Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Limping souls

A common sight here in Brazil continues to be people with seriously deformed limbs, especially deformed legs. Many of these people live the daily drama of moving around in a country that is just beginning to take seriously the needs of people with physical handicaps. It is gratifying to see the Brazilian government address this issue with special busses and ramps being built in all public buildings.
Great progress is being made and these people can now move freely in their own country.

The sad reality is that many of these deformities could have been corrected when these limping adults were children. In the USA or in Europe we see far fewer of these kinds of deformities in adults because of corrective surgery for children. Thank God it will not be long until we see fewer deformities here in Brazil.

As a pastor I should have been trained to see deformities of the soul, but I was mainly taught to run with the runners. Today I see how Christians are limping internally and spiritually.

For the most part churches have been very, very slow to address the issue of Christians who limp through the Christian life. Churches have been slow because we have had a tendency to think little can really be done. How sad and how unnecessary. Christian limping can be cured.

In the book of Hebrews we read that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword and it can divide soul and spirit or joints and marrow. (Hebrews 4:12) The soul is described here as being like joints. The spirit is described as being like marrow. The soul is what limps in the improperly formed soul of a believer. The spirit is connected to Jesus at new birth and it gets immediate rest at conversion. The soul on the other hand needs careful treatment in the presence of Jesus in order to stop limping.

Here is how I see this working. There are three major joints in the soul---Mind, Emotion, Will. Let's let the human head represent the mind, the thorax represent the emotions and the legs represent the will. When the mind and emotions (head and thorax) are not properly aligned and in agreement there is a pronounced "limp" in the will. We cannot act out what we think when what we feel is different. We limp and cannot stop limping because our mind and emotions are in conflict.
This is why theological education is never enough to produce the fruit of the Spirit. The emotional response is critical to any action of sustained love.

Let's say I know in my mind I should forgive someone. I know this in my mind but my emotions don't agree. I go ahead and try to forgive but I end up limping through the process of forgiving. My forgiveness looks forced and difficult instead of natural and flowing.

When Jesus invites us to join him in His yoke in Matt. 11:28-29 he is inviting us to stop limping. He invites us to discover what a soul at rest is like and what it can do in the visible world. He is inviting us to learn to think and feel together with Him so we can walk the walk without limping. If the Christian life is forced and hard, then it is time to get in the yoke and let Jesus align the soul.

It is time the church took notice of how many limping Christians there are in every congregation. We must teach people to abide 24/7 with Jesus or they will continue to think one thing, feel another and do their best to limp by. Christian living that is reduced to church attendance, Bible reading and tithing is easily attained by limping Christians. Living the rest of life without a limp is what the sermon on the mount describes.

Every time I see people here in Brazil limping along I imagine how hard it must be for them to cross streets, catch a bus or buy groceries. If the government would offer a plan for each one of them to be cured at a certain price, I would sign up and pay for it just to see one less person limping.

How sad it is that Christians still limp. The price for all was paid by One and He is ready with the cure.

Take people to Jesus and get them in the yoke.
Teach them to abide and they will stop limping. I did! They can, too, and so can you.


oyer said...

Pastor Bud,
This is so true and thank you for sharing. I am studying about the guy on the "Mat" and how His friends carried him and lowered him down through the roof to see Jesus and he was healed. Since we all have 'Mats", we all need friends to be "Out of the Box "friends and because they were, he was healed!!! and we can help others be healed by carring their Mats! Not always easy but it comes with abiding in Him.

bud mccord said...

You have it right. We will all live forever dependent on the constant love and satisfaction that comes from another. Because of His perfect and constant presence we can learn to love without limping. I pray my love will be more and more constant just like His. It is great to share with you what you are discovering and we are discovering as well. God bless!