Monday, April 03, 2006

"The Velvet Hammer"

There is a drink called the “Velvet Hammer”. It looks harmless enough, but it is loaded with influence. You really might want to think twice before hammering one of these because if you do, you just might get hammered yourself.

By the way, what happens when you drink too much alcohol? You find that your senses are altered. The way you see, feel, understand, and react is influenced by the chemical in your blood stream. Things that you normally would not say or do now become quite possible. Behavior is totally modified. Sometimes people will say, “I need a drink” when facing difficulty or pressure. Why? People often find a false sense of courage or become more outgoing and expressive while under the influence.

Believe it or not, herein lies the secret to experiencing “God’s Life” in us.

Don't drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Eph 5:18 The Message

God’s Spirit desires to be the influence on our hearts. He wants to alter the way we see the world. He wants to give us insight into the hearts of others. He has the ability to change the way we feel and understand. He can produce the opposite of our natural tendencies. He can turn our “natural reactions” into “supernatural responses”.

As we talk about God’s Spirit producing “gentleness” in us, the analogy of alcohol and its influence serves as a teacher. Just as the committed drinker always finds her way to the next drink, so must the committed Christ-follower continually drink of God’s Spirit.

Remember, gentleness is power under control. Gentleness is knowing the right amount in the right way at the right time.

Paul prays an interesting prayer in Ephesians:

“I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead” Eph. 1:19-20

Later in Eph. He prays again:

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.” Eph. 3:16
God wants to give us incredible inner strength but that strength is not for over-powering others or manipulating people to get them to do what we want. It is there to establish our hearts and make them secure so that we can influence the world for Christ. The life of God in me can be mighty but that might is to spread the influence of God upon the hearts of others in need of God’s life.

In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul refers to the “meekness and gentleness of Christ” as a “weapon of warfare”. He says that this weapon is “mighty for the pulling down of strongholds”. I find this fascinating. I wonder if this is what Jesus meant in Matthew:

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matt. 10:16

God says that he wants us to be wise. Wisdom is knowing what to do, how to do it and when. James the brother of Jesus says there are two kinds of wisdom:

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18

Rather than being harsh or overbearing with people, God’s spirit gives me wisdom and inner strength to say and do the right things in the right way at the right times. He overrides my natural tendency to do the wrong things and replaces it with His wise application of power. As I allow myself to be under His influence, He places in my hand a “velvet hammer”. It looks harmless enough but packs a big punch for God. When I use it, people don’t feel like they’ve been hammered, just changed. Through me,they come under His influence

I encourage you today to pray and ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Allow Him to place you under the influence, and may He use you to influence the world. May things we would “normally” never say or do now become “supernaturally” possible.


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