Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fighting the Effect of Stifling Unbelief

“And [Jesus] did not do many deeds of power there [in Nazareth], because of their unbelief.”

~Matthew 13:58 (NRSV [adapted]).

The title of the article is not a very attractive one in that on one really wants to talk about the aggressively ambivalent person who’s quietly vehement in their opposition to another and this due to envy—unless perhaps to gossip. This is the hometown craze that afflicts the many, to just about everyone, as they consider the ‘cousin’ better off in plight of their stead.

Such is life we suppose—it’s a competitive world.

But, in this for those afflicted is the non-commending effect on others that either stifles them or diffuses their passion.

The Quenching Effect

Paul says to the Thessalonians:

“Quench not the Spirit.”

~1 Thessalonians 5:19 (KJV).

This is the effect we have when we bring with us a critical spirit in the Presence of the Spirit within believers. Spiritual enthusiasm is seemingly impossible to maintain under these dour circumstances. That is unless the person in receipt of the dead-bat response is spiritually and emotionally mature in the moment and laughs within themselves for seeing the truth, going on possibly to a greater revelation despite the dispassionate envy; this by using the negative power to further motivate them.

And then some will decide that the power vested in them, in the name of God, is not purposed for this time or situation. God, for them, appears to have absented himself from these situations—therefore their drive and passion leaves too. And that’s okay.

If this were possible in Jesus, and the gospels tell us it indeed happened, it’ll happen with us too. Indeed, we’ve known it. Much more, we’re been at times implicitly party to the envy, producing the quenching of the Spirit in others. Nobody’s perfect.

This is meaningful to us as we consider being the ones who’ll be the source of others’ receipt, i.e. when we’re there with opportunities to encourage and recognise people, we should encourage and recognise people.

Being a Blessing Both Home and Away

Our challenge is clear and it’s set before us. Why are we threatened by a brother or sister who’s more promising, talented, younger or more successful than we are at this point in time? It certainly reveals our own lack.

Our spiritual reticence is threatening to quash and quench the Spiritual fire within these people who are on fire for God. Are we not then being the very agents of Satan at these times of our own spiritual inadequacy?

We instead have the opportunity to bless people whether we’re home or away.

This really means making the most of opportunities to encourage people and fan the flames of spiritual fervour and progress in people by being thankful for them and encouraging them whether we are giving or receiving, or whether we are feeling comfortable in blessing them or not.

We want to be people known for building blessing, even in the midst of circumstances where some are incredulous in their stifling unbelief—yes, ever ‘believers’.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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