If we are to believe him, George W Bush spends some minutes every morning reading words of inspiration and communing prayerfully with his god. In odd-numbered years, the words he reads are from the Bible. (I wish we knew which passages or books - probably Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation, but who knows?) In even-numbered years, he reads from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest. So, this year, as I've done previously, I regularly check the online version of My Utmost.. to find out what ideas might be influencing the president that day. I'm often not at all reassured by what I have read. Today's is typically worrying.
Do It Yourself (1)
. . . casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God . . . —2 Corinthians 10:5
Determinedly Demolish Some Things. Deliverance from sin is not the same as deliverance from human nature. There are things in human nature, such as prejudices, that the saint can only destroy through sheer neglect. But there are other things that have to be destroyed through violence, that is, through God’s divine strength imparted by His Spirit. There are some things over which we are not to fight, but only to "stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord . . ." (see Exodus 14:13). But every theory or thought that raises itself up as a fortified barrier "against the knowledge of God" is to be determinedly demolished by drawing on God’s power, not through human effort or by compromise (see 2 Corinthians 10:4).
It is only when God has transformed our nature and we have entered into the experience of sanctification that the fight begins. The warfare is not against sin; we can never fight against sin— Jesus Christ conquered that in His redemption of us. The conflict is waged over turning our natural life into a spiritual life. This is never done easily, nor does God intend that it be so. It is accomplished only through a series of moral choices. God does not make us holy in the sense that He makes our character holy. He makes us holy in the sense that He has made us innocent before Him. And then we have to turn that innocence into holy character through the moral choices we make. These choices are continually opposed and hostile to the things of our natural life which have become so deeply entrenched — the very things that raise themselves up as fortified barriers "against the knowledge of God." We can either turn back, making ourselves of no value to the kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things, allowing Jesus to bring another son to glory (see Hebrews 2:10).
Each person who reads Chambers' words will interpret them in their own way. It is possible to read the above passage as an exhortation to destroy the barriers within ourselves which keep us stuck in our 'natural life'. But I can also imagine that someone like George W Bush could interpret those words as justifying violence to advance God's cause. I do wish Laura would find something less psychosis-inducing for him to read in even-numbered years than My Utmost for His Highest.