Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: Spirit-led

Who is on the LORD’S side?

Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. Exodus 32:26

Only a few weeks after being miraculously delivered from oppression in Egypt, the Israelites build themselves a golden bull, say it is a representation of the God who delivered them and begin a riotous celebration.

When Moses came down the mountain and saw what was happening he stood apart from the camp and called for those untainted with this heathenish abomination to come out to him. It appears that only the Levites had fully abstained from participation. He tells them “Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour” (verse 27).

It is not specified in the text, but it is to be assumed that the Levites had observed those who were the principal movers of this imitation of pagan worship. Three thousand people were slain.

This was a brutal lesson, but the only means of preventing this idolatry from taking hold of the whole people. We must remember that this was the very beginning of God calling out a people to be His representatives in a world where idolatrous abominations were the norm.

It wasn’t until the New Testament era that the Holy Spirit was given to all believers. During the whole era of the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was given to only a few. It was still possible for all the people to be led of the Spirit, providing they were obedient to the teachings of those prophets, priests and kings who were Spirit-led.

Believers of the New Testament era have a tremendous advantage, yet we are equally tempted to stray from the narrow way out of a misguided love for family, popularity, position or pleasure. Jesus still calls us to come apart from all these and consecrate ourselves fully to Him and to His cause. Sometimes He uses strong language, telling us we need to hate members of our own family, meaning that we must hate any pull from loved ones that would draw us away from Him.

He goes beyond even that and tells us to hate our own flesh. This is not to be interpreted as a life of severe asceticism; in another place He tells us to love our neighbour as much as we love ourselves. That is, inasmuch as we are concerned to provide for our own physical and spiritual needs, we should have the same measure of concern for those needs in those about us.

Who is on the LORD’s side? When we become followers of Jesus, we are enlisting in the service of the Eternal Creator, Lord and Saviour. It is a great and noble calling. Let us consecrate ourselves to His cause, laying aside all that would render our cause obscure and confusing to those around us and could eventually hinder us from reaching our heavenly home.

Spirit-led writing

The biggest publishing sensation during my younger years was On the Road by Jack Kerouac.  He had taken a long roll of paper, aligned the top edge of the roll on the platen of his typewriter and never stopped typing until he had filled the roll from top to bottom.  A publisher decided to take a chance on this strange manuscript and it became a runaway best seller.

I read the book – even then I wasn’t sure why – perhaps I needed to read it to realize that this wasn’t a road I wanted to follow.  Nevertheless, I bought into the mythology that this was a genuinely spontaneous, stream-of-consciousness novel produced by the drug addled brain of Jack Kerouac.

I should have known better.  Kerouac broke many rules of writing, but he did it knowingly – he knew words and how to use them.  He was not some ignorant dropout who didn’t know a gerund from a geranium.  He had studied journalism at Columbia University and had been writing for many years before he produced On the Road.

Kerouac’s full name was Jean-Louis Kérouac, born in Massachusetts to French-Canadian parents.  His mother tongue was French; in his youth he was known as Ti-Jean (little John).  He wrote the first draft of On the Road in French, then several drafts in English before his manic stint at the typewriter.

Writing is work, even for the father of the beat generation.  Nevertheless, there is still a naive belief among many people that “I could write a book just as good as those big name writers if only my time wasn’t all taken up with making a living.”  Christians seem to be especially susceptible to such romantic notions: “The Spirit has inspired me to write this and I know it will touch the hearts of thousands of readers if I can just get somebody to publish it without messing it up by editing.”

I think of writing as being much like making a garden.  The seeds are the inspiration.  You need to plant them in an orderly fashion, to provide space for each growing plant to develop.  Then, if you ever want a harvest, you have to be in earnest about weeding.  Get those weeds out of there, don’t let them suck all the life out of your story!

Sometimes the weeds look so beautiful; they have such delightful flowers.  But if left to grow, they overshadow the garden plants.  Their roots go down deep and suck up the moisture and nutrients.  They spread their seeds over the garden and multiply until you can hardly see the rows that you planted and the product of your garden is hardly worth the effort you put into it.

You have to have inspiration to start with – the seeds.  However, as with a garden, the biggest part of the work of writing comes in the weeding – the editing.  A famous Canadian author gave the following advice to his son when he began to follow in his father’s footsteps: “Revise and revise and revise, until your writing is as good as you can possibly make it – then revise once more.”

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.”—Enrique Jardiel Poncela

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