Friday, September 30, 2011

Butterfly Feelings And Wise Words Make For A Weak Foundation

I hope maturity is our goal in our relationship with Jesus Christ. No one should ever want to remain a child in anything they do or in any relationship they have. That euphoria of being in love must give way to a mature love that will carry a relationship through the good and bad times of life. If all we ever want in a relationship is that butterfly feeling then we will discard relationships as soon as it seems to disappear in the dark days of life. I think most of us want a lover who will stand with us in the heat of battle, who will fight with us and for us, who will not walk away just because it's hard, but will remember their covenant to stand.

A mature relationship with Jesus is not built on butterfly feelings alone but on decisions of trust and a hope in the things promised but yet unseen. It is a relationship of trust that says we have made a decision to stand even when everything we are experiencing flies in the face of man's wisdom, even when our flesh is telling us to runaway, even when we can't see any possible outcome. Our relationship goes beyond feelings and is based on a love that man's wisdom cannot grasp, a love that says I believe, I trust and I submit.

When Paul went to see the Corinthians he was stepping into a hot bed of philosophizers. These people loved to hear knew ideas and then debate them. That was their pass time just like some people enjoy watching sports today. But it was a position of observers, of no contact, of no getting your hands dirty, not unlike the debaters of our age. Paul knew what he was coming into and he made the decision that he was not going to argue about Jesus. He was not coming in with fine sounding words and man's logical wisdom. He made a decision of how to present Jesus:

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

Christianity is not about theory even though that is what we are turning it in to. We have allowed it to become a debate with "wise" and eloquent speakers. We have turned pastoring into a profession with lettered preachers. I pray they are preaching experience and not theory but I do know many preach from books instead of from the fiery Holy Spirit. We are emptying the cross of its power with our words. We can't talk people into the Kingdom, they must experience it.

I heard some wonderful speakers as a child, some incredible pastors and preachers, but not one of them could persuade me by their words. It wasn't until I experienced Jesus myself that I became persuaded and surrendered my life to his love. We have to stop basing our approach on the world's methods and understand in greater maturity that God's methods are very different. It is not based on persuasive words that give us butterfly feelings but on God's power which changes us into a new creation:

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

If we are persuaded by wise and persuasive words that tickle our ears and gives us butterfly feelings then we are doomed to fail at the first testing of our faith. Our faith cannot be based on words that teach us to conform but instead on God's power which transforms. Man's wisdom, even when speaking about Jesus, is empty of any power and cannot provoke any change except the superficial change of our behaviour. However, when the words spoken and the action taken is from the Spirit, mountains move, walls fall, the dead in Christ are raised and the old becomes new. If we think we can reason our way into the Kingdom then we are truly lost. If we think we can romance our way into the Kingdom then we are truly lost.

The mature in Jesus know there is no good thing in us except Jesus Christ. We have nothing to offer our Father except our surrender and obedience. But there is also security in this because we can be just like Paul, messed up and failing, and yet be used mightily by God. It's not about us, it's about Jesus working through us:

I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. (1 Corinthians 2:3)

The mature in Jesus are never held back by weakness and fear because they know who their strength is. They know who the fight belongs to. They know and trust that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us because we belong to him. We know this, not by theory and butterfly feelings but because the Holy Spirit testifies to this fact to our spirit. And soon, the mature know it by experience. We are sustained in his love because love never fails. It is due to this that we are able to rise up as mighty warriors, ready for battle, fearing nothing and pressing forward. We are those who move mountains, raise the dead, walk on water, heal the sick, send demons running, and laugh in the face of darkness because we know who we belong to and what he is doing through us. So come on, rise up, be bold, speak the words he gives you, do the things he directs to do and show your spiritual maturity.

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