Monday, June 2, 2008

Reductionism and Caterpillars

Every Saturday morning I meet with a good friend of mine to just go through life together and encourage one another. I needed an older, wiser, voice in my life so boom… Well, he asks one question to begin Sat that opens up to a holy rant or whine session. I say, “Well, the truth is, I can say it is all this stuff and if things got better, like my circumstances, got better then maybe everything would be ok, but I’ve come to realize there is a single problem, I don’t love God.” Gasp, sit back and scratch your head, judge me, do whatever it is you need to do, but finish this with me; it’ll take us to a great place. So I begin telling him I feel so messed up and after about two hours he stops me and says, “Adam, let me tell you about reductionism and the danger in your words.” Apparently reductionism is when a person boils down a bunch of different factors into one cause or outcome. I had reduced all my circumstances down to say, “I don’t love God.”

Well, the problem with that statement is it is not true. If I didn’t love Him, then I wouldn’t be struggling because I want to do what is right and want to be close to Him. He then warned me to not get caught up in the idea that I should be doing more than I already am and to be careful what whispers I’m listening too. He tells me that I can’t think I just don’t love God because I’m not where I think I should be or doing what I think I should be doing for Him. I shouldn’t be discouraged by the amount of things I am or am not involved in. Satan is a liar, a very crafty one, in fact, the Bible says that he is craftier than any other animal on earth, the serpent is more crafty than my little mind (Genesis 3). I’ve listened to these deceptive whispers telling me, “Adam, you’re not good enough, you should be doing more, why aren’t you this or that, Adam you don’t love God, how could you, look at yourself….” I’ve let foolish, wicked thoughts to serenade me. I’ve been wooed by the sweet whispers of a deceiver who wants to destroy me.

In my reductionism I have become like one of the simplest animals on earth, a caterpillar. Not just any caterpillar though, a progressive caterpillar. Progressive caterpillars work in groups and follow this one leader in an effort to work together progressively to obtain what it is they intend to get. Their sweet treat, what they dream about, drool over, is the pine cone though. So scientist did this little experiment with these caterpillars. They put a pine cone in a pot and put the caterpillars around it. They circled the pot for days until they starved to death. The caterpillars weren’t progressive at al in this experiment though, they were simply active or busy. For several days they stayed busy, they had a lot of activity in circling this pot, but they made no steps toward their goal. It’ a danger we al face, especially those doing ministry within the cooperate “church”. I cannot let a ton of activity or lack thereof reduce my thoughts to not loving God because the question is not activity. Like the caterpillars, often we, me, you, are very active, but make little to no progress, we end up starving ourselves. So the reality is that I do love God, but just need to focus on the progress toward whatever plan He has for me rather then the activity. To reduce it down to no love for Him is foolish and exactly what the enemy wants.

So may you stop reducing, stop starving yourself to death as you circle whatever proverbial pot you circle, and focus on a productive lifestyle and walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.

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