Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Repenting Of Ace Ventura
Have you ever wanted to beat someone up for their own good? Give ‘em a good whop! across the kisser to wake them up to something great? I have.
Maybe you’ve shown someone a painting or poem you loved, played for them a song that moved you, or told someone of an enchanting discovery only to have them respond with a disinterested, “Um, that’s nice.” How did you feel in that moment? Bothered? “Hmm…a good whop! might be just the thing…”
Have you ever wanted to beat someone up for Jesus? I have.
There have been times when I have presented the incredible truth of the gospel to someone and have them look as dull when I was done as they did when I began. And I don’t mean only the get-‘em-in-the-door, turn-or-burn gospel, I mean the stunning good news about who they will become in Christ gospel, and the how well related to God they will become gospel. And when I arrive at a good place to stop, either they look like it’s nap time, or like it’s all unimportant. “Well, I’m glad that works for you,” they say.
And what fills my imagination is from one of those silly Pet Detective movies. Suddenly, I’m Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey), and with an exaggerated nod and toothy grin, I hear myself say, “R-e-a-l-l-y...R-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-a-l-l-y…”
Whop! They had it comin’. And then I do that silly, jerky walk-away, grinning big as ever. “Turn me down, will you? Ha! Loo-hoo-hoo-ser!”
It’s about then that I come to my senses and repent of Ace Ventura.
Sometimes my flesh gets way too involved in the mystery of closing the gospel deal, or of changing someone else. I didn’t convince myself about the gospel, nor am I particularly skilled at changing myself, so when I begin practicing on others (Dr. Ralph) I ought to be alarmed.
What’s happened is that I have lost the thrill and confidence of God-in-charge, God-at-work, and God-never-failing. Awe of Him has been superseded by frustration with this world, and sometimes that’s all too easy. Joy in God’s ability has been hijacked by a fleshly desire to make life work, mine and yours, and the soon-coming end of that is exhaustion and disappointment. Either I get all worked up—We have to DO something!—or I get all depressed and give up.
It’s right around then that the Holy Spirit reminds me that I am an ambassador of God, not a general. I’m a vessel and messenger for God, not a detective bent on exposing the bad things of this world so I can change them. He reminds me because He is looking to revive and refresh me so I can live and work in the power of God, not in the power of the flesh.
And I can’t imagine Ace Ventura leading anyone to Jesus anyway.