prayer every morning. I believe there is a three-step method for developing a life of prayer, but that method takes a lifetime to perfect.

Developing a Life of Prayer

  1. Learn and develop a method of prayer
  2. Practice that method of prayer until it becomes a habit of prayer
  3. Practice that habit of prayer until it becomes a life of prayer

After I told the young man that I remembered him, he said he was not in a good place spiritually when I knew him. He said he got his life right with God, graduated valedictorian from his high school, and enlisted in the Marines. He told me he tried to pray and read the Bible everyday, but he admitted it wasn’t always easy.

I encouraged him to choose his principles, make God the center of those principles, pray and read his Bible every day, and allow those God-centered principles to guide his life and determine the person he would become. After we said goodbye, I read over the first version of this blog. I hadn’t thought of it during our conversation, but I realized the last line I wrote was,

“The principles you live by are the principles you teach the next generation.”

Before any other principle, a “Battle Ready Christian” practices the principle of prayer until they live a life of prayer. Jesus taught his disciples a method of prayer in Matt 6: 9-13, but He didn’t expect them to sit and recite ’The Lord’s Prayer’ every morning for the rest of their lives. He taught it to them so they would develop a life of prayer.

I do not believe it is when a person chooses to become intimately acquainted with God that they will develop a life of prayer. I believe that is when their faithful habit of prayer will begin to become a life of prayer. This is the place where I am. I believe it is when a person realizes God wants to become intimately acquainted with them that they will move further into living a life of prayer. But I believe it is not until a person fully realizes the weight of the truth that God wants so much to be intimately acquainted with them that He sent His only begotten Son to die for them (John 3:16) that they will fully live a life of prayer.

May we all, like the Apostle Paul, cry out, “I want to know you and the power of your resurrection (Phil. 3:10),” until we are so intimately acquainted with God that we understand the full weight of the words, “For God so loved the world . . . .”

Amen!