Thursday, April 24, 2008

Not being conformed

The world is too much with us...as Shakespeare said. I think it was Shakespeare.
The holy spirit through St Paul said, Be not conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

I'm amazed how much the world works against the Bible. Many young kids nowadays have been trained to see anger and wrath as some kind of a great emotion. They have this attitude about "she didn't respect me." Dang, kid! You're a kid! You have to earn respect. Why be so angry? Why is anger seen as the mark of adulthood? The Bible tells us that anger is foolishness.

Some extreme Freudian psychologist likes telling us that we should look into the darkness of our souls or that we should not be in denial. The Bible tells us not to look too much into that dark place but to forget those things which lay behind and we should look ahead with vision.

Christians also are wrong-headed sometimes. Often they tell us to behave in a certain way. But those ideas don't come from the Bible but from some weird sense of class and propriety. Heck, if Paul can whine about Alexander the coppersmith doing him much evil...and if St John can gossip about the church leader who "liked having the preeminence" among church leaders. Heck, I'm not Paul or John but it shows that they allowed way more honesty than many of those Christians who tell a person not to complain about the harm caused by another person.

But to my point: health--

In the United States, fear of one's health falling apart and eating in order to live is considered the height of responsibility. If one isn't afraid of getting cancer, for instance, one is not considered mature. If one isn't trying to eat the "right things" in order to keep healthy one is seen as being immature and shallow. But the Bible tells us Fear Not. Let not your heart be troubled. Do not lean to your own understanding. Heck, in my own life I have seen that often the world's idea of truth is just not true at all. What the world considers safe is often very unsafe indeed. Fear, for instance, has caused stress...and stress oppresses the immune system...and often leads to death.

The Bible tells us that we should war a good warfare..by remembering our past victories, by remembering the prophecies given to us, and by holding on to the word of God. Christian warfare is not the Crusades but it is the war within the mind. It's the good fight of faith. I think about some weird stuff that have happened to me...and they help me to see how truly odd the world is.

I think of the Wise woman in the Bible whose son died. Folks kept asking how her son was. She didn't tell them the matter. I think of Jesus who told his disciples that Satan was nearby and he was going to be careful with what he said. I think of the angel Gabriel who shut up Zacharias' mouth so Zacharias' negativity and unbelief wouldn't affect Elizabeth's pregnancy. I think of Joshua leading the people of Israel around Jericho...in silence..because God told them he had already won the victory. (If they had spoken, would they have been asking themselves doubtful questions?) I think of Jesus who did his best not to say "Lazarus is dead" when his disciples asked him how Lazarus was. Also when Jesus healed the man outside of Bethsaida and told him not to go back inside the town because hanging around folks who didn't believe in healing wouldn't have been good for the man. I think about the time Jesus said to his disciples, "The time is coming for me to die soon and I won't be talking any more about this because the prince of this world comes." All he needed was for more and more of his disciples to be talking about "Crucifixion shall never happen to you." There is a whole lot of careful speaking and careful non-speaking in the Bible. There are also situations where God shows us that we should call those things that be not as though they were. God called Gideon, "Though mighty man of God" when Giden was pretty wimpy. He renamed Simon (reed) "Peter" (a rock) because -- let's face it!-- Reed is a pretty wimpy name. Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and we should learn to call those things that be not as though they were. And yeah, Jesus wasn't EVEN kidding when he said we would have to account for every idle word.

I would have found it hard to believe that speaking God's word against a situation was true...except that one night I had a major major ear-throat attack. I knew a cold was coming on. Every October when I went outside without covering my neck I'd get the scratch ears/throat thing. And then I'd be down with a nasty cold which led to Bronchitis and me being in bed for two weeks. That night I decided that no matter what I would not say "ouch, I think I'm getting a cold." Small decision. And what a battle that was. One never knows how tough it is to conquer a temptation until one has actually conquered it. The person who has given in to a sin cannot truly understand it as well as the person who has battled that sin and never conquered it. (Yay, Jesus!!!!!! Our great high priest who knows how much energy it takes to not sin!!!) So there I was... all I wanted to do was say, "I'm in pain. My throat is hurting me." But I had promised myself I would not speak such a word. Tears welled up in my eyes. I started to say "Ouccchhh, my throat!" but caught myself in time to say "Ouuuu Cheeesus I love you! You are my healer." Honestly. But I knew that I didn't want to get the bronchitis and I was gonna try to do this word of faith thing. At one point I was in so much pain and so wanted to say, "I think I have a cold" that I got very angry at God. How dare he make the world like this? How dare he create the kind of world where I couldn't relieve my internal stress by saying "ouch!" Kid you not. I hated God soo much. I felt so deprived of my desire, my need, to complain. I finally fell asleep...in pain. The next morning I woke up and the pain in my throat was gone. That was six years ago now. And since that battle I have not gotten a cold from going outside without my neck covered. And whereas I would get the mean bronchitis yearly and suffer I have only gotten one cold in all that time.

So yeah, I have proof that not conforming to the world and living by God's word...does indeed transform one's life. Ah, folks! I could tell you stories...all true! -C
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