Summary: Not to lose focus on what/Who is more important...Gifts or the Giver of the Gifts !!!
Now these WMDs’ are deadly…
At this time of the New Year, I am neither referring to the stock-pile of WMDs’ in the arsenals of Superpowers nor do I, in this Sermon intend to beat about the bush repeating what many a Bush critic has already mentioned about the ill-fated Iraqi ‘adventure’ of US courtesy the Weapons of Mass destruction (Oh yes, US forces have withdrawn from Iraq and going by media reports stability problems therein are going from bad to worse). Rather, I intend to focus in this Sermon on WMDs’ of a different kind, which are just as deadly, to a Christian’s spiritual life. Now what exactly are these abbreviated WMDs’ in the life of a Child of God? Without keeping my Congregation in any further suspense, let me bring forth the expansion of the said abbreviation in the spiritual realm… well they are “Weapons of Mass distraction.”
Ironically, these WMDs’ are not forbidden sins such as theft, adultery, murder, lying etc but rather the blessings given to us by a benevolent God, which are deceitfully used by the Enemy (II Cor 11:3) with devastating effect-to draw us from the pure, simple devotion we are supposed to have for our Redeemer God. In order, we do not lower our spiritual guard in any way (II Cor 2:11) -for it would result in we being outwitted- it would serve us well to comprehend what these blessings actually are, which can double up as lethal spiritual WMDs’.
First things first…
Before we proceed ahead even by a proverbial step, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to recollect the primary purpose behind our election as the Bride of Christ? In this context, let me quote from the The Living Bible “ I am anxious for you with the deep concern of God himself –anxious that your love should be for Christ alone, just as a pure maiden saves her love for one man only, for the only one who will be her husband” –II Cor 11:2. Sadly, the gifts (that I am enlisting here below) given by generous Giver of all gifts can subtly be used by our spiritual adversary to divert our spiritual focus completely, so much so, we could end up glorifying the gifts unconsciously rather than the Giver of them all.
The good Lord is the source behind all loving relationships…the parental or the marital ones’ to name a few intimate ones’. They have all been lovingly placed in our lives to accomplish a purpose. If it is one of sustenance and guidance in the case of parent-child relationship, than it is one of companionship and fellowship in the case of a relationship beginning with the tying of a nuptial knot. However, for a doting parent, when his offspring becomes an idol and by the same token in a conjugal bond when the object of affection becomes a competitor to God in the matter of devotion, we have a ‘hot potato in our hands’ meaning simply ‘big trouble’.
Sadly do not we see this disturbing trend in Christian parents, especially those blessed with a child after many years of marriage? Far from being ready ‘to lay their Issac on the altar’ at God’s bidding, they lay down their own spiritual welfare ‘at the altar of their Issac’.
Time hitherto well spent in Church meetings, cottage prayer meetings, personal devotions is now utilized in either taking the child for an outing or preparing for his exams. Misplaced love cost a doting parent like High priest Eli dear (I Sam:2:11 to 3:14), for firstly his parental love blinded him to the primary responsibility of training up his sons in a way they should go and then on a more serious plane, prevented him from reining them in, once they had departed from the Lord’s ways. Let’s steer clear from the title such as ‘a parent like Eli’.
Coming to skewed priorities in a marital bond, we all know what happened when the very first husband Adam, listened more to God’s gift to him rather than the Giver of the gift (Genesis 3:6). To say that we are still suffering from the ‘after-effects’ of the distorted priorities, of the World’s first hubby would simply be a case of stating the obvious (Romans 8:22-23)! And King Solomon? Less said the better!
The key to keeping these precious relationships (parental or marital) in proper perspective lies in accepting them, with much thanksgiving, from the hands of the Lord (TLB:I Tim 4:3-5), thereby always remembering that Giver of all the gifts deserves the best of our affection.
For a young Christian, who has accepted the Lord, it is not at all wrong to aspire for good education but the problem begins when the pursuit of knowledge (after getting admission in a good educational institution) becomes more important to him than pursuit of wisdom, which can be obtained only by spending quality time at the ‘feet of the Lord’… a la Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Distraction from devotion at young age on account of education would be a case of medicine becoming more harmful than the disease.