Weekly Thought – November 17. 2020
Fred worked hard all his life. He grew up in the home of a Baptist preacher in the mill district of North Nashville. He understood the relationship between effort and results. He didn’t live asking for miracles to “fill in the gaps” created by the wish ethic. He believed strongly in the work ethic.
The God of Process
I’m disturbed by the number of people who talk about God as a miracle worker. I believe in the miracles of the Bible. I believe that He is capable of miracles today. But I do not believe the majority of His work is done miraculously. All that He does have wonder and awe; but I am leery of those that use miracle I the sense of “I am special.” I have encountered young people who are eager to tell me they’ve had two miracles in the morning and are looking for another in the afternoon. Spiritual immaturity.
On the other hand, we have those who believe that everything can be done by devotion alone. By that I mean a verse of scripture and a rote prayer substitute for hard work. I believe in devotion; I practice devotion. Too often those who espouse this formulaic mindset come up to me with a very pious tone to tell me, “Brother Fred if you are in trouble, read Job. Tell me and I will put you on my prayer list.” I am thankful to be on prayer lists, but I don’t believe in this simplistic approach. I believe problems need to be analyzed and answers found. A sad example is my good friend whose “devotional” wife took away his medication needed for a serious stomach ailment telling him he just needed to pray more. I don’t believe God works that way.
The danger of making everything miracle based is that it is egocentric. Too many who lean on devotion are actually operating from denial and escapism. I am convinced they are looking for the product while ignoring the process.
Here are a few principles I find for process thinking:
1) We are positioned in grace, through faith; we share the glory of God by His gift.
2) We are to rejoice in sufferings for trials and many times fiery trials) will come. We don’t rejoice in anticipation, but in participation. Paul rejoiced as he shared in the sufferings of Jesus.
3) Suffering brings endurance. My Mother, who brought five boys out of the slums would say at family devotional time: “Be not weary in well doing, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not.” She was tired. She was doing constant work, even in ill health. But she was determined to bring the boys out of the slums. Let me say to you mothers: she paid a price for that, but even in today’s affluent (especially in today’s materialistic culture) you are paying a price to raise Godly children, as well. Endurance is not measured by a balance sheet.
4) Character comes from endurance. I didn’t say personality, but character. God isn’t interested in building sparkling personas but in conforming our inner core to that of His Son.
5) Hope is a quality that permits my friend Steve Brown to say as he hangs up our frequent phone calls: “Hang tough; hang in there, babe.”
6) The ultimate object of hope is the unconditional love of God.
His process moves us from grace through faith to His unconditional love – not a bad way to invest our lives!
This week think carefully about: 1) How often do I slack on the effort and then expect a miracle? 2) How clearly do I understand the passage from salvation to glorification? 3) What excites me right now about being a Christian?
Words of Wisdom: “The problem with miracle-based thinking is that it is egocentric.”
Wisdom from the Word: “So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Colossians 6:9 NET Bible)