(So just what is a Blogging Blast?? — BLOGGING BLAST #3)
I have discovered a new disease.
Well, I suppose it’s not new exactly, and I’m thinking I’m not the first to acknowledge it, not to mention personally suffer from its ill effects. All humans are susceptible to this malady, but it tends to run rampant in prosperous societies and is particularly marked within the Christian demographic. Even the most virulent strains leave no outward blemishes until the inward damage has been done…insidious that way.
I call it “The-Cart-Before-The-Horse-Syndrome”, and although the pandemic in recent memory would be from the 1970’s, unfortunate remnants remain today. The pathology tends to progress thus:
The victim becomes aware that God wants him to “prosper”. That’s good.
But the definition of that prosperity is grossly entangled by his cultural predispositions. That’s bad.
So he begins to alter his behavior to fit his newly realized doctrine. Whether good or bad, it is at least commendable.
After a while, his experience seems to counter his doctrine. This is uncomfortable, but the good/bad label depends on his next decision.
He can either revisit his interpretation of the doctrine, examining his motives and enlisting counsel. (Wise.) Or he can say (sound familiar?), “This just doesn’t work for me.”
Here’s an example: Lots of us (me included) like the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that talks about God wanting to prosper us and give a us a future, good stuff, all that. It’s quoted at graduations, seasons of personal change. But rarely—if ever—do we hear it quoted in context.
So here goes.
God’s nation of Israel have been disciplined pretty severely by God for their continued obstinate disobedience. In fact, they were currently in a state of exiled servitude to a strong and pagan nation, Babylon. The temple, their symbol of God’s identity with them, has been destroyed. Jerusalem, their capitol, has been desecrated and burned, loved ones slaughtered. Their situation looked hopeless, grim.
It wasn’t pretty.
But before God brings the wonderful promise of a wonderful future, look what He tells them to do:
“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: ‘Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.’ ”
Huh?? Settle in?? Pray for their captures?
In other words, sometimes we want God’s FULFILLED promises before we we’re ready to utilize them properly. We want the better job before we learn the disciplines we need to learn from the cruddy job. We want the happy family before we work through the hardships that are part of forging a marriage. We want financial prosperity before we
learn how to rejoice in the midst of lack (like Paul). We want our resurrection before bearing our cross. And when we don’t get it, it’s, well…
“This just doesn’t work for me.”
And another one succumbs to the “Cart-Before-The-Horse” Syndrome.
Just know that a vaccine exists and it’s free, but since this post is longer than usual, you’ll have to look it up yourself. I suggest you start here.
Jeremiah 29: 4-7 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Locations 34490-34494). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.