Dream word – BE
“Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptised by him, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?’” NKJV
The deal of death
I might have said this before but like it or not, intended or not, the Paul Newman film classic, Cool Hand Luke is a veritable mine of Christian metaphor.
Taking note of the crucifixion like posturing of Luke following his eating of fifty eggs, to all the crosses at the end of the film, I nevertheless especially like the fact that the character of Luke, is assigned the prison number of 37. Of course Luke 3:7 is our text for tonight and speaks to hypocrites regarding “fleeing the wrath to come!” And what are hypocrites, except those folk who are not true to themselves?
In any event, the film of Cool Hand Luke is on the positive side, the story of a misfit and a rebellious one at that. It is the story of man who will not give up being who is, and in being who he is, brings hope, inspiration and happiness to the rest of the motley chain gang he is in prison with. These, in turn begin to feed on both him and his exploits. Like Luke Jackson, Jesus, in simply being who He was, most certainly clashed with those in authority and in the same way, that clash also most certainly brought life to others! There are many Christ like comparisons to that fact in the film, but for tonight, I have found three things in the movie and in my own life that prove being your authentic self, does bring life and light and hope to others.
First, please note that God has put certain people on this planet, that no matter how hard you or they try, just will not fit the standard mold of things, in any shape or form! These circus folk, these rebels who are too often without a cause, need to be celebrated for who they are and guided in the planning for what they shall become. Unfortunately and very often, all of society’s social misfits, are kept hidden in the attic, or way back in the research and development area of businesses that benefit from their seeming eccentricities but are embarrassed by their exploits. Yes, in one way or another, this circus crowd is always hidden away because of their seemingly weird and wacky ways. Yet given the right kind of encouragement and direction, these shooting stars can shine brighter and longer than anyone ever imagined, across the sky of which they long to streak. Embrace such circus folk with happiness and laughter, for even though they might be firecrackers, they will light up your life and light up your world! God made them and their individuality needs to be seen as a gift and not a curse.
Secondly, know that all of us are cramped in some way by our sin-sick societies. All of us are crippled by unnecessary rules and may I say, most of the sick, restricted, stunted, stayed and stifled people I have ever met are those which have been brought up in, or brought into the church of the living God! Like it or not, that is the truth. The church of the Lord of life, is often more guilty of the control of and perpetuation of death. The church needs to learn to release the uniqueness of the individual within its walls and outside to the world. Oh my, imagine when people are finally served into their destinies! Imagine what an uncontrolled explosion of life and light, might just envelope our communities of boring darkness. Yes boring! For darkness, death and Hell are above all things, boring. Think about that.
Thirdly and most importantly, please recognise the “deal of death” which is often presented to firecrackers. I personally have had this deal presented to me so many times now, that I am astonished that the devil continues with the presentation! Yet he does and throughout the ages of time and the seasons of our life still persists in his coming to us with the same sad deal.
This deal of death and with it, the destruction of destiny, is seen in the Scriptures passing across the lips of the best friend which Jesus ever had on this planet, Peter the rock. Here the devil tries to use this best of friendships to scupper the eternal destiny of the Son of God and all who should be found in Him! “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’” Matthew 16:21-22 NKJV.
This deal of death often comes from the best of places, the best of intentions and the best of friends, yet if you listen you can hear the serpents hissin.’ In the film Cool Hand Luke, it is Luke’s best friend, Dragline, played by George Kennedy, who comes to him after his passion in the church and amidst all the sirens, police and the crazy correctional officers waiting to tear Luke apart, says to him with a nice big hopeful smile, “You’ve got to listen to me, all you’ve got to do is give up, nice and quiet. Just play it cool.”
There you have it! Do you see it? If life, if change, revival, love and light and world shaking can only come through the release of authentic Christians into destinies which are designed uniquely for them, then the devil will always, and I mean always, come to them, come to you and say, “Draw back, be quiet, be cool,” and my dear brother and my brave sister, when that happens, then “what we’ve got here, is a failure to communicate!” For death of both the individual and the team will always follow such cowardly compliance to play it cool and draw back from our own uniqueness. Life will no longer be communicated when the draw back from who we are.
If you want to shake that tree your hiding behind, if you want to shake the earth for Jesus, then you must be all you are in Jesus and do all He wants you to do! Do not let anyone stop you being otherwise. Do not enter any deals of death! No, go on being who you are, for despite the embarrassment of the populace, true and lovely life will always follow hard on the heels of any release of your spirit.
Listen: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” - Psalms 139:13-16 NKJV
Pray: Lord, help us all tonight, to see beyond any restrictive boundaries set for us by others simply wanting us to play it cool, in Jesus name we pray, amen!
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