It’s a cute little prayer…with tons of truth and arrows that should pierce. The election this week eliminated (should have anyways) any illusions of sweetness in our hearts. The anger, slander, outrage, fear and discouragement engendered by the election was not created by the election. It was simply unmasked by the process, not caused by it. In that, I see hope.
The devil loves deceit–and masks. He operates in the dark. Fighting an enemy you can not see is difficult and dangerous. The enemy is NEVER flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). We can’t fight what is ‘outside’ of us without addressing what is inside of us. The nastiness that spews from those who don’t wear the name of Christ is not as offensive as that which pours out of Christians. Slander, lies (even half-truths) and coarse jesting reveal yuck in hearts that is certainly not the indwelling Spirit of God. Colossians tells us not to ‘lie to another.’ When we claim Christ and His love–and speak out of our own convictions in an unloving way, we are lying about the very nature of God. We are collaborating with the devil in covering the glory of God which dwells within.
Grapes in a press pour out grape juice; olives pressed give forth olive oil. The election process was clearly a press that revealed evil within us that we still allow to rule and reign at certain times. Praise God, deliverance is in Jesus Christ!
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” Mark 7:21-23
May our hearts be broken for our own failures–and for those of others. It is encouraging that as the passage in Mark continues to unfold, we see that the humble pleading of one can deliver another. The Canaanite mother (one with a heritage of pagan idols) refused to be offended by the harsh resistance she met from Jesus. She humbly recognized His power and ability and asked for the demon that plagued her loved one to be removed. Jesus uttered no prescribed prayer, applied no magic formula. He simply said her faith opened the door for deliverance. May our eyes see our own need, refuse offense and our faith rise up to bring healing!
Oswald Chambers succinctly reminds us: “We are called to make disciples, not converts to our opinions.” Whether we caustically chastise the ‘stupidity’ and ‘evilness’ of another or simply chuckle at coarse conversation or pridefully contemplate our own wisdom, the image of our glorious Savior is obscured. Anytime our hearts (and the words that overflow from our hearts) do not exude love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, we are not showing the world what our Lord looks like. We are showing the world US. This world needs less of each of us…and so much more of Jesus Christ.