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PC Christians want hybrids

At that time, the son born of the ordinary way persecuted the son born of the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.  Galatians 4:29 

I spoke at a prominent marketplace ministry meeting on Fighting Giants with Business. During my talk I related many stories of God doing the miraculous in business. Afterwards one of the organizers, a professor at a Christian university, came to me and said words along these lines: “Brett, that was an excellent talk. I just wish that at the end, when you said how God miraculously revealed a new product to someone, you had rather said, ‘And then he went to college, got a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering, and developed a new product.’” What this man wanted was a hybrid: an eternity guaranteed by faith, but today’s reality run by reason. He was an engineer by trade and a recent professor at a university. He had no problem with businesses doing good – like a zero pollution engine – but how the good was done had to be based on old-fashioned human ingenuity. He wanted a hybrid faith. But, as in business, good intentions do not justify bad means.

Paul had the same problem with the Galatians. Many people grab the excitement of the extraordinary for a season, then opt again for the ordinary. We can talk about wanting an extraordinary life, but we feel more in control with the ordinary. Or, we long for the extraordinary, but we don't quite grasp it, so we settle again, and craft a hybrid theology around our failure. Let me lay it out simply:

  1. We are born into the ordinary, Country O. That is where we live until…
  2. We are born again of the Spirit into the extraordinary, Country E.
  3. Lived well, the spirit-life grows, blossoms, flourishes. 
  4. Then the ordinary life (O) gets jealous. Knowing it cannot explain away the spirit life (E), it tries to infiltrate it with a view to taming things with rules that it (O) dresses up as reason, prudence and practicality. Laws of the mortuary/graveyard (O) are snuck into the land of the living (E). 

Many supposed followers of Jesus have developed this hybrid O-E-O philosophy: they run self-powered on batteries for most of their lives. They seldom go above 25 miles per hour where Spirit-gas has to kick in. Occasionally they go to a Christian concert or take a little risk that results in temporary injection of Spirit-fuel, then quickly get back onto rationed battery power. They save the high-octane fuel for emergencies like a major illness, job crisis or life decision. Over time the hybridites begin to despise those who live as if there is never going to be a gas shortage, and who are moving from unleaded, to premium, to jet fuel in regular increments.

 …the son born of the ordinary way persecuted the son born of the power of the Spirit

“Oh, I don’t despise the gas guzzlers… it is okay for them. We are all on the journey in our own way.” I hear people say this, and it is tolerant and nice-sounding, but the biblical truth is different: God has no hybrids. The old law-driven, rule-led life has nothing to contribute our open-road life of freedom in Christ. The idea of mixing a little new with a lot of old to perk things up every now and then is totally unacceptable to God. We are either all-in with the Spirit, or we are beholden to the law and “Christ has no value to you at all.” Don't be falsely fueled: God has no hybrids, and his is no ordinary way.

Application

  • Is your life a hybrid, or are you 100% dependent on the Spirit?

  • Yes, you came to the Father through the Son: but are there areas in your life where you have slipped into self-dependence?

  • If someone took an inventory of your life what would they conclude: Ordinary, or Extraordinary?
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