The pendulum is swinging
"A narrow notion of loyalty as a blank cheque is itself
part of the problem" Ivan Snook.
As a father, the last thing I want from my children, my flesh
and blood, is blind loyalty. Loyalty, which while it may be motivated by
something completely untrue, remains frighteningly real and true to them...meaning
they relate to me from this position of involuntary powerlessness. For example,
if my children obey me only because of a belief that if they are naughty, Dad
will run away and leave them...their actions of obedience may be outwardly
gratifying to me, but inwardly their motivation of insecurity and fear are
A narrow notion of loyalty really is 'as a blank cheque'...without
value -– unredeemable, the vital details not filled out. I have begun to see
that in Jesus family, not all secrets open up to academic wisdom. God's
kindness is not determined by our understanding, formulae or efforts. If we can
align our thinking to Gods perspective, we can 'know the things which are
freely given to us of God'. As we know -– the word of God without the Spirit
of God is as a blank cheque...years of religious activity without any evidence
of God's involvement is proof of this fact. When we perform our service for
God -– what do we want out of it? Merit points, acceptance, leverage to have
our requests met...? Is our loyalty cloaked in religious activity or 'fresh
mana for today' relationship -– which also motivates us to do our work as
I've asked people "why did you give your life to Jesus"?
Some amazing answers come back. "To avoid hell, to please my parents, because
I couldn't carry on the way I was, I was sick, I was dying, I was lonely, a
last resort before I ended it all..." While all of these answers are valid
(because they are all true), the other part of the equation is that 'God was
calling us to Himself because He loved us - even before we recognised it'.
So, we may have come to Him as the result of a crises or need BUT HE CAME TO US
for an entirely different reason. Far more personal, far more humbling, He knew
all about us and 'loved us'. I've always thought it would be sad getting
to Heaven, just in time for the welcoming speeches, being rushed onto the main
platform and asked to proclaim my glorious testimony: 'Why I chose Jesus as my
saviour'. Angels poised ready to break into celestial worship as I utter my
story of thanksgiving "...Uh...mmm...well, I didn't want to go to hell".
It is true that initially a 'catalyst of fear' has
motivated many peoples' desire to 'be saved'. My father, Barry Smith has
been accused regularly over the years of scaring people into the Christian faith
through his end time emphasis. Here's the good news. People come to know
Christ Jesus for all sorts of reasons, including very selfish ones (not wanting
to go to hell) -– and over time, upon receiving an understanding of the 'bigger
picture', can develop healthier motivations. 2 Peter 1.
A lot of us view God as a being who will not tolerate
mistakes or make allowances for human frailty. I notice Scripturally that God
punishes for rebellion, not mistakes! Psalm 103:13-14 "Like as a father
pitieth His children, so the Lord pities them that fear Him. For He knows our
frame; He remembers that we are dust". My son Daniel has the task of lighting
the coal range every morning. There has been the odd time he has slept in and
failed his simple mission. He seems to know that Dad will be asking why the fire
isn't going, but doesn't fear a screaming performance or a spanking over the
issue. Why not? My wife and I do not want our children to follow us out of blind
fear. If however, he developed a slackness whereby he regularly failed his
simple mission - a gesture of rebellion to my will, he would experience swift
and effective discipline.
In summary: God doesn't want His children manipulated by
misguided notions of loyalty. He requires one thing from us, dependency,
like that of an honest child. From here, our relationship with Him develops into
something very special, even like a partnership...from where we can operate in
true faith and trust.
After watching 'Christian cloning' for years (spending
good time as a clone myself), I think it is time we yielded to Jesus, not
mindsets. Jesus is the gate or door by which we enter the Kingdom of God. He is
the 'narrowest point' on the road to God the Father (John 10;John 14:6). The
bible is abundantly clear that we must come to God via Jesus -– the door. From
there, we can think outside of the box of institutionalised Christianity...it's
not fighting against God to think differently from others. He created you unique
for a purpose...
"Let God (not religious notions) fill in the details of
your cheque correctly today -– be free to grow in His grace".