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Christian Biblical Studies
THE BUTTERFLY BUSH
By W. Resume
All primary Scripture citations are to the King James (Authorised) Version.
THE ‛SPICE GIRLS’ CROUCH. They watch, they wait, they pounce, and another life is extinguished.
Cinnamon and Ginger. Two of the nicest cats you could meet anywhere. They’re lepidoptorists – sort of.
Warmed by the new spring sun they train their sharp eyes on the azalea bush by the chain-link fence that surrounds the neighbour’s garden. As each new-hatched, fragile butterfly emerges from the thicket these feline delinquents leap into the air and snap and . . . gulp.
Just doing what their nature compels them do.
Who Stole the Awe?
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. – 1 Corinthians 13: 11
For many of us, younger or older, life can seem dull, all the interest washed out – bleached, like those faded jeans one sees hanging on the clothes rack in the shop. Perhaps we take too many blessings for granted. Indeed, it’s hard for any of us to be surprised by anything any more. We are accustomed to novelty, perhaps too content with our possession of things, our sense of wonder shot through with doubts and questions. Ho-hum, hum-drum.
But it is necessary for those who claim to be followers of Christ to retain some of the qualities of a child. Not to be childish but to be willing to learn, to submit, to obey. In short, to trust. For trust is at the core of faith. Without mental appreciation of and heart’s reliance upon God it is impossible to understand Him or His ways. That’s why so many in the world have become cynical on matters of faith.
Our intellects alone cannot discern God’s dealings with us and mankind without holding a viewpoint sympathetic to His cause – in much the same way as we are unable to understand how another person can love someone whom we may detest. That is to say, the answers to difficult questions do not always lie on the surface, any more than one may expect to find diamonds strewn on the ground, ready to be picked up. The mine’s real treasure lies beneath the surface.
Too many would-be atheist philosophers attempt to understand the invisible God from the surface indicators around them, and dismiss Him out of hand. The habit is catching on in Britain. One might almost say that disrespect for God – or the very idea of God – has become fashionable. There lie in wait those who wish to destroy all the wonder and beauty of faith, to nip in the bud any tendency toward belief. God-killers, ungrateful, cynical, predatory. Absorbed in their own self-perception, they follow their selfish nature and attack any who dare to believe in God.
Christian meekness does not mean that we should be pushovers. We are obliged to be courageous and whenever possible to stand up for what we believe, advancing intelligent reasons. We should be well-read and well-informed. We need not be sophisticated in the general sense of that term, but we ought to navigate through this world sensibly and perceptively.
Remember that even the ‛children of light’ may learn from the ‛children of this world’ (Luke 16: 8). To use another figure, we should extract useful knowledge from this world, like the Israelites who, on leaving Egypt in the great Exodus, took the gifts of gold and silver from the Egyptians – a type of our gathering knowledge and abilities which we can adapt to the Master’s service (Exodus 12: 35, 36, NIV-UK).
The butterfly is a splendid example of delicate beauty and grace in motion. The English word neatly captures the image. Even better, the Spanish term, maraposa, evokes the lightness and delicacy of it. And the French term, papillon, with its soft, barely audible nasal ending, is most apt. (German, unintentionally humorous, sums up this lighter-than-air creature with Schmetterling, a word which conjures up visions of a dive bomber.)
The Apostle Paul writes (Phillipians 4: 8):
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
It is hard for even the most careful Christian mind not to be affected by the worldly decadence on display. All the more reason for us to dwell on the righteous things, the Godly precepts. To let the mind of Christ inhabit our own, modifying our mind and heart to the counsels of the Word of God, expressing it by the way we think and the way we act. To become like Christ.
Keeping Our Distance
This world of sin is no friend to faith. Young Christians emerge from the chrysalis of family and church into a world that has become in large measure raucous and obscene, hostile to godliness. And these influences which act on the mind can be damaging to our faith, regardless of our age. Outlandish behaviour, once relegated to dark corners and not spoken of for shame is now on open and frequent display on our streets and in the media, and glibly discussed without blushes (Ephesians 5: 11-13):
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Degradation of the public morality and consequent devaluation of social ethics presage social collapse, an unravelling which could take many years. On such a state of affairs the Apostle John writes (1 John 2: 16, 17):
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Scripture passages not quoted in text
Luke 16: 8: And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
Exodus 12: 35, 36 (NIV-UK): The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The LORD had made the Egyptians favourably disposed towards the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
Copyright February 2011 ukbiblestudents.co.uk
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