Mountains Thrown Into the Sea: Withdrawal of Relationship

5/12/2024

speech bubble representing person 1 talking Is there a corollary in our world about people who say they want Jesus? It seems there are a lot of situations where we’ve called people on the fact that it doesn’t seem there’s any way that they could be a Christian. And as soon as that happens they immediately flip to “Ok, I wasn’t a Christian, but I really want to be. I really want to surrender all.” But yet, it seems like they’re still pursuing whatever they have been for the last decade(s) and now they’ve found out that “surrendering everything to Jesus” is what they need to do to get there. It feels like “surrendering to Jesus” is a new tactic in their plan to get wherever they want to go [friends, lifestyle, feeling secure, feeling fulfilled, keeping the status quo—not quite sure].

It seems like in the majority of cases, when we’ve called people on not having any evidence of the spirit, within about two seconds, *they* make the assumption they really, really want Jesus. I personally struggle with that—they wanted to live for themselves for a decade, but in two seconds, they’re 100% positive that they want Jesus now and want to abandon everything.

I’ve only really seen one person come up with the words “So what went wrong? I did ‘want’ but my want was so misspent. It was spent on feeling—right or good or ‘in’ or safe or ???—those things were protected instead of the true honor and will of God.” That situation still seems to need to go deeper.

But, is there some corollary about not believing that everyone who says they want Jesus, really wants Him? How do we help them get to the point of realizing that Jesus is offering a deal that is very different than what they’ve ever thought, and they need truly to take a fresh look at what they really want, without assuming they already know the answer. I’ve found that very hard to tease apart.

Any thoughts, or help on how to do that, if it’s necessary?

speech bubble representing person 2 talkingThat’s why I have emphasized the song lyrics “though none go with me still I will follow” for quite a while now. With no ulterior motives available, no “prize”—but just an unprofitable servant working without a place at the table, NOW what is left?

speech bubble representing person 4 talkingIs that what the tool of disfellowship is for? I’m not saying to automatically disfellowship all those people; I know that knowing how and when to use that tool takes a lot of discernment, but just in general is it to unmask who still follows without a place at the table?

speech bubble representing person 2 talkingA person who lives for the world and doesn’t submit their desires and habits to Jesus doesn’t leave a choice—except for disfellowship. It’s not up to us. And yes, if their heart is for Jesus it will break the drug habit and reveal that it is Jesus they want, not the world. Otherwise, they’ll just move on because they always wanted the world anyway.

speech bubble representing person 3 talkingIf I may add a thought...

One potential (but totally avoidable) pitfall with having powerful truths encapsulated in poignant, memorable phrases or parables is that if you aren't discerning you could allow someone to have a pseudo-spiritual conversation when they aren’t really saying anything. For instance, person A and person B are talking. Person A says, “No more eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil for me. I’m dying to myself, planting good seed, letting my light shine, and storing up treasures in heaven, while I eat from the Tree of Life.” Person B has to have enough discernment to detect these phrases, which mean so much to him and others, and continues to help him immensely, but may just be empty slogans to person A.

In a situation like that, I have to be willing to ask, “What exactly does that mean for your life?” Or, “how is that working for you? What exactly is different about how you’re living at home or on the job or in your neighborhood? How have you personally changed?”

If I won’t do that, I am perpetuating a situation where somebody can deceive themselves into thinking that mouthing a concept is the same as making spiritual progress.

Nothing new to the above. But important, I’m convinced.

 

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