Tuesday, November 18, 2008

-where the line divides-

Certain factors we read again & again in the Scriptures have been sufficiently dulled that we mouth words we do not comprehend. Gratitude, for instance. Why should gratitude be of concern? But it goes back to the elemental divide between the initiative of man versus his dependence on God.

Dependence on God returns to the issues of baptism: of ownership, if I may, of our actions - our deeds, if you prefer. We are born (in the physical sense) and spend our lives either heading towards God - or barrelling away from Him. God desires that we remain in communion with Him: if we could see even a portion of what happens when we do not remain so, perhaps it would be less of an issue.

We would run to the Father like a small child whose daddy has come home from a business trip - and not even needing gifts: purely desiring His presence & His notice & love!

Gratitude for all that He gives (for He does indeed, as you see, give everything) is a large part of that communion - yes, even gratitude!

Sometimes it helps to examine things of the Spirit by opposites. And the ready opposite here is churlishness.

To be resentful.

Or, to paint a better picture: when Christ said if you are not for Me, you are against me...

It's exactly that black & white. If you are not filled & overflowing with gratitude to God - you are resenting what He has (or has not) done in your life. Your attitude towards Him is churlish.

You are the small child who turns her back on her dad when he comes home - after all, to her small child-mind, he went away!

He didn't return bearing a sack full of gifts!

The present day
It becomes more difficult now to tell of the goodness of our God. Too many want that bag of candy without any sense of accepting the true grace that proffers better things.

Legalism, for instance. It would never have been an issue in the early faith because what the Pharisees did was, yes, something like - but something far different than the tame & small bunny we feed.

Legalism merely follows rules. It does not respond to the initiative of God in a matter. It does not have relationship.

Remember that notation about rules vs. suggestions?

We can initiate, indeed, 'good deeds' of our own--. Don't they count for anything? And really, if some hear the Spirit - and others do not - how can we...

All those good deeds out there! Our world becomes the more & more sprayed with that exquisite aroma! If we cannot do good without His Spirit creating that good within us...what is all that good that is out there?

Why is the incense in Revelation the prayers of the saints?

Why isn't it the good deeds of all those celebrities (& others) out there who are...

Doing good deeds.

Is - to return to yesterday's post - morality a matter of a "set of values embraced by individuals and society based on empathy, fairness, and experience..."

Well, yes indeed.

But morality won't get us where we need to be. It can't. Morality is needful, and very, and I'd prefer by far to live in a moral world. But goodness & morality - though they seem vastly similar - are not.

Our Lord warned that wolves would come into the fold.

He just omitted telling who they would be. In these last days, that keen division between 'good' and good will not be easy to see. Best to know that ahead of the hour...

No comments: