Accidie

30 06 2010

Accidie: ‘an inner sourness, cynicism, apathy and indifference, that makes a person scornful of others; the outworking of spiritual sloth’.

Many of God’s people, fine people, forgiven people, who have once known the joy of God’s grace, in Christ Jesus – have later experienced some measure of ‘accidie‘. Often, Christians are disappointed with their faith, at that point. They are further doubtful about, and even critical of their ministries and their gospel, and themselves, when they experience ‘accidie’. Many feel that those days of high devotion, great enthusiasm and eagerness in the gospel, were a fleeting, partial-illusion. The return to the level plains, seems such a harsh reality check, from the mountain top moments.

One of the problems, for Christians, is that the event of the death and resurrection of Jesus can seem so far removed from daily life.  The remedy of course, does not merely lie with new resolve (more unrewarding self-driving commitment) but with the Holy Spirit stirring us anew, and coming to us, in one way, or another, or another, or – yet another; and of course, a great help, is our corresponding ‘fanning into flame’, any dark ember left with the faintest warmth, or glow.

The role of the Holy Spirit is in large measure to bring the ‘immediacy’ of Jesus crucified and risen, to our lives.  ‘Awake!’ His triumph over sin, for us, in us, and with us, is an amazing event —the amazing event of all of human history.  The totality of sin dealt with once, for all is stunning. Even the sin of accidie, he takes away…. The reality of of Jesus near, present, and powerfully at work in his Lordship, can, should and will, constrain us, yet again to listen to him, hear his voice, meditate upon his Word and rejoice in his grace.

Accidie is not the last word, in any human life. But it is one of the experiences, any genuine Christian can have, from time to time. If you have got it, or some, I do not envy you. And I do not try to cajole you out of it. And I do not even need to think about when or how that may happen. I just say this: ‘The Lord is near’! His resurrection power is able. Take heart! (Even if the feelings are all to the contrary; a grim, glib smile will do!).

So, if you have accidie and you are Christian, then you can join the momentary club, that many others have joined at one time or another. If it lasts a while longer, than you had hoped – yea, well…. so be it.

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