This past Monday evening, the evening of my 42nd birthday, I was privileged to listen to Jim Bradford, General Secretary of the Assemblies of God, speak on Josiah. His message was ripe and full of good things and aimed at ministers under 50 years of age. I have enjoyed listening to Dr. Bradford on the occasions that I have heard him, and no, he's not a relative.
Anyway, during the most thought-provoking piece of his 30 minute message (yes, I love messages that are 30 minutes or less), he touched on what he felt is the greatest weakness of my generation and those younger than me--cynicism.
Cynicism is defined on the Free Online Dictionary as, "An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others." As Dr. Bradford conceded, the Baby Boomers have contributed significantly to the spiritual cancer of cynicism through all the things that have marked the last 50 years--no-fault divorce, sexual libertinism, abortion on demand, the dismantling of the family and the systematic deconstruction of many traditional forms of authority in our culture.
However, as he spoke, I sensed that God was speaking to me. There are a number of ways that I contend with a spirit of cynicism, and maybe you do too. Sometimes, especially when I"ve been let down by those in authority, I can find myself drifting into the icy waters of cynicism.
This morning I'm praying that God will not only set me free from cynicism, but that God will give me a pure heart. That is, a heart ready to trust and believe. Perhaps today you struggle to find it in yourself to trust anyone. I want to challenge you today to begin to consciously set aside the spirit negativity that maybe you have allowed to dominate your heart and personality.
What will happen when we let cynicism go and allow a pure heart, full of trust, faith, sincerity, goodness, thankfulness, and positive attitude take over is that your own quality of life will be lifted. Instead of walking through life on a mission not to be taken as a "sucker", you'll approach life from the vantage point of one who expects to be the object of God's overwhelmingly good and gracious plans.
As Paul writes in Titus 1:15: "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted."
Thanks so much to Dr. Bradford for allowing God to use him so powerfully to bring such a fitting word to me.
Labels: Assemblies of God, character, Christianity, discipleship