Meditations by John Dean

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Sluggard Spirit

(Proverbs 6:9 KJV) How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

I have always looked at the sluggard as one of the most disgusting people in the Bible. In my mind he is a character who is basically incapable of contributing to life because of his laziness. He would much rather eat, sleep and watch television than be a creative achiever.

I must admit that I probably have more patience and respect for the out and out sinner who is a go-getter than I do for a lazy self-indulgent sluggard who attends church regularly. At least the sinner does what he believes, whereas the sluggard seems to take the road of least resistance.

I have apparently just revealed to the whole world my own unworthy character for not having patience and love for my weaker brother.

A couple of weeks ago I began to realize that it is possible for the same ‘sluggard spirit’ that is in our text to be on each of us in one way or another. We usually give the sluggard spirit a more respectable name…but it is the same ugly spirit. This spirit can be summed up in one word…procrastinating…which means I will get to it later.

Now, having unmercifully exposed everyone else’s weaknesses, I want to shamefully reveal my own sluggard story.

In my home I have a very wide and long hallway going through my attic to a back staircase which is used for moving furniture upstairs. This hallway is not a part of the actual living area of my home, even though it is seven feet wide and twenty-nine feet long.

Because it is so big it became a place where we stored everything that we were not using at the time...including antique furniture and who knows what else. Over the years the hall became so full of stuff that it became evident that I needed to do something about it. However, I do not know when I dreaded anything as much as I did cleaning that hallway. As a matter of fact the spirit of procrastination, ‘sluggard spirit’ came on me so much that it took me two years to get around to cleaning it.

There were several steps to actually doing this job. The first step was to have a garage sale. The second step was to haul the antiques to the antique auction. The third step was to rip out all the old stained carpet that went up the back stair case and down the long hallway. The forth step was to repair and paint the walls and ceiling that had been damaged by all the furniture and boxes. The fifth step was to have the carpet man lay some new carpet.

The thought of all this work was so daunting to me that I allowed myself to become a candidate for a sluggard spirit.

However, a couple of weeks ago I made up my mind and hit this job full force and completed it within a week. When I was done I suddenly realized that the two years of procrastination and aggravation was much harder than the work itself.

Could it be our text was trying to communicate a principle rather than an actual person? If so, then everyone could become a victim of the ‘sluggard spirit’ by becoming lazy in some area of their life.

Thank You for showing me this principle of the sluggard and how I can avoid falling into its trap. Forgive me Lord for judging others who have been attacked by the sluggard spirit and help me to bring some measure of deliverance and healing to them.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Noun/Verb Faith

(Mark 9:23 KJV) Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 

This is probably one of the most powerful statements in the entire Bible. The thought of all things being possible to us is very exciting. What this scripture seems to imply is that the abundant life is the outworking of faith and need is the lack of faith.

That means that if we are not living in abundance, then it is obviously not God’s fault but ours. If that is the case and we are living in need, then perhaps we should go back and take another look at the word ‘believe’ in our text.

Could it be that we left out a key element in our interpretation of this scripture? If that was not the case then most Christians would be living in abundance and not in need.

The fact is the word ‘believe’ is a verb and not a noun. A verb is a word of action which means that our response to God’s promises is to act on them as if we had already received them. That is what is called “verb faith” (faith with action).

Misunderstanding the word ‘believe’ would certainly explain why some Christians seem to always be in need, even though they do have a measure of faith.

When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the water, he was acting on his ‘verb faith.’ However, as soon as he was distracted by the winds, the ‘verb faith’ that kept him walking on top of the water turned into ‘noun faith’ which caused him to sink into the water.

His ‘noun faith’ was enough to make him cry out to Jesus for help, but not enough to keep him from sinking.

When one of my three daughters says, “Daddy, can you…?” the answer is always    “Yes “, even though I may not know how to do it. Why?... probably for two reasons. The first reason is that their ‘verb faith’ in me causes me to reach deeper into myself to fulfill their needs. The second reason is…how can I say no to my daughter when she uses the most disarming word in the world…daddy?

If I respond that way to one of my children’s ‘verb faith’ then how much more will God respond to our ‘verb faith?’

We desire for all of our faith to be ‘verb faith.’ We want to believe in Your promises enough to reach out and receive them because You said they were ours. Lord, we belief but help our unbelief.

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