In today’s podcast, we’ll take a look at why we do things to help us feel more alive. It has to do with the fact that we’re not really alive. But the way to feel more alive is not through drugs or extreme sports! Today’s episode will reveal the truth behind this lie. Thanks for listening and be sure to tell a friend about Fight the Black Dog! Fight the Black Dog || Podcast 012 || How to be Truly Alive
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You probably have felt the monster that lives inside of you. The more you feel it, the better. The monster is deadliest when it’s undetected. If you feel the monster inside of you, then that’s a good sign. That means he’s been spotted, and now you can do something about him.
This monster needs little explanation. He’s so closely tied to ourselves, that we know him best when he’s explained the least. He’s the hideous Thing in each of us that makes us ugly, unworthy, and unwanted. We hate the monster and what he does in our lives and to our lives. It’s all we can do to keep from becoming on the outside what we so clearly are on the inside.
We’re constantly beating back the monster, though his claws and venom often escape. He’s so powerful and we’re barely hanging on, totally helpless to stop him. We can only beat him back, listen to his lies, and pray for those moments when we forget his whispering.
“You’re not good enough.”
“You can never be forgiven.”
“You’re all alone.”
“You’re not accepted.”
“God hates you.”
Have you heard this monster before? What can you do?
By yourself, you can do nothing, because the problem is not just inside of you, the problem is you. You’re the monster. The only way to defeat him is through the power of another. But what possibly can defeat a monster like this? It’s one thing to be strong enough to lift a car, but it’s quite another thing to be strong enough to lift a conscience. We possess nothing so strong as to be able to lift the human heart. This monster is too massive for us and requires strength unlike this world has ever known.
As it turns out, the monster is defeated by a Lamb.
© Samuel Kee, 2013
Second, look at the order of ideas within the verse. It does not say, “Your repentance is meant to lead to God’s kindness,” though most of us indulge that thought. We think that if we’re good enough, then God will be kind to us. That twisted thought infects our minds, paralyzing both our hope and our repentance. We need to unmoor ourselves from it.
God’s kindness leads to our repentance, not the reverse—that’s how he rolls. God is not withholding from you, until you get your act together. We mostly believe that the better we are, the kinder that God will be to us, as if our actions merit his favor. But that’s wrong; it is his kindness and grace toward us that draw us to good behavior. God extends his hand to us, first. God shows us exactly how he is going to love us, first. God does everything he needs to in order to convince us of his love, first.
Invitations sent out, he waits for us.
God did us the kindness of creating us. He did us the kindness of giving us a livable and likable world. He did us the kindness of pouring into our lives pleasures and beauty. Most of all, God showed us his kindness by becoming one of us, in order to rescue us from the mess we got ourselves in, showing up at a criminal’s execution, in our place. All of his cards are on the table; he’s got nothing up his sleeve. His daily and eternal kindness to you is meant to lead you to repentance.
Are you moved by his show of affection? Are you wooed by his love? As a bride before her groom, are we supposed to be in response to our Poet-Warrior, Jesus Christ. He fought for our freedom to the point of blood and signed our Bill of Debt, “Paid in full.” There is no outstanding debt that you owe to God because of your sins; the only debt we owe to him is love. But love cannot be forced, so that is why he does not force. Love must be a response to the actions of another. In all love, there is repentance and in all repentance there is love.
© Samuel Kee, 2013
“There’s a spark of goodness in each one of us, you’ve just got to dig deep enough in your heart to find it…There’s a place in your heart where you can find God, that’s pure and unstained by the world, etc.”
No matter how encouraging this type of sentiment might seem on the surface, it really is not! The thought behind these statements is to help people be more spiritual. –Put them in touch with God, get over their guilt, help them to get their eyes off the cares of this world, and so forth. These sorts of statements do not help us become more spiritual, but less. To be more spiritual, by definition, we need to focus less on ourselves and more on God.
Any honest person will admit that the deeper you look inside yourself, the worse you feel, not better. If we look for the spark of goodness inside of us, we’ll only find fumes. The deeper we look inside ourselves, the dirtier it gets, not purer. Our dreams betray us. How often we have dreams at night, when upon waking up we shudder, for the kinds of thoughts that were in our brain—the kinds of desires that we were capable of.
This also comes out in stress and trials. The more pressure that we’re in, the more our true nature erupts out of us. Under stress and suffering, we’re like pots of water set to boil; when put to the heat, all of our scum rises to the surface. Then we realize that humans do not have any goodness or purity within themselves. It’s all dark and disgusting in there.
If we look inside of ourselves to find God, we’ll strain our eyes until we go blind, or until we get sick to our stomachs because of the evil we find within our own hearts. Nobody can remain healthy so long as they focus on themselves. There is no good inside any person, not me, not you.
Have the guts to admit that it’s true. Our fantasies are sickening; our desires are wacked; our intentions are foul. You’ve got secrets inside you that would cause anyone to draw back. There is no goodness inside of you—and there’s no goodness inside of me.
We need help.
The starting point for all spiritual journeys is to admit that you’re lost. Your relationship with God must start there. Before you can have hope, you must first realize that you have no hope. In order to come alive, you must see that you are dead. There is no resurrection for the living. Until we get in touch with our inner darkness, we’ll never find God. Our souls are all like a dark valley, against which the brightness of God is most obviously illumined.
This might really resonate with you; maybe you’re like me and you can’t stand those funky new-aged quotes about our inner goodness. You’ve been around the block and know that it’s a hoax. If you’re at least that savvy, then you might like this quote, which is not from some fruity sage with his head in the clouds, but from guy who knew he was absolutely destitute apart from God’s intervening grace:
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.[i]
Now, be honest, which describes reality better? The first quote or this last one? When you’re done watching the evening news or taking inventory of your own heart, which quote makes better sense of it all?
Which thought helps you to see and which keeps you blind?
© Samuel Kee, 2013
[i] Romans 3:10-18.
The sooner that we can admit that things aren’t right in this world, the better. Most of us will recognize our struggle for acceptance, our struggle with experiences we’ve gone through, and our struggle with failure. Those who don’t recognize the problems, will not look for the solution, and will remain in denial. Our help does not come from this world, but from another world. Thanks for listening and be sure to tell a friend! Fight the Black Dog // Episode 8 // Help from Another World
Remember the movie E.T.? I remember seeing it in the theaters when it was released in 1982—and it scared me to death! The story is of a little boy who helps an alien to return to his home planet. Along the way, we learn of the special bond that E.T. forms with the boy Elliot. The two entrain to each other, so that what the one feels, so does the other. When E.T. is hurt, Elliot is hurt. When E.T. gets sick, then Elliot gets sick. Somehow, the bodies of the two are as one, so that the experience of the one becomes the experience of the other. When E.T. is dying, Elliot is dying.
There’s a profound truth here for those who are invaded by the alien Jesus. Jesus came to us from another world in order to rescue us from ours; he does it by absorbing our life into his. The Bible uses a special “formula” for referring to the relationship that believers have with Jesus. Over and over again, it says that they’re “in Christ.” That’s the basic formula, though it has other derivations, such as “with Christ” or “with him.”
The purpose of the “in Christ” formula is to demonstrate that whatever happens to Jesus, happens to me—kind of like with E.T. and Elliot. We are entrained with Jesus Christ, sent to our world from God. The experiences of Jesus become the experiences of those who are “in Christ.”
Let me give you a few examples from Scripture. One of the clearest examples is found in Colossians 3:1-4; here it is with the formula in italics:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also with appear with him in glory.
It’s hard to miss the boldness of these statements, which are either lunacy or the deepest truths our hearts could ever long for. First, we’re told that when Jesus was raised from the dead, so were we. “If you then have been raised with Christ…” When Jesus rose from the dead, somehow, we did, too. Then we’re told, “for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ.” This verse tells us that we have died, can you believe that! When did we die? We died when Jesus died, on the cross some 2,000 years ago. How did that happen? God hid our lives with Jesus, so that when he died, we died, too. Then we’re given a magnificent vision of our future life, when we’re told, “When Christ, who is your life appears, then you with also appear with him in glory.” Christ is your life, so just as sure as he has returned in glory on the last day to reign on earth, so have we. Our lives are eternally united with his.
While I’ll only quote the passage from Colossians, know that the Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, uses the “in Christ” formula (and its derivations) over 215 times. From everything to suffering with Christ to inheriting with Christ, believers in Jesus are in insoluble union with him. What happens to him, happens to us, his experiences become our experiences. When he was punished on the cross for sins, so were we. The implications of this are staggering: I have already faced judgment, leaving no more future judgment for me. I have already been judged with Christ, died with Christ, raised with Christ, and so much more. We are in solidarity with each other. That is why Paul is able to write in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Who condemns you? God surely doesn’t, if you’re in Christ!
But being “in Christ” is far greater than being “in E.T.,” for our bond with Jesus will never be severed. He’ll not fly away to another planet, leaving us back in our sickness and sin. Rather, he remains with us in the Person of the Holy Spirit, who daily drives us deeper into our union with God.
There’s no more profound reality that you could experience than this mystical union with Jesus Christ. Only in Christ will you truly find yourself; there is infinite treasure hidden there for you.
(Credit goes to my friend Robbie Kellogg for thinking of the E.T. analogy!)
© Samuel Kee, 2013
This is episode 2 in our series “Where Was God?” In order to answer this question, it is critical for us to understand the true work of Jesus. In this video, I answer the question, “If Jesus died for us, then why do we still have to die?” I hope that you find this helpful in your understanding of God’s work in this world.
We all know what it’s like to experience physical sickness, but what about spiritual sickness? Do you know the symptoms? There are specific symptoms that let us know when the Black Dog is attacking us. Thanks for listening and be sure to share these episodes! Fight the Black Dog // Podcast Episode 005 // Sick Heart
We want to help you understand your world. If left to our own spiritual eyesight, we’re doomed, for we won’t see the Black Dog coming. There’s more to this world than meets the eye; there’s a spiritual dimension, from which we are being attacked. This helps to explain the struggles that we have and the bondage that we’re in. Subscribe to Fight the Black Dog on iTunes and share these podcasts with your friends. Thank you and here’s the link to episode #4: Fight the Black Dog // Podcast 004 // Spiritual Optometrist.
Here’s podcast episode two. You can now find us on ITunes, so that you can listen on your mobile device. Download the ITunes podcast app and search for Fight the Black Dog. Thanks for listening and be sure to tell a friend! FBD // Podcast 002 // He wants to destroy you