By Jay Ferris ~
When I was young, we had something known as ‘manners,’ even ‘table manners.’ One of the manners was, ‘don’t talk with your mouth full.’
In light of the these recent weeks, it has occurred to me that what’s in our mouth, is not yet digested. Perhaps our discussion might be a little more fruitful if we were not slobbering undigested religion on each other, and spent more time digesting, and then sharing what is already ours by doing. Hopefully, not as a bragging contest, but in a way that brings out the best in one another. Of course, this would mean that we are, at least, as interested in the content of the other guy’s heart as we are in our own. Perhaps that’s one of the prerequisite manners of “speaking the truth in love”. I think it’s also called, “drawing one another out,” in preference to “shutting one another down.”
That shared, the revelation today has to do with digestion, that is, the process by which what is in our mouth — becomes what we are.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” – Romans 8:35-37
First notice this phrase: “Nay, in all these things…” What things? Trouble, distress, persecution. famine, nakedness, peril, sword, killed all day long, sheep for the slaughter, etc. It is, in fact, in all these kinds of things that we become “more than conquerors.” (We can have a mouth full of great and boasting words, but until we have lived through them, we don’t own them.)
Second, “more than a conqueror.” One way to understand it is that a conqueror is one who is successful at making others die. “More than a conqueror,” however, is one who is successful at dying for the sake of others!
Like the saying goes, ‘No pain, no gain.’
I’m not saying that I have been able to digest all of this yet, but I’m seriously working on it, and can honestly recommend it. Until we are able to embrace life’s suffering, we are bound to be defeated in every painful encounter. (And I am in fear and trembling as I think and say these things.)
To be continued…
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