Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Christian’s ‘Noble Reserve of Bearing’

“But those who are noble make noble plans,

and stand for what is noble.”

~Isaiah 32:8 (Msg).

The word “noble” is otherwise helpful and generous in other more relaxed versions of this passage. Rev. Dr. A.W. Tozer also mentioned in one of his famous articles way back in 1946, which I have adapted for gender inclusivity purposes:

“Prophets of Christ will be serious people whose eyes look far; and though they may be meek and lowly as the Lord whom they adore, there will be about them a suggestion of royalty, a noble reserve of bearing that cannot be mistaken. And if there is hope for the Church before Christ returns, that how will lie with such people as these.”

So, now, with these foregoing as our commanding backdrop, let’s look at this concept of Christian nobility.

Christian Nobility

There is about this style of pure Christianity a hint of congruence and of holy stability. The believer is sold to Christ wholly and solely; no coming back to the old life. Okay, they’ll be fully invested in the world at large, but only to the point of reaching and stretching out their missions for God.

They’ll understand that to do this will mean a whole plethora of permeations of response in the midst of their dealing, but this is never spiritual compromise. There is a confident, humble certainty about them.

There is also that glorious hint, too, of the Proverbs 31 ‘noble character’ on display here. It is lofty without being pompous; it is royalty after all. But it’s also slavery to the Christ of the ages — the Saviour of the world. It’s the devoted slavery of a son or daughter. Only the genuine believer can address the tremendous tension that lies between royalty and slavery.

And they will; by the Holy Spirit that dwells deeply within their bosom.

This truly is our most important role, calling, purpose — call it what you will. It’s non-specific for a reason. God wants all of us first and foremost, without reservation, without condition. No matter the individual passions that turn us on, we’re first, God’s.

A Hint of ‘Mission

There is a fundamental urgency about all this — something we often don’t see and therefore fail to understand. This is a holy venture — life. We were born to live out the righteous life and nothing else, before humankind and God.

Do we take that issue — the very basis of faith — seriously?

In doing this, we will look far; we’ll be visionaries, but not aloofly so. Our head will be in the clouds of heaven with God; but our feet will be firmly set on earth, as we go about living the practical faith that wins and changes lives for Christ.

Of all people we should be virtuous people to a fault. We should be reliably trustworthy, committed to truth and lovers of grace, most entirely prepared to accede to all people — such to live after the Lord who has done this all.

We must live this noble reserve of bearing that cannot be mistaken.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Reference: Aiden W. Tozer, “A Plea for Christian Dignity” (from the Alliance Weekly, March 30, 1946) in Lyle W. Dorsett’s, A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A.W. Tozer (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Publishers, 2008), p. 184.

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