May 6th Spiritual Enthusiasm


Reading Proverbs 6:1-35

In Proverbs so far there have been a number of terms that Solomon has used to express the idea of folly; a fool who is “rebellious” (1:7), a fool who is “stupid”, not in mental capacity but heart humility (1:22), a simple, easily led person (1:22) and a scoffer or mocker also verse 22. In Chapter 6:6 he introduces us to a new one, the sluggard or slacker, the lazy person. It’s easy to be lazy, at least for me, both physically and spiritually. We will spend time in the days to come thinking about physical laziness, but have you ever thought about spiritual laziness? One of my favourite books of all time is Mike Yaconelli’s “Dangerous Wonder”. My favourite quote in that book is this ….

“Episcopal priest Robert Capon named the first obstacle: “We are in a war between dullness and astonishment. ” The most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes, MTV, drugs, racism, sexuality, or school prayer. The critical issue today is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. The Good News is no longer good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore, He changes them into “nice people.”

If Christianity is simply about being nice, I’m not interested. What happened to radical Christianity, the un-nice brand of Christianity that turned the world upside-down? What happened to the category-smashing, life-threatening, anti-institutional gospel that spread through the first century like wildfire and was considered (by those in power) dangerous? What happened to the kind of Christians whose hearts were on fire, who had no fear, who spoke the truth no matter what the consequence, who made the world uncomfortable, who were willing to follow Jesus wherever He went? What happened to the kind of Christians who were filled with passion and gratitude, and who every day were unable to get over the grace of God? I’m ready for a Christianity that “ruins” my life, that captures my heart and makes me uncomfortable. I want to be filled with an astonishment which is so captivating that I am considered wild and unpredictable and … well … dangerous. Yes, I want to be “dangerous” to a dull and boring religion. I want a faith that is considered “dangerous” by our predictable and monotonous culture.” (“Dangerous Wonder” by Mike Yaconelli, Hodder & Stoughton 1999)

These words move me … And lead me to want to crush my spiritual laziness and embolden me to a life of Spiritual passion. Shane Clayborn challenges us, “We should be the most passionate people on the planet, enthused with passion. The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words ‘en’ and ‘Theos’, which together mean ‘in God’ the more we get into God the more passionate we become.” ( “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Clayborn, Zondervan 2006)

John writes …

“Jesus made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area …. ‘Get out of here! How dare you turn my Fathers house into a market'” John 2:15,16

For memorisation

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise! (Proverbs. 6:6 NIV 1984)

Prayer

Father, I ask that you would create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Lord fan into flame a passion for your name, break my heart for what breaks yours, show me what you love, how you love and who to love. Restore in me the joy of your salvation and please, grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Comments:

  • Classified says:

    This is all immensely helpful thanks Andy. You know I was reading what you said about spiritual mediocrity. For me the challenge is always to keep coming back to the simplicity that is in Christ. The enemy does a masterful job in getting me eating from the wrong tree, even after we have been reconciled to Him. I can end up being very busy and very happy to justify myself. Churches can be full of this kind of human behaviour – but to what cost? You’ve summed that up quiet nicely! Then God says “to him that does not work, but believes on Him that Justifies the ‘Ungodly’ … His faith is counted as righteousness” This is so so offensive to my flesh, but such good news to someone like me when I would just believe. I would humbly suggest that this is the simple, dangerous message dynamite that sets the Church on fire and turns the world upside down! I want to shout it from the rooftops!

  • Mary Dicker says:

    To be radical means going to the root of. So depending on who/what we are rooted in,decides our values, our behaviours. Last week I asked my 7 year old granddaughter to draw a tree including it’s roots. I then asked her to write on the roots those things, people, places that are important in making her the person she is. Alongside family members, she wrote in large letters, GOD, and then wrote, God is very important to me. ( A little child will lead them.)



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