Sunday, March 11, 2012

Premature Proclamation

I was in a church service this morning where the pastor - at one point - likened the work that God does in our hearts to the conception and development of a baby in the womb.  It grows and grows, and it eventually comes out - it can't help but come out.  That is the way of it.  

I found that comparison intriguing, because it's something that I've maintained for quite a while.  There are seasons in our lives - times when God brings something into being within us.  Like that New Life that He started in our hearts when we asked Him to take charge of us.  He nurtures and makes that living thing grow and develop - and when the time is right, when it is fully developed and ready to burst forth, it does - and often, not without pain.  

Yet what does the church tend to do?  Get them in, get them hooked up with God, shove a bunch of rules at them, and then put them to work right away.  Do, do, do.  Don't think about the inner stuff unless it's only in general terms.  Just get out there and use the 'shotgun' approach to ministry, make all kinds of black-and-white generalizations about things you haven't even experienced yet, thus being unable to relate to anyone who's in pain.  No, don't deal with that stuff that's in your past.  Shove it down under a blanket of all-encompassing but nebulous forgiveness ... and bury that past.  Don't think about why you can't get victory over the habits that same history has you trapped in - because you never faced any of it.  The answer is activity.  Get busy, you lazy people you.  What's that? you don't feel any joy? well you better!  Can't I hear even ONE Amen?  what's the matter with you!?  Results, people - results!!

Seriously? In such an atmosphere of condemnation and manipulation, the last thing that can grow is that little seed that God took the greatest care to implant in us.

Source (from Google) :
The pregnancy analogy is what I like to call an "inside out" model of the Christian life, which is the only model that works - because He always does things the opposite of the way we think things should be.  (Besides which, He kind of likes to take the credit for the results.)

As I was saying regarding the pregnancy analogy, the life of God takes up residence in us because HE took the initiative.  As our relationship with Him becomes deeper and more intimate, His life takes up more and more room in us, stretching us, changing us from the inside out.  No longer do we need to be pressured from the outside to perform in a certain way, which can be contrary to the direction God would have us go.  That inner life is going to come out in its own way and at its own prescribed time. After a while, even if we're trying to hide it, it will be unmistakably there. And when it is ready, it will come out, and be visible to others.  The proclamation, or the desired result, will happen at the proper time, and NOT BEFORE.  If forced to come out and be obvious to everyone else before it is ready or fully developed, then it is premature - and it runs the very real risk of dying or of always being weaker, more susceptible to illness, more fragile than if it was just left alone to grow naturally. That inner life is essential and must never be hurried along. Never.

There are so many analogies of this very thing in nature: this rushed righteousness, this harangued holiness.  

Hothouse flowers may indeed bloom early, but their fragrance is far less intense than that of the flowers just allowed to develop naturally.  And their immune system is weak; they are more susceptible to disease than naturally cultivated flowers.  

If one happens to see a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, and tries to "help" it by widening the opening and easing its struggle - the butterfly is unable, as a result, to pump the required fluid from its body into its wings and will never be able to fly correctly.  It will therefore die early. 

Same thing with a chick emerging from an egg; it needs the strength in its neck that it gets from the struggle to get out of the egg, to help it find food. 

Just because someone is not obvious, or "out there" with his or her faith, doesn't make it any less real or valid. And just because someone's been a believer for decades doesn't mean he or she is mature.  

Forcing someone to conform to a certain lifestyle or to get out there and do things that were only intended for a mature believer to do, can do more to harm that person than help him or her. Why not just let God do what He wants to do?  why not trust Him to accomplish what He wants, when He wants, without trying to speed it up and risk wrecking what He's trying to transform (in His own way and time) in someone's heart?  

He is more than able to do that - and all by Himself, too.

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