Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Intense



Intense.

Perhaps a word people use to describe me often. The feeling is mutual. Sometimes it seems daunting, sometimes it seems accurate, either way it is the Truth.

Intense.

existing or occurring in a high or extreme degree: intenseheat.

True, however, what is it that makes a person intense?
Is it his tendency to say things people wouldn't say? Is it his tendency to awaken feelings or emotions people would rather not awaken? Is it his tendency to answer questions without making someone mad? Is it his unpredictable manner of atoning for the sins of the world? Is it his ability to evoke Truths in the center of our hearts the very place we would not like that Truth to be evoked?

Intense.

strenuous or earnest, as activity, exertion, diligence, orthought: an intense life.

It was and is His tendency to allow the Spirit to evoke emotion, response, actions, feelings, within Himself that people were unprepared for. It was an unprecedented area, an uncharted territory. They knew what was coming and yet they were completely unprepared.

It is the same today.
People don't like being around 'intense' people.
Nonbelievers do not like being around 'intense' nonbelievers.
Believers do not like being around 'intense' believers.

So what's the deal?

There is a passion, a zeal, a Love which Christ exemplified in His life, His preaching, His death, and His resurrection; which people do not want to be a part of. Is it because these feelings create in us a desire to have our questions answered, to have our faith increased, and to have our God glorified? We know the 'intense' nature which Christ portrayed is good, yet we have a hard time knowing that same 'intense' nature lives within us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A few weeks ago I was talking to my sister in Christ, Kayla, about what it looks like to be a part of an event which isn't necessarily evil, but definitely is not glorifying to God or furthering the Kingdom. We talked about the discipline it takes in our lives for us to obey the Spirit of God, and to shy away from any person, things, or places which cause us to not further the Kingdom. And then I began questioning myself. How often am I spending my time doing something I know is not going to further the Kingdom: watch t.v., watch a movie, sleep more then I should, etc.? And then it began to overwhelm me. Kayla and I continued the conversation by talking about this struggle we have to be in the world and not of the world. If we recognize that we are not of this world, then being in this world becomes more complicated. As it becomes more complicated and we begin to share our complications with others, we realize there are few people who understand what we are talking about.

Why is this so?

We acknowledge that the hearts of the sisters, and brothers we speak to view us as 'over-spiritualizing' things, or being too 'intense'. Which may cause us to turn away for fear of being made fun of.

If what I believe about Christ is True, and I believe it with my whole heart, then I do not believe there is a way to over-spiritualize anything. Everything is spiritual. Everything we do is supposed to be for the glory of God, and I mean EVERYTHING. But we as Christians, especially all of us in the Bible belt, are known for neglecting the fact that everything is spiritual, and that we will one day be held accountable for all that we did for or against the glory of God.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." 2 Corinthians 5:10

"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:33-37

And the conversation goes on. We will continue to be seen as intense, unreasonable, extreme, legalistic, etc., but we would rather our hearts stand right before God by the blood of Christ as reflected in the way we lived our lives, then stand right before a twisted and adulterous generation.

May the richness of this word as spoken in Acts, be apparent to us now as we daily battle to acknowledge we have overcome the world:

"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it." Acts 7:51-53

Yes Jesus is intense.
Yes Jesus lives inside of me.
Yes Jesus speaks clearly to me about my sin.
Yes Jesus is alive.

If Jesus is alive, and he lives inside me, and he is intense, then every part of me according to the grace that has been given to me in having the Holy Spirit living inside of me, is INTENSE. So be it.