Thursday, March 1, 2012

Faith That Moves Mountains.6

"As you live your life invigorated by the breath of God, the conflicts of this earth will be overcome by heaven's power."--Jesus

The next time you are sitting among a crowd of people try this: discreetly listen in on conversations around you.  Not to feed your need for gossip, mind you, but to get a sense of how many others, just like you and me, struggle with "DIS": dis-comfort, dis-ease, dis-ability, dis-illusionment, dis-approval, dis-harmony, dis-content, dis-order, dis-like.

Then listen to the solutions suggested for dealing with the things antagonistic to what would or should be a relatively satisfying existence:
  Moving away, getting a lawyer, finding a better doctor, working a second job, getting counseling, getting even, prayer, losing a few pounds, climbing the social/career ladder, getting a degree, having an operation, go shopping, buying gold, bankruptcy, divorce...

Much of our human energy and effort is output just to try to be rid of "DIS", don't you agree?  But whether we move away, get a divorce, change the shape of our nose, get a raise, lose ten pounds, find new friends, join twitter, or "court endless change" we still discover that we bring the trouble with us, still have poverty in our souls, still find happiness elusive and continue to mask the real cause of the trouble we struggle with.

As absurd as it may seem to those who have not yet figured out this fundamental fact, the true cause of every man's "DIS" is evil.  Moral evil, first of all, the inability to consistently do the right thing at the right time.  Evil in himself, his own sin, his own wrongness, his own un-rightness.  If that weren't enough, he must also deal with the evil in the ones he loves, or those at least he must put up with at work, play or neighborhood.

Watching a grandkid's show the other day I took note of a familiar chord that resonates in our culture, especially among the young.  When asked "what's been happening?" the teenaged actor explained: "Oh, you know, just out saving the world, ..."  We've subtley bought into the notion that if we can change the world our own problems will disappear!  President Obama, a self-proclaimed community organizer, has stated on several occasions his belief in "collective salvation"-the notion that groups not individuals must be "saved"- contributing to the illusion that our problems exist outside ourselves.  However well intentioned philantropists, government programs, or community organizations are the problem of evil in the world begins (and for the most part, ends) with me.  No problems can be cured in a family, community, race or nation except by being cured in the individual.

"The one cure for any organism is to be set right.  To have all its parts brought into harmony with each other...Rightness alone is cure. The return of the organism to its true self, is its only possible ease. To free a man from suffering, he must be set right, put in health; and the health at the root of man's being, his rightness, is to be free from wrongness, that is, from sin.A man is right when there is no wrong in him. The wrong, the evil is in him; he must be set free from it. I do not mean set free from the sins he has done: that will follow; I mean the sins he is doing, or is capable of doing; the sins in his being which spoil his nature-the wrongness in him-the evil he consents to; the sin he is, which makes him do the sin he does."

What did Jesus come into the world to do? The will of God: saving people from their sins-not from the punishment of their sins, the essential aid to repentance, but from their sins themselves, the paltry as well as the heinous, the venial as well as the loathsome. His whole work was and is to send away sin-to banish it from the earth, to cast it into the abyss of non-existence behind the back of God. His is the holy war; he came carrying it into our world; striving against sin; He is the captain of salvation to all who follow after Him, and they, freed themselves, fight and suffer for others. This is His enduring labor.

We cannot rid ourselves of our own sins, but we can set about sending them away; we can quarrel with them: all discontent, all fear, all coveting, all untruth, all resentment, all bitterness in word or thought, using a different measure on myself than another; sneering, boasting, conceit, indifference to any man whose service in any form I use; any desire to excel another, enjoyment at gaining by another's loss; recieving the smallest service without gratitude; using a tone of voice to jar the heart of another, a word to make it ache.

Begin at once to turn these and all such evil out of the house: the Lord is on his way to do his part in their final banishment. If we repent towards sending away our sins, the evil in us, we will recieve heaven's power to send them away indeed. The operant will to get rid of them will be baptized with a fire that shall burn them up. When a man breaks with his sins, then the wind of the Lord's fan will blow them away, the fire of the Lord's heart will consume them!

The cure in one person is the beginning of the cure for the family, community, nation and race!

(Adapted from George MacDonald, The Hope of the Gospel)