June 20, 2011

Self-propelled

The atmosphere of faith orbits around a core of free will. A person’s freedom of choice is like helium inside the balloon of faith; if the helium wants the faith to expand, it will; if it doesn’t, it won’t.

Romans 12:3 says, “ . . . God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” and He watches to see what we choose to do with it.

There is something brutally specific about faith; it must be self-propelled or it is worthless.

“But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

Wow, those are strong words. I need to make sure I understand why this policy stands. I read this verse in context and it seems like a bit of a stretch for an analogy. Jesus and his listener were not discussing farming. So why did Jesus use the “hand to the plow” illustration?

To me, the hand to the plow visual conveys the following: by purposeful decision, a person initiates the commitment to strain forward in labor, with a mission in mind, in anticipation of a reward, under self-propelled strength . . . and then reconsiders.

Maybe the farmer rethinks the direction he is headed?

Maybe the strain of the labor is more than he anticipated?

Maybe the investment required to reap a harvest is too long?

It doesn’t matter what causes his head to turn back in the direction where he started. Whatever wins his focus, proves his loyalties, for both the plowing and the looking back are self-initiated actions. No one is in the field whipping him forward or pulling him backward. He makes the choice and the choice testifies of his sincerity. His sincerity, or lack of sincerity, makes him “fit” or unfit for the kingdom of God.

God demands to be the Lord of your life. No insincere religious gestures accommodate Him. A Lord means an absolute authority and implies obedience. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that our faith is uncompromisable, but God knows where the thin spots lie and He discloses them to make a way for our fortification.

Remember how Jesus corrected the Apostle Peter who vowed to die with him on the night of his arrest? Jesus informed Peter that he would deny him three times before the sun rose and the events occurred just as Jesus described.

My grandmother had a saying she liked to use, “People do what they want to do” when one of us would give her a reason for not coming to visit. Her comment always aroused an eye-roll from me as the avalanche of guilt descended. But I have grown to appreciate the truth in her comment. People DO make time to do what they WANT to do. If the farmer wants to plow, he moves forward in his mission. If he does not want to plow, then he looks back. The looking back speaks volumes about the content of his heart.

And that is where the Holy Spirit resides, in a man’s heart. He refuses to be an unwelcome visitor.

So what’s it going to be, self-propelled or unfit for the kingdom?

1 comment:

i like to picture... said...

Hi Dana. I thought this was interesting.

When I read the hand to plow portion, the first thought I had was that the act of looking back was so that one could to take in and feel contented on what one has accomplished thus far in life.

Perhaps there is a danger of becoming complacent... feeling like we've done so much already and that the work is finished.

The work is never finished.

Thanks for sharing your post!