Monday, May 17, 2010

Overcoming the Spiritual Cynic Within

This from Lena:

I remember James Dobson, years back, talking about how it is good for couples to go back to the places where they first fell in love, and let these places stir up the memories of those first electric experiences between you and your mate, thus restoring those feelings of the first flush of passion. But what if we apply this same principle to our walk with the Lord? Same thing.

Recently, I have had the privilege of watching my oldest daughter fall passionately in love with her Savior. She has always been steeped in things of the Spirit through ministry life and her own decisions to jump into the presence of the Lord, but has begun to experience the pull of other things, and as a result has run right to the feet of Jesus. I am so proud of what I see in her, but as she seeks my counsel on things, I sometimes hear coming out of me a note of fear—that she will do something that will “offend the brethren” in her newfound zeal. As cautious pearls of wisdom fall from my mouth, I am caught remembering all the “overly zealous” stuff I did. And I did REALLY zealous stuff. Stuff I don’t want to even tell her about, for fear she will do the same! Crazy. And I am caught between the idea that wisdom keeps us out of unnecessary trouble, but passion is always throwing us into conflict-with the world, with those who are embarrassed or challenged (or both) by our passionate zeal, and even with ourselves, as we try to reason with ourselves why running into a room full of strangers with a bottle of Chanel No. 5 to pour on Jesus’ feet is a bad idea.

Why was it that we decided to take the safe way? Oh yeah. We got burned! Lots of people reject us. After all, a little flicker of light might manage to go unnoticed, and even give off a pleasing glow that attracts…but a raging fire is bound to get a response. Someone will run to put it out!! “No fires allowed!! Your fire offends me!” (Your fire convicts me!)

Why is it that the Lord chose passionate people as the leaders of his church? He chose Peter. He was clearly a hothead, but his first instincts were almost always those of absolute zeal. “You are the Son of God!” He knew it in his gut, and it was his first instinct to let it out. The Lord chose Paul, who was dying to go all the way for a cause, and the Lord chose him because He knew that once Paul knew the truth, he would not let the church veer from their course, no matter the personal cost to his own reputation. When the Galatians got off course with legalism, he wastes no time in correcting them. After the niceties of the normal greetings, his first words are, “Oh you foolish Galatians!” Passionate zeal. A centering desire that sometimes bypasses courtesy.

So, I am looking deep into the eyes of my teenager, and remembering the fires that gave me life. I am listening to Keith Green. I am remembering college students crammed into an old van, driving 24 hours to do beach witnessing in Fort Lauderdale. Witnessing to whomever the Spirit brought my way. Date nights with Jesus, letting him be the Great Pursuer of my life, and loosing the hope that there would be another…. I am stirring up my First Love.