Thursday, December 8, 2011

Clanging Cymbals

A few days ago on this blog I wrote about the 'Scriptural Christian' - someone who has all the outer trappings of Christianity, according to scripture, but yet authentic Christianity has not yet penetrated past skin deep. I am not saying these people aren't saved, nor are they evil. Scripture tells us all it takes to be saved is a belief in Jesus. What I am saying is that these people, these Scriptural Christians are missing out on a huge part of life by holding back the love of Jesus.

One way to spot these types is that they speak in 'Christianese'. Their speech is affected and littered with words that don't come from the heart but from the mind - little snippets of remembered King James scripture that is sometimes even misquoted. I hear them speak and I am left wondering if they even know what they are spouting. For instance take the words 'pour forth' - when was the last time, in normal everyday speech, you said something poured forth? And what does poured forth mean anyway? Overflowed? So why not just say overflowed? Perhaps because the speaker hasn't really examined what they are saying, but yet is on Christian autopilot.

We need to require ourselves to actually examine the words we are using, and know fully what they actually mean. This is when we move to the next level in our Christian relationship with God. 1 Corinthians 13 is a chapter known to many of us as the Love Chapter. It is such a beautiful passage. It tells us that even if we say all the right things, do all the right things, if we don't have love, it is all meaningless. The chapter urges us to move past the ways of a child and into adulthood. In order to do this we need to find our own words with which to speak. Spouting off scripture does nothing to further our relationship with our Lord.

We have to have a spirit that is open to being taught. If we are completely open to learning, we find that we are taught by the most unlikely of sources. Sometimes admitting that we are closed off is the hardest part. We feel like any constructive criticism or negative feedback has to be the work of Satan. Don't be fooled, often God is trying to get us to examine ourselves and is sending opposition to wake us up and shake us out of our self righteous stupor.

We should never be satisfied at being a 'resounding gong' (1 Corinthians 1:1). The scripture says that having the speech of angels is not enough. It is the next level - the level of deep heart love for God and all people that we should strive for. This means realizing that lessons in life are all around us. From a person who seems to be our enemy, we can learn patience and fortitude. From a non-Christian we can learn to look at things in a different and new way, while still maintaining our faith - this teaches us unyielding faith. From irritating people we learn to be forgiving as we see them through God's eyes.  Valuable lessons in life rarely come gift-wrapped, even if they are from the hand of God.  Probably most especially when they are from the hand of God, we are pushed to puzzle out the lesson for ourselves.

So, you see, we can't stay stuck in our own little world, with our hands over our ears chanting 'La, la, la, la, I can't hear you' when faced with opposition. If we do, we just might be missing the voice of God being spoken to us from a source we never thought possible.