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Breaking the power of cynicism

I’ve spent too many years as a Jesus-follower mired in the sin of unbelief. What’s worse, I allowed it to bleed over into my attitude, cynical about things I hadn’t seen. What a waste! A lot of people these days are cynical, and that’s fine, but why bother trying to follow Jesus, a man who placed…
By Seth Barnes

I’ve spent too many years as a Jesus-follower mired in the sin of unbelief. What’s worse, I allowed it to bleed over into my attitude, cynical about things I hadn’t seen. What a waste! A lot of people these days are cynical, and that’s fine, but why bother trying to follow Jesus, a man who placed such a high priority on faith?  By definition, you can’t be a cynic and a man of faith.

I heard about a Christian leader who was sharing Jesus with a stranger.  The stranger asked him, “Aren’t you ashamed to share this?” He replied, “How could I be ashamed? I’ve been a witness to God’s power!”

Many Americans have never seen God’s power like this. Some of us fulfill Paul’s prediction: “People will be lovers of themselves…having a form of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

A lot of us modern Jesus-followers have been caught up in learning.  But we’ve not seen the reality of what we’ve learned. So when push comes to shove, we become cynical. That cynicism itself has power, a power that must be broken if we are ever to experience the abundant life Jesus promised. But how?

The good news is that God wants to help us break the power of cynicism. I found this great little piece of scripture about this. In Ezekiel, it says that when the Jews struggled with it, God said the following to them:

“What is this proverb you have: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’? [ahem, I’m ticked]

Say to them: ‘I am going to put an end to this proverb and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’

Say to them: ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled.’ [I’m going to root out the source of the cynicism]

For there will be no more false visions…

But I the Lord will speak…and it shall be fulfilled without delay.” (Ezekiel 12:22-25)

Here are some things we can conclude from this passage:

  1. People grow cynical when visions die and when words don’t measure up to reality.
  2. God hates cynicism.
  3. God loves faith and builds it on His promise.
  4. The devil mimics vision in order to produce cynicism.
  5. God destroys cynicism by speaking vision and fulfilling vision.

Faith may not be easy, but they call us “believers” because we’ve got it. To sit in the seat of the scoffer is to deny God’s power; it is to fail to align ourselves with Him.

Those of us who find ourselves trapped in a rut of cynicism that denies God’s power are in a dangerous spot. Perhaps our faithlessness is fed by our friends or perhaps it’s just been so long since we’ve exercised our faith muscle that it’s grown flabby.

Whatever the reason, the passage from Ezekiel leads us to conclude that God doesn’t like cynicism, that, in fact, He loves faith. There are probably some areas in your life where the hopeful visions of yesterday have died. Change begins with a decision: “I will choose to stop disbelieving.” Maybe it’s time to ask Him for a fresh revelation. God is trustworthy; whatever He tells you, you can believe it. Indeed, believing it is your only way out of the rut of cynicism.

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