Unfulfilled Believer Syndrome 

 

Tragically, we so often read of Yahweh's people carrying the names of Baal or other gods within their own names- e.g. Merib-baal (1 Chron. 8:34; 9:40); Ishbaal (1 Chron. 8:33; 9:39); Baal-yada (1 Chron. 14:7); and perhaps worst of all, Baal-Yah (1 Chron. 12:5). Is our 'name' or personality before God the same tragic mixture of flesh and spirit?

We suffer, I suggest, from the 'unfulfilled believer' syndrome. The anger and resentment which there evidently is in our community stems from this. Many of us seem to partly believe, but not fully; we are trapped by our conscience. We can't openly resign our faith; for " Lord, to whom shall we go?" . And our conscience simply won't let us. Especially for those born in the Faith, to quit often isn't an option. And yet those in this position aren't fully committed to the Lord's way either, they won't let themselves go in the life of total devotion. And so a sense of being trapped arises, a sense of unfulfilment, a sense of being unwilling to go forward to total devotion but unable to go back to the world; unable to completely dedicate themselves to the world's way, and yet unwilling to throw themselves in wholeheartedly to the Lord's way; and so passive anger, envy, jealousy and resentment develops, often against those who have decided clearly and openly which way they have dedicated themselves to. But the fact is, in God's eyes there's no third way, no sitting in the middle. We are either passionately for Him, or pitted against Him. Whether or not we see it like that doesn't change how He sees it, and therefore how it ultimately is.

This unfulfilled believer syndrome is especially evident in the context of serving mammon. The brother or sister who give themselves unreservedly to the building up of their career or business while still claiming to believe will have this problem. They are trying to make a third way, to have a little of both, when actually this position doesn't exist in God's eyes. You either give your soul, the very core of your  being, to Him and Him alone; or you turn away from Him, on the slippery road to Wigan Pier, to nowhere, to eternal, eternal oblivion. A practical warning ought to be sounded about even choosing to train for careers, or even attempting to obtain jobs, which evidently require the employee to give their soul to the job, and nothing less. The high salaries paid are tacit recognition of this.

But this unfulfilled believer syndrome is also true on a more abstract level. There is what I'd call 'The harder side of God'; the God who (according to His word) doesn't save unbaptized children (or adults), the God who will only resurrect a few of all those billions of humans who have lived, the God who allows the most terrible suffering to come upon men, children and animals who are not in His purpose, the God who allows countless millions to think from His word that they know Him and His salvation, when in fact they don't; and those " many" people will be met with the dismissive comment: " I never knew you: depart from me" (Mt. 7:23). This is the harder side of God, the side we'd rather not see. God almost seems to underline the hardness of it in the way He records His word; thus He emphasizes that the " little ones" of the Canaanite cities were to be killed by the sword (Dt. 2:34), the male babies of the Midianites were to be killed by God's command (Num. 31:17; which was exactly what Herod ordered). The unfulfilled believer will accept the gracious side of God (which is undoubtedly the aspect more emphasized in the Bible), but refuse to really accept this other side, while passively admitting that this harder aspect of God is revealed in His word. But it's all or nothing. We either accept the self-revelation of God in the Bible, or we reject it- that's how He sees it. Our temptation is to think that God sees things as we see them, to think that God is merely an ideal human being. But the day of judgment will reveal otherwise (Ps. 50:21). He is God, not man. It is not for us to set the terms. As the Lord taught in His parable of the approaching army, it's either total, abject surrender before the King of Heaven, accepting whatever terms He asks, or a foolhardy attempt to meet Him in head on confrontation (Lk. 14:31). Those who challenge the harder side of God are often called 'brave'; but their 'bravery' is foolhardy rebellion against the sovereign Almighty.

Unfulfilled believer syndrome also surfaces in a refusal to face up to truly loving and accepting our brother. We take a third road of indifferent tolerance to far too many. We don't sort out the issues we perceive to be between us. We let the separation and cold contact drift on. Straight after teaching His men to pray, the Lord immediately added a comment about the need to forgive our brother. It's as if He was saying: 'OK, I know that part of the prayer will be hard for you. But you've got to do it'. Having spoken of the need to tolerate our brother, the Lord Jesus repeated His common theme: that there is no third road: " Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye...? For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Lk. 6:41-43). There's no third position. Either we love our brother, and bring forth good fruit; or we don't get down to it, and bring forth bad fruit. We can't sometimes bring forth good, sometimes bad. At heart, we are either loving or selfishly hateful. Anything less than following Yahweh with all our heart is seen as doing evil in His eyes (1 Kings 11:6).