It is practically mandatory that any self-respecting Calgarian attend the Calgary Stampede, a cross between a rodeo, midway, and an exhibition that takes place in early July. Calgary is a huge metropolitan city. Most Calgarians have never seen a horse or a cow up close and personal. And yet, for ten days out of every year, businesspeople trade conservative suits for jeans and boots. Flapjacks and sausages replace sushi and salads.
When I reached my midteens, my parents allowed me to visit the fairgrounds with my friends and without parental supervision. Although I would wander around the Midway and take the occasional ride, I would eventually leave my thrill-seeking friends and find my way to the commercial exhibit section. It was a treasure trove of colour, friendly banter, and free entertainment in the form of professional pitchman trying to sell their wares. The slick spiel of the K-Tel slicer demonstrator never failed to amuse me. “It slices; it dices! It cuts a perfect julienne! Just rinse it under the tap; such easy cleanup!” Standing far back from the main stage, I chuckled as the charming salesperson reeled in his catch, enticing his potential victims with the famous words, “But wait! There’s more!”
After applauding enthusiastically at the performance, I moved on to the next booth. With an air of cynical amusement and intellectual superiority, I’d watch as pots and pans were crowned the miracle marvels of the twentieth century. At the end of the day, I’d meet up with my friends, smug in the knowledge that my only purchase was a raspberry flavoured snow cone. Yes, I could see right through the con artists, and I still had money in my pocket!
Suspicion and Prideful Cynicism are Seductive Snares
As time went on, I became prideful. I believed my suspicious nature was what spared me from the fate of several of my friends who fell prey to multilevel marketing schemes that promised incredible fail-safe returns. Unfortunately, several of my friends lost thousands of dollars when a shaky investment and mortgage financial programme endorsed by our church fell apart. In my cynical mind, my trusting friends were bamboozled by charming and clever men who were nothing more than fairground carnies. Unfortunately, my cynicism placed blinders on my spirit and I treated any new teaching in my church with the same disdain I gave the K-Tel salesman.
Perhaps my attitude spared me from heartaches and costly financial mistakes. However, it created problems in relationships and my spiritual walk. Instead of being sympathetic as my friends faced economic hardship as a result of those scams, I became judgmental toward them. Chronic cynicism was a cancer that eroded my hope, faith, and generosity. It deafened my ears to God. Yes, suspicion was the enemy of my faith. Once it was exposed, I faced a hard battle to transform my thinking and soften my heart. My weapons of choice? God’s Word and immediate response to Holy Spirit’s conviction every time I slipped into wrong thinking. I relentlessly chose to believe that God’s intentions were, and always will be, to bless me and that scepticism was not a Spiritual gift.
Cynicism and Scepticism are not Fruits of the Spirit
While the Lord calls me to be wise and discerning, He reminds me that godly discernment cannot dwell in a distrustful heart. God has no ulterior motive. What he says he will do, he will do. If he says to wait because there is more, there will be more. I cannot receive His gifts without first taking Him at His Word. I can’t wield weapons of self-protection and wear the full armour of God at the same time. I must lay down my shield for his. What I get in exchange is beyond imagination!
James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
But wait! There’s more!
Revelation 22:17 – “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
If you have allowed scepticism to take root in the garden of your heart, you probably feel God calling you to uproot it. This will take diligence on your part, not just to weed it out but to keep it from returning. Begin by repenting. Change the way you think. Repent of judgments you have made about other people, churches, or organisations. Be discerning but be wary of judgmental attitudes that disguise themselves as discernment. A little tip, one way you can tell the difference between godly insight and fleshly scepticism is this. If you feel resentment, bitterness, or hatred toward someone or something, more than likely any discernment you think you sense is tainted.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week,
©2019 Katherine Walden
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