The Evangelical Universalist Forum

How does one draw close to God and live accordingly?

Well, others can give you theological and Biblical exegesis solutions. Let me share my personal, experiential solutions - which I have shared elsewhere.

Theosis

So while I might say, that EO / EC - is the “best” way…And one that can take us to Theosis…which is radical in the western church…but fully in accordance, with Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition…And is called deification in RC theology…and one can find the counterpart, in any Light modality. Like this one:

There are other ways.

Let’s look at some short videos:



Contemplation

These days, I follow the Wisdom, contemplative traditions of

Tibetan Rainbow:

Golden Key

The ultimate purpose is to achieve, what is common to Eastern Catholicism, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy - Theosis.

I also hang out with the healing contemplation groups of BG, SM and Johrei… .and spending time with folks, who are considered saintly (i.e. Amma and Karunamayi)… when they come to my area.

Just stay away from the zombies of Z-Hell (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), when they come to visit.

My own anxiety and depression finally began to dissipate when I started following teachings that focus on grace and Jesus, instead of performance and self.

For example, here is “grace teacher" Joseph Prince of Singapore:

You are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Righteousness is a permanent gift (Rom. 5:17), and so you are always fully qualified for all God’s blessings, even though you sin every day.

Blessings.

Andre, it might help to let go of these feelings of negativity, bitterness, resentment etc.etc. As the Bible says, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. None are perfect. Someone else’s sin may have contributed to our pain and suffering, but our own sins cause pain and suffering to others as well. This is why we are to forgive one another as God forgives us. However, although we are sinners, we are to strive to be better, or as Joseph Prince says, “Labor for the rest.”, knowing that with God all things are possible. Believe in God and in yourself, that He is in you, He is able to make you stand and that you can change and be the person He created you to be.:smiley:

HF, as you mention above, “You are the righteousness of God in Christ”. To me, this means that it is only when you become like Christ that you are the righteousness of God. So no, you are not always fully qualified to receive all of God’s blessings. This is like saying that all are fully qualified to build a house. I’d say not.
It sounds like Andre is held captive by his negative feelings and thoughts which rule over him. Until he learns how to exercise his power over them and let them go, he is unable to receive all that the Spirit of God offers.

LLC to Hermano!

Hey, LLC. You quote Hermano but you reference me. It begs this question!!

Sorry to hear of your depression - it must be challenging dealing with it and struggling to feel God’s presence when fighting it.

I think that becoming selfless is a key aspect of being a “good” person - I think that is what it means to love neighbour as yourself. As for who our neighbour is, the Good Samaritan story and other aspects of Jesus’ ministry show us that everyone is our neighbour - there is noone who doesn’t count as neighbour because of their poverty, tribe, sickness etc. With selflessness comes humility, compassion, generosity and other positive traits. IMHO, it is in selfless acts that we become more Christlike and in so doing come to experience God more.

One of the things I have discovered is that we have to deal with the whole person when tackling depression. We are spirit soul and body and depression can find its foothold in any one of those three or all three.
Body- Are you getting enough sleep? Long term sleep debt can have major consequences on our brain chemistry. One hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours after.
Are you eating good? sugar and carbohydrates in todays modern diet can really mess up our insulin levels and make us feel terrible. Focus on high fiber and protein. Cut carbs and sugars way down. Whole foods not manufactured.
The third thing is water. Dehydration can cause depression. Caffein is a fuel for irritation and negativity. It often replaces water in modern diets.
I say all this because we can do all the spiritual things and still feel defeated emotionally because our emotions are a combination of physical and spiritual conditions.
Evaluate your relational environment. Are you feeling abused or neglected? An unhappy relationship or work environment can create depression.
Hope this is helpful as well as the good advice shared by others. Prayers for your joy and victory.

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Part 2
Emotional. Are there people you harbor unforgiveness towards? Forgiving others is freeing yourself. Pray for them and keep forgiving them. Bitterness will definitely fuel depression and defeat. Jesus indicated that Gods grace towards us is profoundly affected by our grace towards others.
Practice humility in all things. Dont beleive that you or others have to be perfect. One reason Jesus died as the perfect man was so we could be set free from the tyranny of perfection and the impossible demands it places on us. The law is impossible and it always creates death and judgement and separation. Grace brings life and peace. Mistakes are lessons not crimes.
Im just kind of flowing in a stream of consciousness here so eat the meat and throw away the bones.

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@AndreLinoge

I would caution against high protein. I was on a high protein diet until last year when I got some bloodwork that revealed borderline high creatinine, which is caused by eating a lot of meat.

I used to think that, too. But righteousness is a gift, bestowed because of the perfect performance of Jesus, not, thank God, because of our own performance.

Upon receiving the free gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17), we always have right standing before God: we are justified (“just as if I’d” never sinned). It is a gift we receive at salvation, and “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29).

I suggest you are confusing sanctification with justification (righteousness).

Being made righteous (justification) is instantaneous, upon receiving the gift of Jesus; whereas sanctification (consecration, “by the renewing of the soul”) is both an instantaneous “setting apart” at rebirth (because positionally we are now in Christ), and yet also a process facilitated by our daily obedience to the Holy Spirit: as he directs us to reject worldly lusts–and we choose to obey him–we are being “set apart” practically in our daily living, which leads us to maturity and fruitfulness:

1 Thes. 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.

1 Thes. 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.

1 Peter 1:2 …according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Because we are righteous, we are always fully qualified for all of God’s blessings, regardless of our daily sinning. However, our legalistic enemy, Satan, wants to keep us feeling condemned, unworthy, disqualified–focused on ourselves and our performance, instead of resting in Jesus, and focusing on his victorious performance. So we must take every thought captive to Christ’s obedience (2 Cor. 10:5).

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Sorry for the mistake HF.:confused:

mcarans, I don’t believe in selflessness. As you say, love your neighbor as yourself. There is a self ( I am) and we are to love and take care of ourselves as well.

Hermano, I don’t think I’m confusing any words. I take righteousness in it’s plain common sense meaning- doing what’s right according to God/ right standing before God. From what Andre is saying, he is not standing right before God if he has fallen into depression. As PastorMark mentions, there could be several reasons for this-harboring unforgiveness towards himself and others, not taking care of his body, etc. none of which is right or good according to God.

I disagree. As I mentioned before, there is a right way and wrong way to build a house, and all are not qualified builders. Yes, we can become qualified, but it takes work.

Let’s focus on the plumping - for example. This video illustrates the wrong way!

Thats good to know

Of course André has right standing before God! God knew all about our future sins when He received us into His family, and yet He still decided to give us His gift of righteousness.

But introspection and condemnation feed depression.

First of all, let’s keep in mind: God is not counting anyone’s sins against them (2 Cor. 5:19); people are enemies of God only in their minds, not in fact (Col 1:21-22, John 3:16-17).

We have been made righteous by receiving the free gift of Jesus’(God’s) righteousness. God freely imputes righteousness (justification) to anyone who, by faith, receives His Son (Gal. 2:16).

We received our right standing with God when we placed our faith in Jesus Christ, not by doing good works. We now do good works (manifest Jesus), not to try and become right with God, but because we already are right with God. People are to work hard for God only after freely receiving His grace (unmerited favor), which empowers us to then do good (1 Cor. 15:10). Grace is the place of divine exchange, the place of Sabbath rest. Any other kind of “work” comes from the flesh, not the Spirit. And flesh only give birth to more flesh (John 3:6).

We must take every religious “I’ve got to do good works to remain righteous before God” thought captive to Christ’s obedience, to his finished work (2 Cor. 10:5).

We must not get the cart before the horse, that is, work in order to try and gain favor with God. We Christians already, always, have favor with God, which we received, by receiving Jesus. We must be fully convinced in our minds that we already have the favor of God, in order to be free and unburdened to then restfully, spiritually, work for Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The alternative is that we let the enemy paralyze us with condemning thoughts, or provoke us to frantically, carnally, try to earn points with God. So we must not become introspective and self-centered, focused on our sin and our performance; we must remain assured of our right standing with God by focusing on Jesus and being Jesus-centered, and by seeking to freely receive and share all the free benefits of HIS finished work—becoming channels of God by staying in tune with Him through quiet times, prayer, thanksgiving, worship, and meditating on God’s promises in the Bible–which are all “yes” and “amen” for us (2 Cor. 1:20)!

Romans 3:21-28 (NIV)
21 But now apart from the law THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

22 This righteousness is GIVEN through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.

28 For we maintain that a person is JUSTIFIED [made righteousness] by faith apart from the works of the law.

When we first put our faith in Jesus, and receive him and his gift of salvation, we receive the (irrevocable, enduring) GIFT of right-standing with God (Rom. 5:17-18, 11:29).

Christ = our righteousness:

1 Corinthians 1:30
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us…our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

Religion says, “do right to be right.” But Jesus taught the opposite, “be right to do right” (Mt. 23:25-26).

Let’s not confuse André by wrongly giving any encouragement to work for right-standing with God—

Romans 10:3
Since they did not know the righteousness of God and SOUGHT TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

—but rather to encourage him to be certain about, and rest in, his already being the righteousness of God in Christ—

2 Cor. 5:21
For our sake he [the Father] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

—fully qualified for all of God’s blessings, in spite of any daily transgressions and failures.

Righteousness isn’t something we do, it’s something we are. When the devil accuses you, “How dare you call yourself righteous when you just did sin X,” you should respond to him, “I am not righteous because of what I have done or not done; I am righteous only because of what JESUS has done!

-André, please also see, “Are all our sins—past, present, and future—already forgiven?

-And avoid like the plague anything that smacks of “Lordship salvation,” because that philosophy promotes the false idea of working in order to prove, and to keep, your salvation, and so it puts gasoline on the fire of sin, selfishness, and fear:

Romans 6:14
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

But sadly the converse of Romans 6:14 is also true: if we choose to go back under the law (of trying to work for righteousness), sin will be our master!

Regarding the dangers of what is termed “Lordship salvation, see for example,

The Popular Idea of “Lordship Salvation” | Andrew Farley

and maybe,

Lordship Salvation: Honoring God by Calling Him a Liar

Just a footnote here. Not everyone in the Christian world, agrees with imputed righteousness. Another viewpoint is infused.

Of course, I side with the Eastern Orthodox/ Eastern Catholic position:

God’s “Righteousness”

Sorry Hermano, but I still have to disagree with you. What you’re saying goes back to the old age belief of “noble birth”, that you were king, or “lord”, because your father was king. You’re not the president because your was a president, and you’re not a plumber because your father was a plumber. We are all individuals, and this life is about each of us growing and becoming the person God created us to be. Andre can be victorious just as Jesus was victorious, but it will take some work on Andre’s part. As Jesus says in John 5:17 “My Father is always at work and so I too am working.”

LLC to Hermano!

Well, we will have to wait and see…whether technology has caught up to heaven! So which excuse should I use? Surprise quiz, everyone! Multiple choice! Only one answer is right!

  • A. I only read the articles!

  • B. Do you take American Express?

  • C. I’m with him.

  • D. The zombies from Z-Hell (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), ate my homework.

  • E. My mom goes to church.

Please test your knowledge, before watching this short video - on technology in Heaven!

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Ok, that vid was pretty funny>

Thank you for the replies.