Bearing Down Broken

rock climber's hands. sandia mountains, albuquerque, new mexico.

We often come to our discipleship broken. We can’t pretend otherwise. We’re a bundle of inconsistencies, surrounded by fear and hubris. But the Lord is calling us to follow Him.

I’m convinced that the mentally ill, the rascal, and the loser are already half-way to repentance. We have nothing to offer anyone. And in quiet moments we understand our issues. We know we aren’t prime discipleship material.

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,”

1 Corinthians 1:26-28, NIV

Honestly, I’m just one of the foolish ways God shares His love. I make no claim to perfection. I’m throughly inconsistent. And I wish it was different.

“But God chose,” and we are the chosen. We’ve the ones selected to “shame the wise;” we are called to “shame the strong.” It seems that this is more than we can handle. We are not wired for this.

The Holy Spirit comes to fill us, and when we are full we can do this. We activate the cross and humble our pride– and doing this just makes me available for Him to use, as He sees fit.

You stand in an unbroken line; centuries of believers have proceeded you. You were called to the kingdom “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). We are right where God has determined for us to be. Chosen for this very moment.

Weakness, or smallness are your only qualifications. The Lord uses the broken. It’s time to bear down broken. We’re waiting for you to take your place.

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No Substitute for Fire

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

    Albert Schweitzer

“No erudition, no purity of diction, no width of mental outlook, no flowers of eloquence, no grace of person can atone for lack of fire. Prayer ascends by fire. Flame gives prayer access as well as wings, acceptance as well as energy. There is no incense without fire; no prayer without flame.”

  –E.M. Bounds

“Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”

 Charles Wesley

“For our God is a devouring fire.”

Hebrews 12:29. NLT

 

 

WWJD?

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Idol meat at market

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 1When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.”

“Others may, you cannot.” There are certain things that other believers are allowed to do that are forbidden for you personally. These are not the “biggies” like adultery, or murder (or anything in the flesh, see Galatians 5:19-21).

However, there are the relatively small things of individual conscience. They are the issues of personal preference. Sometimes a Christian has the liberty to smoke or drink a glass of wine. Since there are nothing specific in the Bible against these, some feel free to exercise a certain amount of liberty.

In Paul’s time, meat that had been offered up to idols was afterwards sold in the markets. Some believers would buy the meat; others stringently objected to this. Their faith wouldn’t allow this.

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. 25 Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?”

1 Corinthians 10:23-26, 29

I believe conscience is how we are meant to conduct certain decisions. We’re to always surrender our right to do something that might offend another’s principles. Their faith should never be weakened by your actions or behavior. At that point– it becomes sin.

“Idol meat” (code for things of “individual preference”) should never be a stumbling point for other believers. Some issues of conscience could be:

  • the theatre, ballet, dancing,
  • internet, reading material,
  • sporting events, parties
  • parades, arena performances,
  • movies, TV
  • Halloween, solstice observances,
  • smoking, chewing tobacco,
  • drinking wine or a beer, (but not drunkenness),
  • playing cards,
  • medications, mental health services,
  • rock music, Christmas, eating pork, etc.

Perhaps the real issue to grasp is the manner in which we’ll serve another brother’s faith. I believe that that is the core point. Often the conscience has to be trusted to become the guidance we seek in doing the will of the Lord.

I may have throughly confused you, I pray that I haven’t. Just keep in mind that your conscience should be “tuned in” to the Lord’s Spirit. It is not an infallible guide. Great questions to ask when your wondering if it is right or not:

  • Is it loving?
  • is it God-honoring?
  • is it going to encourage a brother or sister?
  • what would be right?
  • does it edify (build up)?

Follow the Lord’s lead, “WWJD?” It may sound corny, but there is something of value here.

Your brother, Bryan

 

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