Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Rescuing Temporary Lunatics
If I should pastor at a brick and mortar church again, I think I’ll name it, “The House Of The Sometimes Sane.” Maybe there will be a rear entrance with a sign over the door that reads, “The House Of The Temporarily Insane.”
Choose your door.
If it drives you absolutely crazy that your thoughts and actions are often times opposite to the way you want and to the Truth you love, you fit well with a long line of the mentally plagued saints. What will help you? What’s the solution to your temporary lunacy? A fresh booster shot of the truth about what Jesus has done for you and what He has made of you.
It’ll drive out the crazies.
A famous and favorite MPS (mentally plagued saint), the apostle Paul, wrote to a collection of temporary lunatics who comprised the church at Corinth. Paul had been told that their behavior was awful—nothing like what a Christians’ normally would be. So, while rightly pointing out the wrongness of certain actions, he sums up his attempt to revive them—his primary goal—by telling them that those kinds of deeds were no longer in keeping with the nature of who they had become. Jesus had done something so radical to them that they had become literally incompatible with sinful behavior:
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:9-11, italics mine.)
In other words, “Look, you’re acting like idiots, but you’re no longer idiots! You used to have the nature “Idiot!” to do such nasty stuff, but you have it no longer. Remember that whole ‘new creation’ thing? Well, it’s true! You are no longer of an earthly birth only, but have been born of heaven. You're magnificent, heavenly creatures! So come to your senses, be renewed in your mind, and quit it.”
Their faithful friend labored with them to bring the temporarily insane to their senses, giving them the truth, which, along with the Spirit’s work, clears the head and rescues the temporary lunatic.
Like the Corinthians, our ugly behavior doesn’t identify who and what we have become, it reveals we’ve temporarily lost our minds! And, of course, we act like it. When the Corinthian collection of the MPS looked and did awful, they needed to have their hearts and heads targeted with the truth, which is the power of God. (Romans 1:16) The apostle Paul knew it, even when they did not, and he treated them that way. He knew (and we should, too) that revival in our thinking leads directly to our behavior (Rom 12:1-3).
The next time you see a forgiven, sanctified and justified believer acting like a lunatic, encourage him with the truth that brings revival. He’s just confused, he’s just temporarily insane.
But you’re not. At least, not right now.