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Going to the fight (Part I)

"Let not your heart be troubled..." (John 14:1, 27). Am I then hurting Jesus by allowing my heart to be troubled? If I believe in Jesus and His attributes, am I living up to my belief? Am I allowing anything to disturb my heart, or am I allowing any questions to come in which are unsound or unbalanced? I have to get to the point of the absolute and unquestionable relationship that takes everything exactly as it comes from Him. God never guides us at some time in the future, but always here and now. Realize that the Lord is here now, and the freedom you receive is immediate.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (21 April, "Don't Hurt the Lord")


That's convicting and encouraging at the same time. Love that.

Of our current roster, only Jeremy was unable to attend Community Group last night. It felt great to be together with them. We studied Psalm 64. I asked them to wrestle with the fact that David never prays to understand his enemies; does this make him some kind of ignorant brute? By our standards, probably yes—when most of us face conflict, this is among the most highly-regarded responses. Many of us were brought up to believe that understanding the depths of another's heart is the key to reconciliation. Yet David, who clearly understands that his enemies' hearts are indeed deep (v. 6), petitions God for protection and judgement instead. Is he just ignorant?

A proposition in David's defense: he is completely identified with the purposes and Kingdom of God, particularly in his prayers. These enemies have set themselves against God and against David as His representative. That's not the kind of conflict most of us regularly encounter. This begs the question: why?

Even though we may be willing to give lip service to it, many of us don't functionally believe God's Kingdom has enemies like this, and if we do, we can only conceptualize them on a spiritual plane, not in flesh and blood. Yet when my group was pressed, we all admitted that we believe people like this do exist today; Janie brought up the fact that oppression and injustice continue to be rampant in our world. I submitted that, regardless of what we might be tempted to think, Christians must believe that God's Kingdom (and we as its representatives) is opposed by this world—Jesus notes that the world hates believers in His prayer for them (John 17:14-15), and if we don't believe that what Jesus prayed to the Father was true, we need to bag the whole thing.

So if the Kingdom has enemies of flesh and blood, and we as Christians are not coming in contact with them, where are we? Far from where David was. Though he was no stranger to sin—indeed, in him we see God's power and grace through a lifetime of mistakes—in prayer, his identification with God's Kingdom took precedence over his cramped personal dramas. Many of us are exactly the opposite. David never hesitated to ask for what he needed (in fact, much of what he asks for offends our sensibilities), but what he needed was very different, in large part because he was on the front line of the battle.

We have established that this battle continues. Where are we? Many of us don't know what it means to have enemies in this way because our lives are not actively identified with the Kingdom of God.

Comments

I think I remember you saying that this sort of thing had come up before in your Community Group before, and most of the members were unwilling to look seriously at the idea that we really are engaged in battle in this life. It sounds like they were more open to the idea this time?
I still got looks as if I were from another planet, but Scripture doesn't let any of us off the hook (and neither does the reality of living in this world). The Spirit is at work on all of us, and that's where I need to seek peace when the disconnects happen.
Sometimes I wonder about the people in my life who act on behalf of my enemy... How do I treat a person (let me just use a real life for-instance so I'm not too muddled in what-ifs) who I've known since I was 10.. she's like a sister and I have a real love for her. She loves me in the way that she is able, but I find myself feeling beaten up when I'm done talking to her.

She is an enemy of Christ in her actions and her speech and every year that she grows in age she becomes uglier and uglier with the enemies lies. I cannot talk to her about God and even telling her what He's doing in my life (without reference to her responsibility to Him at all) she gets defensive and stops listening to me.

My impulse is to never call her and to avoid contact with her because it seems that our interaction only brings me down and never opens her heart or eyes.

Is that a lie of the enemy and I should continue to fight on for her? Or is it now turning into a fight against her?

I know this is slightly off of your topic, but I've been talking to God about her lately and I really respect your perspective.
When I get the space (time, energy, clearer mind and heart), Part II of my thoughts hit on this area a bit.
I found this entry because you and I both have senor misterioso on our interests list, and I have to say this is the first live journal entry (apart from my brother's) I've ever read that actually ministered to me. I love the way God chooses to speak to us and this was a fresh drink of water. Thanks for your openness and I'm gonna add you as a friend if that's cool.

This lifts my spirits. You are so added, and not just because of Señor Misterioso.
HAAA!! I love Busey.

Oh and Thanks :)
May I distribute this post to the members of my Bible study? We will be covering the end part of Ephesians next week, and this (you're right) brings up a part of the war that we don't want to think about.
Please feel free; I'd be honored.
Hopefully God will be honored, too. :-D
Thank you!!

A psychological perspective?

I feel a bit sacrilegious to even suggest this, but a recent conclusion I came to as I read some of David's passionate cries ran something like this: I think he was a different kind of person than most of us are, not in worth or value or talents, but rather that he was a very passionate person who felt every thing deeply and had a very strong sense of ingrained justice. Thus, whatever he felt, he felt it to the extreme: he wanted his enemies dead, destroyed, desecrated; life was wonderful, blessed, perfect. The angry emotions in and of themselves are not sinful; they're a part of the person David was. How he handled them, of course, was of vital importance. As a passionate individual, he was bent towards impulsive and, on a certain notable occasions, sinful actions based on feelings. Yet God used this passion, which He had no doubt placed within this Israeli king, to lead those complacent back to Himself. So to make a long story short (too late), David was himself given to an impulsive nature, and since the Psalms were the equivalent of his diary, they include his reactions to life uncensored, whether totally appropriate or not. I want to be that real.

Feel free to correct me if you see any anachronisms in what I just said. It's late, and I'm tired; who knows what might happen?

Re: A psychological perspective?

Interesting. Playing with this proposition, does it tell us anything about God that He used David to write the major chunk of His people's prayerbook?

I'm fascinated by the glimpse David's psalms give us into his persona and life; it's a little like getting to read bits of his LiveJournal. But the other side of the Psalms is that they are holy. Israel prayed them for thousands of years (through this day), and so does the Church. Whatever else we may glean from them, this is God's primary intent for the Psalms. When Jesus prayed, we have every reason (and support both historical and Scriptural) to believe the Psalter provided much of the form of His prayers. This becomes pivotal in Part II of what I want to write.

I'm not sure if I'm agreeing, disagreeing, or none of the above; it's just another perspective: while the Davidic psalms may give us some inference about what David was like, all of the Psalms are God-breathed to tell us who God is—they form the root of how God teaches us to relate to Him.

(I'm excited to write Part II; I just need to be in the right frame of mind and heart.)