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The human race loves playing the technical card. Yes I'm talking to you. The person whom when someone says "good night" after the clock rolls past midnight you smugly reply "good morning". When your child says "can I go outside to play?" and you reply "I don't know CANNNN you??" When your spouse says "I'm going to hop in the shower" and you say "don't hop." "I see you got a hair cut", where you reply "I got several hairs cut". When you're asked to spell your name and you reply "Y-O-U-R-N-A-M-E" and do that little chuckle you do afterwards. Don't even get me started on the amount of grammar police online (I suck at grammar) who completely, miss, what's, being, said, because, of, an, out-of-place comma! Arghhh!


We're a people who find it more urgent to point out the typo in a news article then share what is being reported in it. We're a people who might name our dog "ten miles" just so we can say we walked ten miles. As kids we create games around technicalities and delightfully kick someone out because "Simon didn't say". As adults things don't change. A very intelligent individual with a head full of knowledge provides the correct info on Jeopardy but is disqualified because their reply wasn't in the form of a question... pfft!


Even my wife is mad at me because I never buy her flowers... I didn't even know she sold flowers.


Har Har Har (that's how my dad would have laughed at my above joke). Full disclosure, I'm just as refined in the art of technicalities as the next guy. Many of my frivolous arguments have started with the words "well technically..."


Unfortunately as humans our love for technicalities isn't restricted to that which is humorous with consequences staying in the range of annoying to really annoying. It's also employed in much more serious ways with much more serious consequences. Companies lose millions because of a contract that was written up with a comma out of place. Robbers go free because an officer neglected to show him a search warrant before entering his house. When I worked security at a grocery retailer while stopping a shoplifter I came face to face with a murderer that had just been released from prison on a technicality because though he just months prior shot someone at point blank while robbing a convenience store, the law he was convicted under was later rules unconstitutional and was thrown out therefore so was his conviction along with it. And though surveillance showed exactly what happened, it didn't matter. Why? Because under the U.S. constitution you technically can't be tried twice for the same crime even though he would still be convicted by one of the many other laws that still condemn murder.


You know who else loves technicalities? Satan. And it's most definitely not for humor. And unlike your dad he is much more skilled and cunning (Gen. 3:1), tempting people and leading them astray. To Eve Satan asks "Has God really said, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'?" (Gen. 3:1). To Jesus Satan said "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written: 'He will give His angels orders concerning You'; and 'On their hands they will lift You up, so that You do not strike Your foot against a stone.'" Twisting scripture is usually done through the art of technicality and Satan's a pro.


We men understand the letter of the law, we love it, we're familiar with it. Unfortunately we love it to much. We'll sacrifice the spirit of the law for the letter of the law. The pharisees did this too and Jesus said to them, "You blind guides, who strain a gnat and swallow a camel!" (Matt. 23:24). The pharisees were so entrenched in the letter of the law and completely missing the spirit of the law that when Jesus was about to heal a man with a withered arm, they were looking to see if He was going to violate the Sabbath (in their eyes) and in so doing they may have reason to accuse Him (Mark 3:2). Jesus knew their schemes however and had an apt response:


And He *said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He *said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might put Him to death. - Mark 3:4-6


We are so used to others, our parents, our friends, the government, religious leaders, ourselves and even our kids (kids by nature are lawyers) playing the technical card that we've begun to incorporate that way of thinking into all that think or do. If that's not bad enough our laws, contracts, disclaimers, and the like are all written with the letter of the law in mind. Even in the church and various ministries the fear of being caught on technicalities is always looming so we set up surveillance systems, members sign waivers before missions trips, ministries never leave the ground because insurances won't cover them. All so that we can be prepared should we forget to dot an 'I' or cross a 'T' and the legal system comes knocking at our door.


You know who I've found to be experts in the law? Criminals. When I worked law enforcement I was amazed at how knowledgeable criminals were of the legal system. Not the spirit of the law which they should fear, but how they could manipulate the letter of the law, the technicals they learned to play that would protect them from facing the consequences of their actions. Like the murderer I mentioned above who went free on a technicality, criminals know exactly what you as law enforcement are allowed and not allowed to do and if they play those cards right they can disarm you on a technicality, them and their corrupt lawyers. Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11), we shouldn't be surprised that it's systems follow after his nature (Col. 2:20, John 8:44, Eph. 6:12).


It's really hard to get away from this way of thinking. Either as the bad guy using the letter of the law to your advantage (and we've all been the bad guy), or as the good guy fearing those that would use the letter of the law against you (and we've all been the recipient of this). When you're raised in a world that trains your heart from a very young age that the letter of the law is something to be mindful of, we carry that into all that we do. Unfortunately because that gets so deep-seated in the fundamentals of our thinking we have a very difficult time not projecting that onto God as well. Not only do we project that onto God, but all too often absent from the mind is the spirit of the law which is what God actually intended in giving it (Matt. 22:36-40, Gal. 5:14). We've been so indoctrinated by the letter of the law-observing-world, that we forget that God's ways are not our ways and God's thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9).


While I've met those who think God is going to let them into heaven based on a technicality; in the church I've met far more who think God is looking to disqualify them based on a technicality. I myself have struggled with this way of thinking. That I will be the one exception that God's grace can't cover because of some loophole in the contract I failed to see. In lieu of grace, looming in my heart is this trained feeling that is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then when you hear about things in scripture like the "unpardonable sin" you lock onto them like that's the loophole that is gonna be the "gotcha" that keeps you out of heaven. We put ourselves in a nasty predicament. Our hearts will not rejoice that we're accepted until we can with certainty rule out all "gotchas" yet our minds do not have all knowledge so we never arrive at that certainty and therefore never feel the peace of acceptance.


If you can relate I'm glad you're here but sorry you struggle with this too. It's a miserable feeling when our hearts refuse to allow us to embrace the joy of the Lord because of all this messed up programming we have that is vetoing it. It's not that there aren't things that tug at our heart to be joyous about, they tug, but it's that those things are shot down almost immediately because of the fear of this technicality we feel disqualifies us. Oh how we desire certainty, yet on the path of searching for certainty are countless technicalities we simply can't rule out so certainty is never achieved. Our hearts starve for feeling the good of the Lord and yet it's our hearts that won't allow us too. Messed up isn't it.


Can I share with you some good news now?


Your inability to feel God's love for you doesn't disqualify you from God's love. Your doubting God's love and goodness being for you doesn't nullify God's love and goodness being for you. You may feel God is the prosecuting attorney with you in His scope but more accurately He is your defense attorney who is presenting you blameless (1 Cor. 1:8, Col. 1:22). Christ did not come to condemn the world, His desire for coming wasn't so you'd have no excuse, but that you might actually be pardoned by His blood (John 3:17).


1 John 3:20 says that even if our heart condemns us, that God is greater than our hearts! This is a verse specifically for us with broken feelers and it speaks on who has the ultimate authority, and guess what, it's not your heart! Thank God. This means that even though our feelers are broken, that's ok! If you're waiting for your fleshly heart to "feel" saved, it may not, and that's ok. But you shouldn't conclude on the basis of what your fleshly heart feels that spiritual rebirth hasn't happened or that God is somehow withholding compassion (Psa. 77) as that's not His desire (Isa. 30:18). God is greater than our hearts and therefore our hearts don't have the final say on these matters. The heart is evil (Jer. 17:9), and therefore should not be trusted (Prov. 3:5-6). If you continue to walk this life in all you do allowing your heart to guide you; being evil it's rarely going to be your advocate.


God often calls us to be courageous in scripture. Courage is quite different than bravery. Bravery is the heart not being affected in adverse circumstances. Courage however is making the choice to press on despite the heart being heavily affected by adverse circumstances. For me, this is choosing (not feeling) to take God at His word. Salvation is not a difficult thing as if God doesn't want to give it to you unless you dot all your I's and cross all your T's. Faith is not a work. Take God at His word.


For example, scripture says:


"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” - Romans 10:12-13


Now if you're here, It's highly likely you've already called, and if like me, multiple times. Notice there's no technicalities listed there, call on the Lord = saved. Many write me concerned that when they've called they've "fooled themselves into a false conversion", in their minds they ruled it's not genuine based on some technicality, often on the technicality that they don't feel it. They come with a broken feeler and erroneously judge their salvation based on that broken feeler not feeling it. They conclude, even though they don't know what it would be, that there must be a technicality that has disqualified their faith because their feeler hasn't responded positively to it. Faith however, is not a feeling.


God isn't looking to exclude people based on technicalities. He's not someone who's eager to say "gotcha" at the gates to heaven and send you away. God who didn't spare His own Son WANTS to save. Don't think He's made salvation a far off thing, it is not (Romans 10:6-8). God wants to save (Eze. 18:23, 32, 2 Pet. 3:9, 1 Tim. 2:3-4, Tit. 2:11, Heb. 2:9). Luke 12:32 says this: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (NKJV).

You know what I want? To eat cake..specifically Costco cake because it's the best. The problem is I'm intolerant of dairy, wheat, and eggs... to my grief all three are in Costco cake. If I eat those things I don't just get gassy, I swell up, break out in hives, and sometimes can barely walk or move my arms for weeks. Even though that's the case I still want Costco cake. If someone could give me a magic pill that suddenly made me completely compatible with those ingredients, well I'd take the pill and the wife and I would be having Costco cake for New Years this year and we'd both rejoice because she loves me and would be happy to see me finally get to eat what she knows I want to eat (she really is a sweet heart).

You know what God wants? To save. The problem He had was the sin in man was something He was intolerant of. Even though man had sin it didn't diminish His desire to save. Amazingly God didn't just conclude "it is what it is" and leave it at that but His desire to save was so powerful and great that He begin searching for what would allow Him to execute His love toward us. Covenants were made, laws were given, but righteousness (which literally means rightness with God) wasn't being accomplished. Yet God still couldn't take it; amazingly His love wouldn't give up. He wanted it to bad so He went to dire lengths. While I gave up on Costco cake, God decided to pursue what He wanted at all costs. Therefore He sent His only Begotten to die for us. His Son who was one with Him would be separated and turned over to the hands of men to be tortured, punished, and killed. Why? Because God couldn't bare us to suffer in our own sins, Because God amazingly wants us. He loves us. God couldn't bare to not see us with Him in heaven, His want for that is to great. Scripture says that God was pleased to crush Jesus, to put Him to grief (Isa. 53:10). Now that would be a morbid verse if it wasn't for the latter part which says "If He renders Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring". Hebrews 12:2 states of Jesus that it was the joy that was set before Him whereas He endured the cross. God wasn't pleased to crush Jesus, God was pleased at what crushing Jesus meant. Jesus sacrifice was pleasing to God, a fragrant aroma (Eph. 5:2) because of what it accomplished.

God found a way to deal with sin that He might get what He wants, our salvation, His inheritance (Eph. 1:18). God found a way to free Himself up from any intolerance of us that He may do what He's always longed to do. To lavish His grace on us. Isaiah 30:18 says "Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you." Do you see the heart of God yet? Do you think God who so badly wants to save, and the angels who all rejoice in heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7,10) are looking for a way to disqualify you from what they want for you? God who did not spare His own Son that you might be saved isn't also looking to catch you on some loop hole in the contract nor to disqualify you on a technicality. For this robs Him of what He so very much wants, that is, to adopt you! (Eph. 1:5). Likewise the angels whom receive great joy when one changes their mind about God isn't hoping to somehow deliver to you a "gotcha" as that would go contrary to their desires. One cannot desire to save and at the same time desire to not save by way of a technicality. God is not a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).


If someone provided a pill for me that freed me up to eat Costco cake without consequence you can be sure my desire isn't to find another reason to not eat it, why? Because I WANT to eat it. Because I want it my battle is actually trying to fool myself that the consequences aren't as bad as they actually are, I'm actually trying to disqualify the disqualifiers that I might be freed up to do what I want.


A friend from my teenage years named Rob Decou who's earned the nickname "crazy Rob" completed what's called the Uberman Triathlon this year (2020). Only 7 people have completed it solo, he's the 7th. He has trained his whole life for this, conditioning his mind and body and learning how to shirk pain and press through it. 21 Miles of swimming, 400 miles of biking, 135 miles of jogging, did I mention this was in death valley during 100+ temps? As a friend of mine said, this thing makes the Ironman challenge an afternoon picnic. Some do this triathlon as a relay team...Rob did every part of it himself, only one so far in 2020. He is an amazingly driven man, gifted to press on during pain, but this still brought him to the brink. He even fell asleep while biking and got some pretty good road rash. In the water the current pushed against him and he spent hours through the night swimming against it and getting nowhere. Now can you imagine when he got near the end, just about to complete the 135 miles on foot through death valley with the finish line in sight, but then looking down just before crossing it and seeing his shoe was untied he decides to quit the entire thing and go home. That after all that Rob would throw in the towel because "runners shouldn't run with untied shoes". Ridiculous, if road rash didn't stop him, or swimming against the current in the dark didn't defeat him, if a lack of sleep, pain throughout, and very hot temperatures didn't thwart him, an untied shoe surely wouldn't. Yet God did a far more amazing feat in every way and we somehow think He's going to not finish it because of some equally ridiculous technicality. Paul puts it this way.


What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? - Romans 8:31-32


For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:6

Faith isn't a trick to perform, it's not a feeling to be had, it's not a work to be done. Faith is merely and simply allowing God to do what God so passionately wants to do, and amazingly, that's to save us, sanctify us, adopt us, and bring us home. The shortest salvation prayer I've ever heard was simply a man who looked toward the heavens and said "Fine!" Why? Because you need merely let the Savior do what the Savior does, it's in His very name! (Matt. 1:21).


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