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Monday, December 23, 2013

Reeds Swayed by the Wind

John the Baptist

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT)

After John’s disciples left, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. “What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? (Luke 7:24 NLT).

When it comes right down to it, whose opinion do you care about more—God’s or people’s? How does that show? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1372).

An essential resource garnered though faith is power—the power to stand firm in whirlwinds of opinions. Controversy is certainly not unique to our time, but all sorts of communication now keep diverse and conflicting opinion forever swirling about us. None of us can afford to be “a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind.” If we were such a reed, we would continually be in turmoil regarding our identity—in the last analysis we would have no personal identity, no personal integrity.

So then, we must decide what will be our firm foundation. It involves a process through which we determine what is negotiable and what isn’t. If everything is negotiable, then we are without conviction. If nothing is negotiable, we become mendacious and cruel. So the question is on what can we build conviction? Mankind has occasionally sought salvation in some sort of ideology—some “ism” –that which is the “in thing” and “cool” in one epoch quickly dissipates in another. This is where the love of God comes in; for it is truly foundational, not superstructural. When you consider all other alternatives, what merits this essential strength? Though the love of God is basic and determinant, it is by nature spirit. Thus it bestows great freedom. In a real sense spirit is comparable to tone. That is, what you say is less important than the tone (spirit) in which you express it. For example, “Have a great day” can range in meaning bestowed by tone (or spirit) from “I wish you well” to “Go to Hell.” Thus we see in many ways meaning derives not from tangibles but from intangibles.

Sooner or later the world will come around to belief in the bedrock fundamental of God’s love. The reason is that through trial and error all else will end in failure and despair and a nagging angst—for true human freedom is only possible through the spirit of love. The major difference between believers and nonbelievers is the gulf that divides ultimate belief in transient expendables from ultimate belief in eternal nonexpendables.

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