Pro 18:11 The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
Pro 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
Yesterday morning I wrestled in a dream that when I awoke had me thinking about a girl at work that had "visited" me in my dream. Let's call her Sarah....a bit of background info on Sarah: she is a young lady of about 21 years of age. She is a smart, and pretty little red head. The expression on her face is usually blank, but with her mouth turned downward giving her an angry expression. When she does laugh, it is a bitter sort, haughty and cynical, and soon after that moment passes, she reverts back to the blank and angry stare. Her attitude and actions say "I really don't give a $#I+ about you, or about anything, so let's just get on with it".
Sarah smirked about my faith in Jesus and made snide remarks about my age affecting my ability to reason. I said "I can hardly wait to see YOU when you are 60 (I'm not 60, but getting close), and see how you handle it" to which she coldly and calmly countered "And YOU won't be around to see it"....I then grabbed her by the shoulders and drew her right up to my face and said: "Jesus REALLY IS true and real, there IS a God, and that is the TRUTH!" She didn't budge, and while my face was in hers says coldly "You are not getting through to my heart". I let her go but while doing so said haughtily "That's too bad, I feel SORRY for you". In the dream I caught a glimpse of a coworker (who says he's an atheist, but I do not get that "vibe" from him at all) and he's trying to get my attention with a look of sad disapproval in how I'm behaving.
When I awoke I kept thinking about my reaction (which is pretty accurate of how I am, unfortunately) and about Sarah, about how she is at work, and about what took place in my dream.
In part, this is what I've come up with so far (it needs alot of unpacking):
1. Sarah has a huge guard up. She's a tiny thing barely 5 feet (I think... if that) and has a huge wall that says "You cannot hurt me because I'm inside my huge fortress". Her attitude, ideas, frame of reference, etc, all are part of the fortress that "protects" her, giving her an appearance of strength and invulnerability.
2. Sarah is young, and has a cockiness toward everyone that says "I'm better than you are...get used to it" and I have a problem with that kind of attitude, always have...especially with someone as young and impertinent as that. Now they call that sort of thing "precocious". I just think it's terribly bad manners.
3. My approach (exaggerated, however right on target in this dream) is to drill the truth into people. "Jesus is Lord, like it or lump it!!! Too bad for you if you are so retarded you can't accept the fact" Yeah, that's how I think, even if I don't express it in words to people, it's there just under the surface. :-(
4. Sarah is somewhere inside there, and I think she's hurting and afraid to let it show, and actions and attitudes such as mine drive her deeper and make her more sure that keeping that guard way high is the right thing to do especially around Christian fanatics.
5. Yes, God does not like haughtiness, therefore for me to counter what I perceive as haughtiness with haughtiness of my own is doubly wrong. Two wrongs definitely don't make a right. :-(
There's alot more there, but that is the main thrust of it.
When I was a newborn Christian, I had a dream that went like this:
I saw a parade of men in business suits and ties, dress shoes polished, and brief cases in their right hand, jogging in formation, all looking straight ahead with no expression, like robots. I wondered about them...and then saw a beautiful young woman who looked wise beyond her seemingly young appearance...so I asked her "Who are they, and what are they about?" She pointed in the direction they were running and said "Look and see" so I walked a few steps their direction and saw up ahead beautiful suburbs and quiet streets and homes, all identical, row after row. Their whole purpose and goal was that life here that lay in front of them.... and I called out to them "but there's so much more!!!" but they didn't hear me, they continued stone-faced in lock step "trudge-trudging" ahead in their lock step jog. I looked at the young woman and asked "how do I get through?" and she pointed at me...but it wasn't at me, she was pointing to someone behind me. There was a girl that was crying, deeply hurt. I asked her what was wrong and how I could help her. She immediately stopped crying and told me she wanted a sandwich.
At the time I had that dream, I was unsure about evangelism and what my role needed to be in it. This dream helped me to understand what part of the problem (for me, anyway) is. People have their hearts and minds set to the things of this world, not realizing that this world is passing away...and that our lives are very short when compared to eternity. Getting people to think about it is.....hard, if not impossible, if they don't want to. The young and hurting girl in the dream seemed to be telling me that I stand a better chance at reaching the hurting, and yet still they will try to make their hunger only about immediate gratification, when of course, the hunger goes much deeper than the immediate.
Both of these dreams have a common thread. They both are about reaching others, and about my natural inclinations of how to do it, and how off the mark my natural reactions and inclinations are, even when it is well intentioned (most often my ways don't even reach that high...but even that "well meaning" high reach isn't high enough).
This world is lost. The people are blind, deaf and dumb, like the jogging businessmen. My noise of "clanging cymbals" will only make them want to run away from me. It doesn't work. What did the Apostle Paul say about how to reach others?
Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
Col 4:4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Col 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Col 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
In all things, seeking the Lord in prayer for openings (for God to soften their heart and make them open and receptive), for wisdom, for endurance through adversity when we are met with ridicule and hostility, and in everything, with grace and love, giving thanks to our Heavenly Father who supplies us with the gifts that are truly appropriate to each moment, and not dependent on our fleshy ways to achieve anything for Him.
The area of God's sovereignty comes into this in a way that is beyond my limitations of how to understand it. He has provided a means to alter what "is", by using us to reach others, when we get ourselves out of His way to do it through us. I've seen the sovereignty issue ignored and/or abused, because it causes Christians to think they don't need to do anything, God is doing it and what I do won't change what He has purposed...yes, AND no. There is an interactive element to His dealings with us, one that causes us to submit to His sovereign will because of His doing, not ours, and yet WE CAN get in the way and impede progress, hardening ourselves, like young Sarah has hardened herself. What I see in Sarah, is also true about myself.