Saturday, July 2, 2011

No Gimmicks

     There are no "secrets," no "keys," and no "ultimate answers" concerning the living of a consistent and increasingly godly life in a fallen world.
      "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses... Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (I Timothy 6:11-12; II Timothy 2:3).
    Indeed, the closest thing to a secret, key or answer is the recognition that there are no such easy spiritual fixes in our relationship with God.  There is rather the spirit and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our calling to trust and submit ourselves to Him.  There is also the understanding that our devotion to the Lord Jesus will be challenged until our dying breath by spiritual enemies whose nefarious workings demand that we "fight the good fight of faith."  Religious gimmickry serves no effective purpose against such foes, but more importantly, it serves no purpose in our calling to relate to a real God concerning the real issues of life in a continually challenging and fallen world.
    Our flesh longs for some new insight or method that will finally cause all our spiritual gears, as it were, to finally and forever align.  That blessed day will come, but it will not be in this lifetime.  For now, we will awaken each and every day on a spiritual battlefield in which we fight from the victory of the risen Christ, but we fight nevertheless.  As confessed the Apostle Paul, we will be "troubled... perplexed... persecuted... cast down" (II Corinthians 4:8-9).  Through Christ, we can overcome such challenges, as did Paul, but it will not be inevitable that we do so.  Nor will we finally find an ultimate weapon whereby we blithely smile and easily overcome the world, the devil and the flesh.  Instead, we will find ourselves again and again needing to seek fresh guidance and enabling from "the Captain of our salvation" (Hebrews 2:10).  He has called and enabled us to the blessed experience of a living relationship with Himself.  Supposed secrets, keys and answers don't apply in such a realm of personal reality lived with the great Person of reality.
    This truth comes hard for young believers, or for those misled by spiritual influences who offer false dreams and hopes.  It comes blessedly, however, for those who realize that anything that once again drives us to our faces in desperate acknowledge of our need is a necessary component in our present existence.  Thereby are we prepared to seek and access the heart of God, and the dynamic involvement of His hand on our behalf.  Gimmicks have no place in this holy place where a faithful Father and trusting children meet in loving and living relationship and reality. 
"And when they were come to him (Paul), he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations."
(Acts 20:18-19)

No comments: