Monday, December 31, 2007

Here's where the frogs come from...

Oh, to see noble and Biblical-sounding things in the Spirit, so that others might be impressed with my wisdom and spirituality. Instead, today I saw frogs. Lots of frogs.

The vision revolved around the old high-school biology legend about a frog placed in a pan of water. The idea is that if one increases the temperature of the water slowly enough, the frog will not jump out of the pan and will eventually be boiled where he sits. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the legend, but the idea is central to the vision.

I was a frog (Paul gets to go to the third heaven, I get this) among many other frogs in a large pool of water. Somehow, I realized that the water had become very hot, and I jumped out onto the side of the pool. Here I noticed several things:

1) None of the other frogs seemed to be as uncomfortable in the pool as I had been. Certainly no one else had jumped out.

2) After the heat of the pool, I was shivering. My first strong inclination was to hop back into the pool where it was warm. But even as I sat on the poolside, my body temperature began to adjust, and it became harder and harder to contemplate going back in. Soon I was seeing the pool as a developing frog stew, not as a place to live.

3) My next inclination was to somehow get the other frogs out of the perilous pool. But my attempts to grab every frog in sight and snatch them out of the pool met with failure. As fast as I could yank them out, they would begin to shiver and would dive back in to the warmth of the pool.

4) Shouting at the frogs to warn them did no good. “What do you know?” they would reply. “There you are, where no self-respecting frog would be. If you were in here with us, we might listen to you.” But by this time, nothing could have driven me back into that burgeoning frog-leg soup.

5) But I could not simply leave my brother amphibians to their fate. So I was relegated to sitting on the side of the pool, waiting for the occasional frog to get hot under the collar (do frogs have collars?), and then helping those particular frogs out of the water.

In this vision, the pool is the current religious system, and the frogs are the believers who live in that system. The rest is easily interpreted from there. The spiritual corruption of the kingdoms of men is insidious and works its way into our consciousness until we believe we are truly in the will of God. By the grace of God, the Spirit speaks to us to be conformed to Christ and not to the systems. That path is the way to life, but is hard on the natural man. And even when we have begun to see the kingdom of God, we can only teach, encourage and intercede for others. But we have no authority to force them out of man’s ways and into God’s purposes. Even as the Holy Spirit has spoken to us, so can He be trusted to speak to our brothers. He will use us to speak to our brothers as a part of His working, not our own best intentions.

In sharing this vision with the brothers (and don’t think that doesn’t take some nerve), there were other observations.

· Many people who are saved never experience the “warming pool”. They are born and happily live in the natural environment they are destined to inhabit. They will not miss anything if they never set foot in the pool. There is no need to send them there.

· Not everyone is called to be a “frog lifeguard”. But there are those who God is stationing on the edge of the pool for an eventual exodus by many who finally “feel the heat”.

· Our fellow frogs may resist our helping them out of the pool if we have previously been known to “gig the frogs”. If we have poked people unlovingly for their current positions, they may be understandably wary of us.

· There is a strong temptation to judge everyone who insists on remaining in the pool. But even as some are called to rescue, and many are called to intercede, none of us is called to judge.