Thursday, September 25, 2014

"A Quiet Spirit"

    On several occasions over the years, I've heard people, including preachers, suggest, "Why can't we get as excited in church as we do at football games?  We must love games more than Jesus!"

    I'm sure there are folks who do worship football more than God.  I should know.  I live in the state of Alabama.  However, I don't think we should concern ourselves with seeking to duplicate in church services the responses experienced at gladiatorial contests on the gridiron.  A great difference exists between zealotry and godly devotion.  The former operates, at best, through the energy of the flesh.  At worst, there may be devilish influences who seek to convince us that advancing an air-filled bag of leather on a beautifully manicured (or these days, vacuumed) lawn offers something truly important for the soul.  No criticism of football is intended here (I must continue to live in this state).  I only suggest that the sensibilities of football fandom correlate very little with the heart realities of genuine godliness.

    Certainly, born again believers in the Lord Jesus experience times of individual and corporate excitement in our walk with God.  The norm, however, involves "a quiet spirit" that fosters genuine peace and stability (I Peter 3:4).  The reason for such emphasis involves the sometimes forgotten truth that we cannot function in a state of excitement.  Indeed, even positive stimulations of emotion can render us helpless in the successful fulfillment of our responsibilities.  Your great, great, great aunt passes away, for example, the one you only met once as a child, and whose perfume  still memorably wafts in your olfactory senses after all these years (whew!).  For some reason, Aunt Smelly decided to write you into her will, leaving her vast fortune to you and you only.  You find out while at work in the middle of the afternoon.  Excitement fills your soul (along with a little guilt - "Well, her perfume really wasn't that bad!").  A vast fortune!  Wow!  Now here's the question: how much work will you get done in the rest of the day?  Not much likely, not much at all (and you may turn in your notice the next morning, leaving the job behind forever).  

   Life in the Spirit requires a stability and stillness of heart that makes reasoned choices of faith possible.  This does not preclude excitement, both individually and corporately, and we thank God for times of happy exhilaration in Christ.  Too much emphasis on the release of adrenaline, however, leads to false expectations and poor performance in our walk with God.  Most of our life in Christ involves the choices of love, faith, submission, and devotion to God and others that must occur in an environment of little or no emotion.  We need not fear such quietness of spirit and heart. We must rather expect that the Lord of summit experiences walks with us on the level plains where most of life is lived.  Thereupon He meets us with the grace that enables consistent faithfulness and functioning that requires stillness of soul far more exhilaration of emotion.

"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."
(Isaiah 30:15)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
(James 6:1)

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