The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.
Mark 4:28, NLT
This concept of physical growth is now applied by Jesus to us. He has cultivated us, and we must insist on a maturation. We sprout, and extend ourselves in a growth that means, ‘there is now life’ here. Life is not mechanically rigid. It has nothing to do with plastic, steel girders or cement. It is emphatically not a concrete issue. It is life! It has a very different definition.
Jesus takes a seed, that seed splits open. A green leaf pushes through, and it is growing! Put into the ground, and watered, it will have life! It is living. This all seems easy and obvious now. “Of course,” we say. “I understand that.” But when Jesus taught this (even as simple as it is) the implications were profound. The earth seemed to shake when He declared this truth.
There was a rigidity to the spiritual world in Jesus’ day.
This principle of life, and growth, and greenness was not at all descriptive of Pharisees. The legalistic and cold hardness was unmoving, unrelenting and unyielding. For many, this is a really major issue–the spiritual life was supposed to be have more organic freshness, then this.
But a living life of spiritual growth should be more than that; it was meant to be energizing and life-giving. I remember seeing a mannequin in a mall (it was dressed in nicer clothes than I was.) But although this display was in human form, it was definitely inanimate. Going up to it, I tried to talk with him. I wanted to explain things of the Spirit, but he just stood there, staring. He was decidely devoid of real life.
Ridiculous? Perhaps. But having eternal life is profound. We are like department store mannequins that have been made to really live. And there is a growth that now takes place. There is a supernatural, organic development–its this that should really infuse us with the life of the Spirit. Our life is constantly and wonderfully changing, it should infuse us with a joy and elation we can’t keep a lid on.
“Nothing in the church makes people in the church more angry than grace. It’s ironic: we stumble into a party we weren’t invited to and find the uninvited standing at the door making sure no other uninviteds get in.
Then a strange phenomenon occurs: as soon as we are included in the party because of Jesus’ irresponsible love, we decide to make grace “more responsible” by becoming self-appointed Kingdom Monitors, guarding the kingdom of God, keeping the riffraff out (which, as I understand it, are who the kingdom of God is supposed to include.)”
— Michael Yaconelli
Often there can be a frustrated hostility simmering just below the veneer of a religious person. It can be seen in sudden outbursts of irritation that seems to come from nowhere. It is often encountered when they feel the ‘spigot of grace’ has been open too long, too much water is being used, and the people are getting a little wild in showing their enthusiasm. “They’re acting like ungodly pagans.”
Regulating the watering hole becomes a compulsion, and a necessary work of the “Church.” Jesus’ love is for all is a confirmed fact, but we must have some standards of decorum and appropriate levels of conduct and respect. “We the keepers-of-the- spigot are called to take some responsibility in this,” we end up saying.
Celebratory shouts of joy are simply not acceptable. Dancing in the mud is way ‘out-of-line.’ But there is an outrageous element to grace. It is preposterous and disturbing. It is untamed and wild, and not at all logical. “We definitely prefer the thinking side of our faith,” we say.
Judas rebuked Jesus as he was getting a foot massage from the ungodly woman. She had no business to be there in the first place. And secondly, she has just poured this incredible fortune on the feet of Jesus! Judas said, “way out-of-line!” But there is a irrepressible love that always pushes its way forward.
For those of us who have first experienced God’s love and grace we must keep an alert out for our hard hearts. First, He is in charge of how the water is utilized. Second, [and we MUST believe this] when a man or woman connect with the water, there can be spontaneous displays of joy!
We must change our thinking, e.g. repent, and insist that we ‘cease and desist’. Our attitude is not acceptable or true to the Spirit of Christ. We are the ones way “out-of-line” and we have not been good witnesses about his grace and love. We had better turn from this sin, and ask Jesus to free us again.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32