April 22, 2016

Bended Knee

I attended a meeting of the local Botanical Society and prior to the program the president made a pitch to those who might want to join and become members. She said, “Some people think that in order to join you have to get your hands dirty, or bend low [planting and weeding]. That’s just not so.” I understand the intent of her comment and in the church evangelism is similar in that it encourages people to come to the Lord just as they are. However, leaders and others who are mature in faith often neglect to tell new believers that in order for them to grow and mature in the Lord, they will indeed get their hands dirty and bend low. Paul said, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----As far as metaphor goes, the Botanical Society president meant “…hands dirty, or bent low…” as working hard, especially since dirty hands and bent knees are the elements of garden work. But “getting hands dirty and bending knees” is not imagery church evangelism likes to present its prospects today. “Come as you are” preachers work next door to deceit, since theirs is not a very secure message to be giving people who need a repentant bath in Christ’s blood. Yet the message is very secure for those needing to preach for their wealth and fame to a world overjoyed with sin. “Come as you are” gives a whole lot of impression that maybe things are the same in the church as they are outside it, “…so you won’t even have to leave the comfort zone of your own sin soiled duds. Just come as you are!” Yet they then turn around and demand everyone who has struggled hard to clean up and wash away what they used to be to leave the comfort zones of their newly washed lives in order to make comfortable, instead, the filthy masses coming as they are.
-----Rather, take John the Baptist as an example. Of course, his mission and message were to make straight the ways of the people for the coming of the Christ. But a metaphor yet shines through. If the people’s ways weren’t straight, how could their eyes be straight? And if their eyes weren’t straight, how could they see? If they could not see, then how would they know the Lord as He came? And they rather ran into this problem on that fateful Friday. Had they made the paths of their hearts straight, they would have seen straight to demand those who were rousing rabble amongst them for Christ’s crucifixion to go crucify themselves. They would have disbursed from there with their King amongst them and His love in their hearts. But to the Passover in Jerusalem that year, in spite of John’s hard work, they had come as they were. So things got really ugly in spite of the trail of palm branches they, as they were, had laid before the Lord.
-----Jesus intimated soiled hands and bent knees with His calls. “…he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” is hardly “come as you are”. Taking your cross is a very hand soiling, knee bending thing to do. It is tremendously laborious to keep yourself nailed to that thing; we are so like Jell-o. But by doing it you follow Him (notice taking up your cross is the preceding action.) Jesus didn’t say, “Follow me (as you are) and take up your cross.” It is as if following Jesus is only possible in the condition of hard work and bended knee of abandoning what you are, nailing it to your cross, so that what you will be can come to that new life in Christ where you once were not.

Love you all,
Steve Corey