The Small Leaks

November 23, 2012

Ephesians 5:17, Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

18, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19, Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20, Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

21, Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

A few months ago I was experiencing a leak in my truck’s radiator and tracked it to a small crack which I promptly fixed with JB Weld®. It worked well for a long time and then I saw a drop or two here and there. I expected that as it was in a very rough place to reach and a drop or two was fine.

Lately, we have had a few cold mornings and my good old truck was not heating up as quickly. Where I am usually near roasting a few minutes it was at best tepid until I reached my job over thirty miles away. Yet, in the afternoon it would heat up almost immediately, but true to Texas weather, I did not need it then. I assumed it was the thermostat sticking, but was told I should check the fluid level.

What a shock that was as it took nearly a half of gallon of anti-freeze to fill it back up. The next morning my heater was functioning perfectly. My drop here and there still added up to a large loss over the months. Had I not noticed the heat loss I would have gone on driving until my level got to a dangerous level and seriously damaged my truck. It is a good thing that the seasons change.

It seems to be the same in our spiritual lives. We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit and the idea of being continuously filled with the Spirit indicates that in a sense we can leak. Not that He leaks out of us, but that we do not allow the control He once had over us. Often this happens like my small leak that we do not see or ignore as no major issue. When He is in our lives in full capacity we are good and warm in a cold world, but when His control is diminished we experience the coldness of the world and it cools us down.

At first, it may be a degree at a time over a long period so that we adjust and feel comfortable at a temperature that once made us reach for the control to turn up the heat or seek the Spirit’s control and guidance. We ignore warning signs like the drops on the driveway equal to our missing services now and then, losing joy in our ministry though we may continue in it out of duty or habit. The pastor’s sermons just aren’t what they once were and we nit pick them or watch the game or play Irritated Fowls on our tablet. Fellowships are a bother and the people just aren’t as close to each other as they were when we first joined. Little things that we just don’t notice. Prayer is short and sweet and done mostly at the table or a last minute thing in our beds as we pass out during them. Spouses and children are a burden rather than a joy. In fact, very little is a joy and we trudge on in our rut all the while telling everyone all is well because we have adjusted to the lack of heat and accept what we have as being as good as it gets.

Then the season’s change. I could have put off looking into my coolness issue because the cab did eventually warm up by the time I reached work. However, the weather is only starting to get cool. I knew it would be a tad intolerable if I waited until the middle of winter to fix it. Even so, I had the wrong idea for a fix as I thought it was the thermostat sticking halfway. My wife had her car in the shop and mentioned my issue to him and he suggested checking the fluid. I would have seen the low fluid at some point, but I was on the wrong track and would not have made the connection until after I filled the radiator. That might not have happened until I bought and replaced the thermostat causing me a needless cost for the part and a waste of time replacing it.

Seasons change in our lives as well and unless we notice the little leaks and the slight cooling we will not seek a fix in our lives until things get bitterly cold. We need not suffer that. Even if we figure we have an issue we might be very prone to surmising the wrong cause and spend needless a money and time on it. It may well take a concerned friend or a professional to evaluate and point you in the right direction.

We need to exercise preventative maintenance to avoid future issues. In the military we were required before we ever took a vehicle out of the motor pool to perform some routine checks of fluids, tires, etc. in an effort to not have something that should have been prevented take a vehicle offline and maybe jeopardize a mission.

We are truly on a mission from God and we need routine checks of our spiritual fluid to ensure that we are not jeopardizing our mission by breakdowns that could have been prevented. Just as we had service manuals in the military we also have one called the Bible. Everything we did to our vehicles had to be done according to the manual and so does what we do in our lives have to operate within the normal parameters according to our Owner’s manual.

These verses give us some Piety Maintenance checklist items. If we are to perform our mission successfully we need to be wise and understand the Commanding Officer’s orders, but to do that we need know what they are first. We find the SOPs (Spirit Operating Procedures) in the FM (Father’s Manual), the Word of God. Once we read the orders we can then ask for clarification so that we perform them. We are not left to meander about trying to reinvent the wheel. The Bible is our battle book and all the strategies we need for victory are all there and well tested.

You cannot fight a battle in a drunken state. You must be in full control of your faculties. Drunk people are controlled by the alcohol. This is called excess or as we might say without any redeeming value. There is no good in it and it leads to immorality, broken relationships, crime and a general waste of one’s life and resources. No soldier is called to that kind of mission though I and many of my comrades-in-arms have experienced such states of excess and riot. If it happened while we were on duty there were severe consequences and depending what we did even being drunk off-duty could land us in the Brig, get us demoted, fined and even discharged so there was no good time to be drunk if took the time to think about it.

We are Christian soldiers given armor and tactics to fight against our spiritual enemies. Being filled with booze, the world’s philosophies or our own desires will not bring about any victory in our live and is also excess. We are on duty 24/7 so there is no good time for us to be filled with anything or anyone else than the Holy Spirit. Indeed, just as antifreeze can be used to warm us in a cold world it can also be used to take the heat of the world off of us to keep our engines from overheating. It has to be controlled for that to happen and so do we if we expect to be kept from freezing or blowing a gasket when things get hot in this life.

We had cadences or Jody calls to help us keep in step and to lifts our spirits when training or the march got to be long and tiring. So also does the army of God have songs to do the same. That is why good music is very important though having sound doctrine being taught is of prime importance. While what genre(s) of music can be classified good can be debated there can be no debate that the lyrics are of utmost importance. Bad theology and false doctrine are bad be it set to classical music or heavy metal. I do believe that some genre’s are not appropriate, but I have had to change some words in old songs to change the doctrine. Some old songs paint a wrong view of Heaven and others have different flaws. They may not have been intentional or created by poetic license, but that does not make them right. Words and doctrine have lasting influence. Genres of music come and go, but the influence of words can impact a soul long after the genre loses favor among the masses. No matter what the form, psalms, hymns or spiritual songs be sure they are sound doctrine. These songs will go into your heart and influence you consciously or unconsciously so be sure what you put in there is gold and not dross.

I am writing this on the day after Thanksgiving which could also be called National Overeating Day or NOD since that is what happens when the tryptophan kicks in. I’m a ham man, myself. With that I just get a salted instead of the nods. 😉 It is good to pause for a day of reflection and gratitude, but it is supposed to be Thanksgiving every day as we are to be thankful every day. We do usually thank God it’s Friday unless our week ends on some other day. Yet, if we are breathing we should thank God every day for ALL things. Aye, there’s a rub. It is easy to thank God for the things we like and when life is a bowl of pit less cherries. Thanking Him for trials and difficulties is another thing.

We cop an attitude that God should never let anything bad happen. Hello! We live in a fallen world condemned to be destroyed and replaced. We live in a world of sinners driven by their own lusts and prodded on by satan and his minions. We also have a body of believers who are not always all that they can be and should be and you wonder why life has its bad moments? The question is not why do bad things happen to good people. The real question is why do good things happen to bad people? Grace and mercy is the answer to that one. We should be thankful that God did not take off after Adam fell and said I’ll check in on you every thousand years or so for a good laugh at how you are getting on without me. No, thankfully, He is with us every day doing things not obvious to and for us as well as things that should be obvious, but we are too dense to see. Sometimes the bad times are the only time we check out spiritual radiators and see we are running low on the Spirit’s control and seek a fix and a filling.

Many of the saints will answer, “Better than I deserve” when asked about how we are doing, but do we really fully comprehend that? If we got what we deserved we would be bouncing off the walls of Hell like a pin ball. Many of us saints would already be dead with nothing but wood, hay, and stubble to show for our lives. Indeed, what if the first time we just decided to sin and then claim 1 John 1:9 God just took us to the woodshed in Heaven and not chastise us here? There would not be any mega-churches for sure. God would be doing a lot more of direct calling to folks like Noah and Moses unless people started seeing the correlation between all the dead saints and the last thing they were doing. Yes, indeed we are doing better than we deserve and will be doing so for eternally as we do deserve heaven or anything good. We get good because of mercy and grace by virtue of the work of Christ paying for our sins and ever interceding for us. That should be worthy of daily thanks that will be preventative maintenance for our souls.

I am fixin’ to go to meddlin’ here. Submission to an American is a hard thing to understand. At least in the last fifty years or so. Since my hippie generation started challenging all the paradigms we have gone off the deep end in many things. I am not saying that it is wrong to challenge things for there would have been no Jonestown, Wacos or Hale-Bop tragedies had folks challenged these madmen. The problem came when it was not really a challenge to find truth and fix or enhance a paradigm, but rather just tear everything down for the sake of change. That is where my generation and the succeeding ones have gone astray. That may be another sermon in of itself.

If we cannot submit to any kind of authority or structure here we will have a hard time submitting to God and the structure of His church and kingdom. I can compare scars and tell you many stories of abuse of authority. All that does is condemn abuse of authority, but it does not negate the principle or need for authority. Bucking authority is what got us into the mess we are in. Satan and his followers bucked God’s authority and fell from Heaven into damnation. Satan deceived Eve into joining the rebellion and Adam jumped in and voila a damned world and race. Bucking God’s authority is never right. Bucking man’s can be right, but it can bring about less than desirable results. Good guys, yet there is none good, do not always win contrary to all the cowboy movies I ever watched.

God has set up the universe and He has the right to set the rules. Those who do not desire to follow those rules lack wisdom as they fail to see the panorama thus deciding that one piece is wrong because they do not see where that piece fits perfectly in the panorama. God has that view as the Creator and understands the place of the piece you don’t like and the logic for it being there. Hence, it makes sense that even if we cannot comprehend the value of the piece we need to trust the One who put it there. After all, we see what happens when man starts moving pieces or seeking to remove or destroy the various pieces and it is not a pretty sight.

Before man, the authority structure was God. For our feeble minds God shows a structure of authority in the Godhead by using the terms Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Though they are co-equal we see that the Son came to do the will of the Father and the Spirit is here to magnify the Son and not speak of Himself. He convicts the World of sin, leads men into all truth (if they will follow) and will bring to mind the things that Jesus said. Trying to completely understand that before we get to Glory is most likely futile. Our minds are not capable of understanding all things hence faith/trust in what we don’t know fully. We have plenty of things we can understand and have seen so we are not assassinating our brains when we exercise faith.

We are not told when, but at some point God created the angels. They were made by Him and for Him so not a surprise that they should be in submission to Him. Then we have the creation of the universe with man as the top creation. Should be no surprise that Adam should be in submission to the One who made him. Here comes some raised eyebrows and fussing. Then Eve, made by God for Adam, so no surprise she should be in submission to God, but what about Adam? Even though it is not spoken until after the fall by virtue of seeing the natural progression Eve would be in submission to Adam and then the children that would come after the fall would be in submission to both of them since they are one.

I can hear the “Ah Has” now as some will say, “See they are one and Galatians says there is no longer male or female, etc. “ Well, can I first say that Galatians is obviously taken out of context for the same writer inspired by God to write Galatians also wrote this and 1 Cor 11 showing authority structures that are to be eternal as they were set up pre-Fall and similar to the original structures established before Creation? Indeed, the man and woman are one, but since in believers God is in both of them and He in them there is a picture of the trinity. God, man, woman in a spiritual unity, but each with their role and in their place of authority. Remember, this is a picture and not the same as the trinity, but a similarity. God is the head of both man and the woman. Paul says that since the man was created first and we know woman was made for man so he has authority over the woman though they be one even as Jesus and the Spirit submit to the Father and the Spirit submits to Jesus though they are one and co-equal. Hence submission is not about equality. God is a God of order and structure. Indeed, the term submit comes from a military term. There is not mutual submission between a Captain and Major. The Captain is submissive to the Major even if the Captain has the same skill set and education. Two full Colonels assigned to a project will have one of them put in charge. If all things are equal, they go by date of rank. If COL A became a COL on May 1st and COL B became a COL on May 2nd then COL A is in command. There is no question of ability or equality. Adam has date of rank if nothing else. When only two people have to make a decision someone has to have the tie breaking edge. God gave that edge to Adam.

It is not about equality because men and women were deliberately made differently. The best marriage is between a man whose strengths are the weaknesses of the woman and the strengths of the woman are the weaknesses of the man making them stronger together than they will ever be apart with that union being strengthened even more by their submission to God. Submission is more about strength and often survival, not fairness or equality. When the man abdicates and the woman dominates they are not right with God so the strength is not there so the marriage disintegrates. For sake of length, I won’t go into the rest of the structures shown here and in other passages. As you can see from our culture and even among Christians there has been a slow leak over a long time that has left many frozen in this area and content to stay that way.

If we will go back and ask God to plug the leaks and refill us and then daily do the piety maintenance given to us in this passage we will be able to redeem or buy back the time in these evil days and make them profitable to God, us and our fellow humans. We will enjoy the fruit of the Spirit and be cold to Worldliness and warm to the things of God. Then our journey will be more pleasant no matter if it rains, snows, sleets, hails, or we are ducking tornadoes. We can have a long rough road or a short smooth one for all that will matter is the final destination. We will be able to find some pleasant scenery no matter what the season of our life.

Are you leaking? Have you seen some signs in your life that you are cooling off? Now is the day to be fixed and filled! Do it now! Maranatha!


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