Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Beginnings of Promise

1 Samuel 9-10

I find Saul a tragic, but fascinating character. He begins with such promise, but ends in such ignominy. How can one do that? Especially when God is in control? There are loads of things I don't understand. This is one of them.

Rather than say anything more, I'll repost something I wrote 18 months ago, It's my best guess to date at trying to understand how it could all go so terribly wrong...


The Forgetfulness of Fervour Vs. the Fruitfulness of Faith.

If you're like me, you can fall into the trap of thinking the following:

Display of fervour = Faith.

In this thinking, the most important thing in life is to hype yourself up about stuff and make sure you are around those who do the same, but that is not the view of Jesus the master.

We can fool each other (and ourselves) most, if not all of the time if we are all complicit and gullible enough, but God knows the heart. He is not interested in ostentatious displays of devotion per se. Through the Son and in the Spirit, he is in the business of birthing and nurturing a new humanity. One which lives by the obedience of faith.

A famous Old Testament king called Saul, had fervour by the bucket load with the best of them, but his life ended in doom and should serve as a sober warning to all who confess the name of Christ, not to fall into the same trap; starting well but finishing worse than we began.

That is not to say that there should never be great displays of devotion or fervent prayer or that spiritual gifts are not for today, (they most definitely are imho :-). Like a jealous lover, Jesus has no interest in flaccid and lukewarm devotion from his beloved. Moreover, Jesus was not known for being a quiet little church mouse. But it wasn't his volume that got the attention of his Heavenly Father, nor his ability to stir up a crowd, it was his reverent obedience.

As I blogged recently, whose eyes are you looking to grab in the doing of it? What is the outcome of your life? Do you go away from times with other Christians, times of reading your Bible challenged but unchanged? (If so, may I humbly suggest that your Christianity is more about flattering yourself than it is about faith in Christ). Or has God birthed something new in you that (being nurtured in continual private prayer) results in new expressions of the eternal life into which you have now been caught up? It might not be be clear to you which of those that is until some time after.

It takes a while for the seed to bear its fruit. Some seem impressive for a time, but then the cares/pleasures/pains of this short life close in on them and they fall away from their original expression of devotion to Christ, irrespective of how fervent that first declaration was.

The wrong kind of fervour looks good, but all it does is puff up the ego without nourishing the spirit (yours or anyone else's). The right kind of faith loves, exalts and honours Jesus Christ, nourishes the soul and blesses the world.

It is this kind of faith, the only true kind,which leads to godly action, irrespective of our outward displays of fervour, temperament or circumstance that we should prayerfully pursue at all costs.

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