Thursday, October 11, 2012

where the true power of the Spirit is seen

David Powlison:

I find myself weary of dramatic hyperbole in descriptions of the ideal Christian life. Extreme! Radical! Passionate! Awesome! Edgy! On fire! Dramatic!

I can understand the emotional appeal of such hyperbole. After all, who wants to live half-baked, mediocre, listless, dull, bland, and boring?! But the opposite of listless is not necessarily all fired up. Our faith contains a wonderfully curious surprise.

For starters, I don’t think many of us are capable of sustaining the adrenaline level. If you did manage to sustain your passion for a week, a year, a decade, it bears pondering whether the wider culture’s obsession with extreme adventure and radically awesome hyperbole might have infiltrated your operating system with a virus. If the passion ebbs, is what really matters lost and gone?

Or does it mean that it’s time to grow up?

Consider the graces that God steadily works to produce in us. They are certainly different from what we naturally gravitate to. In that sense, his purposes are Extreme! Radical! On fire! Exceedingly beyond all you can ask or even imagine! Glory, glory, hallelujah!

But then again, the Holy Spirit seems on fire to produce a life afire with rather unfiery things. His view of what is significant cuts Awesome! down to size (while being the farthest thing from dull). He is forming in you things that are good for the long haul. Good for times when your feelings are marked with pain or loneliness. Good for days or months or years of perplexity and struggle. Good for the small deaths of old age and then for dying. Good for helping others going through the same troubles...We long for dramatic action...But right now we need the good graces to carry us through all that happens until the Day when dramatic finally happens once and for all.

Consider a baker’s dozen of graces that are set on fire with the odd fire of God’s purposes. Ponder each one for a moment.

Constructive candour
Bearing one another’s burdens
Sense of need and weakness
Reliance on another

Not one of these sets off conspicuous fireworks. But these are worth more than anything else you could ever desire. Jesus lived this baker’s dozen of good graces. He is making you into this image.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

Jane said...

Thanks for posting this, Jean. I think its something that needs to be said over and over again, especially when it comes to considering one of the three 'c's in training people for ministry - that is, 'conviction'. I think conviction as a very important category, but I am tired of people thinking and saying that this looks like the dramatic extremes Powlison writes about here. Can't someone just be thoroughly convinced that Jesus is coming back and we need to tell people about him without it looking like the kind of dramatic we see from rock star preachers?