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The blessings of believing that Jesus is who He said He is are largely forfeited when we don’t go on to believe that we are who He says we are.

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I am currently reading, “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs”, which was originally published in 1563.  While fumbling through the old English text can be a little challenging, there are also some unusual phrases that really resonate.  One of those is found in the description of the Apostle Andrew at the time of his martyrdom.  Knowing what awaited him, Foxe describes Andrew’s state as he marched toward crucifixion.  “Going toward the place, and seeing afar off the cross prepared, did neither change countenance nor colour, neither did his blood shrink, neither did he fail in his speech, his body fainted not, neither was his mind molested, nor did his understanding fail him, as it is the manner of men to do”.

 

While this is no doubt a beautiful portrait of unshakable faith, I was especially taken with the image of a mind that has been “molested”.  The word molestation has some interesting inferences, which makes it especially meaningful in this context.  Molestation almost always involves a child, or at least an innocent.  It also tends to be initiated by someone close to the victim, like a family member, a teacher, a coach, or maybe even an older child.  Often, the perpetrators of such crimes wrap their insidious intent in a cloak of legitimate authority, empathy, or even affection.   Because of this guise, these predators generally don’t have to break down the door, as their unsuspecting victims willing let them in.  And in all of this I see profound parallels to the manner in which our minds become corrupted from pure and simple devotion to the person of Jesus Christ.

 

More so than the hollow and deceptive philosophies of this world, I sense that it is the false doctrines of religion that have most defiled our understanding of Christ, and His Kingdom.  Generally, these things came to us when we were as yet still children in the faith, and dressed in their priestly robes, we succumbed to their implied authority.  Years later, and far removed from those circumstances, the taint of these formative experiences continues to stain our thinking, and distort our vision.  Like Andrew, the key to our freedom lies within a genuine relationship with the man Jesus.  We need to get past those things which have simply come to represent Him, and engage with Him actively and directly.

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