Chutzpah!

chutz·pah

  http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/d/g/speaker.swf

A word from the Hebrew

1. unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall. 2. audacity; nerve.  3. shameless audacity; impudence.

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The essence of “chutzpah” has been described as the man who murders his parents, and then throws himself on the court because he is now an orphan. (At least that is what I have heard.) Chutzpah is most often found when things seem unattainable. It is an intelligent response to things that are ugly and desperate, and yet somehow making them available. And it is typically and completely “out-of-hand.” It seems to step-up when things are bleak, and you make certain things negotiable again.

It’s like healing and deliverance are stored on the top-shelf.  Chutzpah goes and comes back with a ladder.  It simply will not be dissuaded or denied.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16, ESV

There is the special need for a definite form of chutzpah here. We “get close.” And then we push closer. And we are totally beyond our place and status. But all we can see, is the “mercy and grace.” So because we see such wonders, we audaciously step into His presence.

“So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.”

Heb. 10:19-21, MSG

I must admit, my preference is this– I just don’t like people with chutzpah. They seem arrogant, and I distrust arrogance. I don’t like it, and it is hard for me to see it as a virtue. But as I read the Word, I discover that the people of true faith seem very conceited. They swagger in, and will receive all (and more) of what they request (or demand.)

All of there behavior seems smug and superior to a sceptical heart. And yet I must reflect on all those in the Word who were outrageous, who stepped totally out-of-line. Jacob who wrestled. Moses who negotiated. Esther who persuaded. The adulterous woman who anointed. The leper who begged. There are quite a few others, we can find. They all were “cheeky” and dauntless.

What role does “chutzpah” have in our personal walk? Should we step out into this faith that is inherently susceptible to our incredible demands?  It is outrageous that we should demand an entrance into the presence of the Most High. And then when we finally stand in this place, we insist on complete and total forgiveness. Now that, dear friends, is a chutzpah kind of  arrogance!

If we should be “chutzpah-believers” we need to know the promises in the Bible. That alone will be the only place we can stand. Our faith must exclusively be based on what God has proclaimed in the Word. To come forward without a promise is very foolish.

In the Gospels we will find a blind man whose name was Bartimaeus. He steps up and clearly insists on a healing. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Jesus turns at this act of chutzpah. “What would you have Me do for you?” There is a profound audaciousness in his reply. “Heal me!”

As believers, sometimes we simply take the “humble route.” But if you want God, then you must step up, be bold and take what you need from Him. It seems that our Father insists we enter His presence quite “boldly.”

Over and over, we read of Bible characters who pronounced that boldness was an incredible virtue. But faith at its essence simply will not conform to any other definition. Faith insists that we be audacious and bold, way beyond any logic or reasoning. They might think we are quite outrageous, but we know that we are only being faithful.

To Be Despised by All, but God

I’m working my way through Ezekiel in the Old Testament, and before that I was reading Jeremiah. These are challenging books to read and to apply to our daily lives. Here and there is a nugget with direct – and easy – application, but I think these books are there for a much bigger purpose. The Old Testament prophets show us what is important to God. As I read, I find that God is concerned with two things:

  1. That His people trust in Him, and not in idols of their own making. This seems reasonable, since He alone is trustworthy. An idol made of stone or gold – or as we often trust in these days, of paper in the form of money and stocks – cannot protect us or provide a sure and trustworthy future. Only God can do that.
  2. That His people care for the “widow and the orphan,” that is, the less fortunate of society who are in need of a helping hand. This seems reasonable, too, since those of us who have been blessed should not find it a burden to bless others in return.

These are simple principles. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus echoed these two principles when He answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV).

And yet the prophets were hated and ridiculed for telling the Israelites that they would suffer and were suffering exile and death, war and famine, because they failed to follow these two simple principles. Instead of loving and trusting the God who had seen them through so much and protected them, they trusted in idols and the ways of their neighbors. Instead of loving their neighbors and caring for the downtrodden, they cared only for their own gain and gluttony. The Israelites were warned over and over by the prophets. I believe that the message of the prophets – that these two principles are paramount – is just as relevant for our world today as it was for ancient Israel.

The other day I received this wonderful quote in my Quotemeal email from Heartlight.org. I believe it illustrates not only the struggle the Old Testament prophets faced, but also the struggle those who trust in Christ alone for salvation and seek to share His expectation that we love our neighbors with the world face today.

To be forged upon the anvil of God’s purpose, to be at once His hammer, His tongs, and His molten iron; to hear words that rend the heart, see visions that pierce the chest; to be emptied like an urn, again and again and again until one desires only rest, only an end to the refilling — and to know one cannot live without the refilling. To be given words that one dare not speak, and to feel those words churning and boiling in the belly until one must speak them aloud, or die. To be despised, soon or late, by everyone except Adonai — and to desire it so, while hating it. This is to be a prophet.
— Thom Lemmons

I’m not suggesting that I am a prophet, but there have been times in my life when I was compelled to speak, or to write, words I did not wish to say or write. I have had words churn and boil in my mind and in my heart, felt the fear of saying or writing them, but had to push through that fear and let those words fly and land wherever God desires.

Just writing that last paragraph makes it seem all so dramatic, but really it just is. Sometimes I don’t push through the fear and I fail to share the words that are on my heart. Although I have not yet died as a result, a small part of my spiritual growth does whither. Perhaps my faith would be stronger and more souls would have been saved if I had always spoken up.

But, in the end, I know that God loves me and knows I am being sanctified daily, though sometimes more slowly than I would like.

Linda’s blog is at http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/.  Please check out all she has to say.  Linda tells me that it is absolutely guaranteed to bless, or your money back!

Becoming a Truthful Person

“Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.”  John 14:6, NCV

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As we travel through this amazing life, we’ll experience so many things.  We engage every kind of scenario.  Much of it is good, but some will be bad.  When my Mom would give me medicine, she would often mix it with sugar.  But I could still taste the bitter, even with the added sweetness.

We have come to the place where we must swallow the truth.  We are learning to see that truth must be accepted.  We are brought to a place where we must take the truth in, and become true people.  The Word is the place where we start to assimilate what is real and true.  We are confronted “point blank” by what is real and trustworthy.  Falsehood flakes off us, and we begin to bask in the solid and eternal.

We are supposed to become people of the truth.  What is false should have no real business with us.  It is alien to the believer in Jesus.  It is a gear that no longer “syncs” in our mechanism.  We only mesh with the truth from this moment on.  We have been altered and we now see things from a brand new perspective.

We belong to the truth.  It is who we are, and nothing should distract us.  So much however assaults us, and we must focus pretty much exclusively on the things we know are authentic.  Our faith is to be bona fide and true blue.  There should be not the  slightest hint of duplicity.  We must avoid the trap of becoming fraudulent to our generation.

Each of us must accept the truth.  About ourselves, and about the unfolding of this life, about the reality of evil and salvation.  The presence of Jesus turns life upside down.  The things that were on the bottom have now moved to the top. Everything has been tilted.  It’s not surprising that we have issues as we try to sort things out.

I want to be a truthful person.  Lies and half-truths are fluent in my world.  I become inured to what is real, as I choose the lie.  And the amazing thing, is when I lie, the other person seems to know it on some deep level.  I suppose I am a terrible liar, and my attempt at sincerity only makes it worse.  I think I could make several million dollars if I could only teach people how to lie better.

Truth must become an intimate friend.  We need to be guided by what is real and sincere. “Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23.  There has to be a firm grip on what is true, and certainly we cannot barter it away.  Christians are to be truthful, even in a world that isn’t.

 

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