"O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day" [Psalm 119.97 NASB]
Not too long ago there was a certain man who was growing up in a small town and he had an unusual but also a clear and recognised zeal for the work of the Lord. This was so strong and compelling that he found it really difficult to restrain it, so he was often found to be testifying to his neighbours, both in the street and in the large and well-used park which was near to his house.
Again and again his Mother, Dad and younger brother tried unsuccessfully to curtail his labours and to moderate his activities, but he was eventually taken away from them and sent to a home where he was subject to prolonged medical treatment, which eventually held in subjection his extreme behaviour; and his spiritual desires were also subdued with the result that he began to live a normal well-balanced life.
However, never again did he stand in the open air and proclaim his love for Jesus and the urgent need for the people to repent.
When new converts were born-again in his town it was spoken to them in persuasive whispers, "if you don't want to end up like … and go to an institution, then conform to our rules and live a quiet and orderly life."
The end result? Conformity was the order of the day and this pattern kept the wheels of the organization running very smoothly, morally and financially.
However, in the same assembly, many years later someone else read, believed and confessed to his leaders, "I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Your precepts" [Psalm 119.100].
As previously, this caused alarm bells to ring; and as the different leaders met and thought about this situation, they said, "Today, we no longer send people away to a home. We do things differently, and we put them through our training program where they will learn to conform to the status quo."
Once again they were proved right, until … Many years had passed and God highlighted to that man the text under review and he thought, without counting the cost, "God wants radical revolutionaries, men of fire and passion, not people who all sing from the same hymn sheet."
Has God previously quickened a text into your life and were you at one time a burning and shining light like John the Baptist? Try as they might they were unable to control him so they radically silenced him.
Have men also quenched your fire with the pressure of influential words? Have they pulled rank on you?
Remember, the word says, "Our God is a consuming fire." I believe God wants to re-light a fire in your life, which will burn brighter and last longer than that which Thomas Cranmer started at his martyrdom. [David McArdle]