Close encounters of the Crabby Kind
Have you ever bumped into some folks who claim to be “Spirit Filled Christians” or “Born again,” but whose love-walk is a bit questionable or who’s “Fruit” seems to…not be quite ripe yet? Then, have you have wondered, “What’s up with that?”
Well, if you have met a “Crabby Christian” or two, it may be that you’ve encountered souls that might just be having a hard time holding to the Spirit that day or perhaps… they may not yet have had the advantage of learning about the process of transformation… for whatever reason. This could be due to the limits of their culture or maybe in the infancy of their attraction to Jesus, a “crabby or legalistic (rule-oriented rather than Spirit-led) preacher” got a hold of them and instilled in them some habits and attitudes before they had a chance to learn the “real deal.”
What is The Real Deal?
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” - Romans 8:14 (KJV)
Religious practices from any culture, absent a focus on the Spirit or absent a commitment to a life of mercy, compassion, and the development of “Fruit of the Spirit,” … are limited to the realm of remaining exalted cultural experiences, ministering mostly to the mind, to the intellect, and emotions.
So, church or "gathering place" activities alone, without seeking an ongoing connection with the Spirit of God, are not always an indication of spirituality or of what Jesus has for us. In other words, attending "services" somewhere or performing the duties of one's religion, does not guarantee that what will emerge, is a spiritualized, transformed soul, overflowing with loving kindness.
Meanwhile, there can be many reasons why some who call themselves Christians, do not represent the interests of Jesus very well. But this is not always entirely their fault if they have been mis-led by carnal theology or gotten hung up on semantics or half-truths “about” an experience of growth; while they may “have yet” to understand how to actually get started on that journey... moving from theories about a “new birth,” to actually engaging in a process of transformation, from the “seed stage” to the sprout, to the blade, and then to the “fruit.”
Starting with ourselves
If anyone happens upon this article and realizes as they read, that they have been through some “close encounters of the crabby kind” with certain “brothers and sisters” in the in Body, then by understanding what can happen to some folks…that is, by realizing how some people might have gotten side-tracked or lacked the opportunity to learn sound doctrine…well, we can all play a compassionate role in their recovery and/or ours, through prayer and by putting forth an engaging example… ourselves.
In so doing… this can be the most powerful form of “good medicine” available. Encouragement and patient teaching (especially by example) can happen even without an exchange of words. I have heard many stories about how a loving example on the part of a caring person was actually the one “thing” which inspired someone else to dedicate their life to God. Our quiet and humble countenance (or way of seeking the Spirit first before responding to situations), can speak volumes about what motivates us and of what we carry in our heart.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh; a good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things” - Matthew 12: 34-35 (KJV)
Minding our own spiritual business
It is possible to learn how to “discern” problem areas, with the help of the Spirit of God, without condemnation or judgment and still find the good in one another despite any perceived differences. I believe it all amounts to each one of us “minding our own spiritual business” or as Paul put it, “minding the Spirit.”
“Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."- 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 (KJV)
"Dying to the old" can represent a tough journey at times; at Message of the Lighthouse/Lighthouse Leadership In Action... we are committed to staying the course and sharing the journey. Let's keep each other in our hearts and prayers, so we can all "stand" and remain strong. Between the Spirit of God, the Mercy of God, and our deep commitment to the transformational process, we will see our way clear to the realization of the goal of salvation (total transformation of the soul.)
Ann M. Wolf - c 2010 - BMI - All rights reserved.