Taking Point

All that jargon you hear about shooting for the moon and following your dreams and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps–far from being cliched and powerless–is actually true. But maybe not in the way it’s been presented to the masses.

I’ll explain.

Anytime someone looks at the world and begins to realize, not only that they’re just one among many, but also that the world is more vast than they can comprehend and take in at once, I think they take one of two roads or reactions. Granted, there’s an infinite number of life choices that people make and each one is colored by their inherent temperament (which can also change–more on that in the future), but each one of those choices leads to one outcome–or the other. Namely, the betterment of all those “other people” that you realized existed on the playground. Or obversely, and conversely, through neglect and apathy, their forsaking by you. Optimistic and believing and hopeful and pragmatic? Yes. Go for it. This plays out in the smallest ways and as Jesus says “he (or she) that is faithful in little is faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). Pessimistic, sullen, doubtful and ultimately cynical? God help you. Because this plays out in the smallest ways as well and affects on the same level as the opposite temperament. I have every reason to hate, hate certain people that are walking the earth today. And yet, how can I hate someone that Jesus Himself has forgiven? If He can forgive the people who nailed Him to the cross (Luke 23:34), citing their ignorance, how can I expel the raw energy of my life through a filter of hate and unforgiveness toward individual(s) who’ve done far less than martyr me? “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:4)

Our response to the hardships of life dictates the formation of us as a person.

Rewinding to the past, to our formative years where we began to realize there were other people out there is the starting point for my ultimate point. Just because there is an innumerable (not really; about 7 billion) number of people out there doesn’t mean that you’re not the one to deal with the problem. You. I don’t see anyone else around here, I must be talkin’ to you. Any other realm of life in which we take the high road out of problems by saying “I’ll just let someone else deal with it”, is seen as cheap, lowbrow and detrimental. Then what about in God’s Kingdom?

I have a question for you: do you think you see the issues of the day because you’re simply perspicacious and perceptive enough to perceive it? It’s God who is letting you see it, much in the same way that He let Isaiah eavesdrop on His conversation. “Who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8). Isaiah raised his hand. I won’t mention any specific issues here because there are too many. The first one that bubbled up in your mind upon reading the opening sentence of this paragraph is the one I’m referring to. Did you know that you’re the one to deal with that before the Lord? Surely you’re familiar with the phrase “many are called but few are chosen”. That’s from the Bible–here’s the reference: Matthew 22:14. And here’s a simple illustration that might help demystify and shed the connotations of destiny and fate and all that pie-in-the-sky nonsense: imagine you were in an auditorium with a whole bunch of other people and the speaker (in this case God) called out to the audience for some volunteers, not mentioning what it was He needed them for. And you and, say, a tenth of the remaining crowd (how sad) raised their hands and were then called to come up to the podium… That’s it. Yes, God called you to do something. Raise your hand (or hands), it’s as simple as that. All the direction and drive and content you need is there–or will be once you operate on the things you already know.

This might sound like too simplified and simplistic a way of dealing with the seemingly insurmountable social problems of our day: poverty, abuse, greed, apathy and complacency. But I’m telling you, it’s wrong not to see yourself–with God’s help–being able to tackle it all yourself if need be. We limit God by not utilizing our imaginations and then applying our faith and our intelligence to see them become reality.

It starts with prayer.

Open to interpretation? Part 4 A Spiritual Entelechy

The definition of entelechy—pronounced “intelli-key”—is not too far a cry from the definition of its pronunciation. Forgive my wordplay and circular definition here. An entelechy is like an epiphany. An entelechy happens when you begin to see something, for yourself, as more than just someone’s opinion. You see it as necessary, integral. Actual as opposed to optional. Do you see where I’m going with this? For the Believer, it means that God has opened your eyes. Somewhere in the near or distant past, you humbled yourself and as it says in 1 Peter (5:6), God exalted you. “He gives grace—His ability, His sight, His insight—to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

I say all of that to say this: The default state of a Christian should be one of humility and meekness, or teachability. Gratitude and worship, yes. But without humility and meekness, those actions can be hollow and insincere. And if we are truly humble, then God can show us what we don’t know. That’s what my Dad says: “God is always showing us what we don’t know”. Keep this in mind as we move on.

Regarding praying in tongues, the most common comment coming from one who does not consider the gifts of the Spirit is that “it’s not for today”. I hear this from believers. Christians.

I don’t know how that could be. Maybe some elaboration is in order? Tell me when, in the 2000+ year history of Christianity, did this gift cease to be not only given, but needed? Are things any better now than they were in the time of the reformation? What about first century Asia Minor? Are we as effective a cohesive body as they were? (the modern Chinese house-church movement is) When did the gift of tongues, let alone any gift that has made itself scarce in our modern, conservative churches, become obsolete? I have a feeling that this is just someone’s opinion. Wouldn’t the fifty-year moral and social decline in this country be enough to cause us to cry out to God for anything that we could be missing?

I firmly believe that God never dares anyone to do anything. So if you’ve ever felt like you’ve been forced to do something out of pressure or torment or threat, I can assure you that it’s not God. He doesn’t work that way. He’s gentle, oh so gentle. The key to experiencing all that God has and wants to give us is to be willing. “How shall He not with Him (Jesus) also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) Are we even willing to be willing? If you’re not sure but you’re open, then God will lead you. Spend time in prayer and worship. Fast if need be and it doesn’t have to be from food. The Holy Spirit will let you know. And if the gift of tongues is for today—and I believe it is—then God will make sure you get it. Just don’t let doubt turn into unbelief. Because unbelief is sin. God can only do so much when someone is an unbelieving believer. Does this make sense?

Another way to define entelechy is to see the Body of Christ become “endued” with this “power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) But didn’t that already happen on Pentecost? It did (Acts 2:2-4). So now it’s up to us to seek it out anew. Did we just misplace it? How do you misplace the Holy Spirit?

I’ll wrap this up tomorrow.