What Do I Need Manners For?

My all time favorite movie is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Hands down.  I grew up watching Jane Powell fall-in-love-at-first-sight with Howard Keel over, and over…and over.  You cannot persuade me away from its magnificence.  CinemaScope!  Technicolor!  Barn raisings!  Avalanches!  Dance sequences involving lumberjacks and axes!  This film has it all!

When I was younger, most of the romantic nuances between Millie and Adam (Powell and Keel) were lost on me.  I always liked a line Adam delivered though, as Millie was trying to civilize his six brothers, “What do I need manners for?  I already got me a wife!”  It was funny to me, as a child; and now I love it because of the semi-domesticity the two share in that moment: his obtuse male comment and her wife-ish rolling eyes.  I’m telling you: this movie is gold!

That may be a cutesy, classic movie moment, but the reasoning is yet pervasive today.  While many of us don’t put it to words, our actions show that we feel we’ve arrived and can now relax our behavior and standards.  It would be shameful enough to apply this lazy logic to basic relationships (friends, family, spouses, etc.); but we hold this in mind when we approach Christ.

The holy fear and trembling; the passionate awareness of grace; the unending need to remain in the presence of the Savior and King; the fright of letting a soul slip through our fingers into eternal torment – all things that once characterized and drove our Christian walk, things that have been abandoned.  Instead of humbling ourselves at the Throne, we scramble into thrones and proclaim our royalty.  Excitement and exuberance is reserved for new converts, and young disciples.  Why chase after God, when we already have Him?

A.W. Tozer may have expressed it best:

We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic, which insists that if we have found Him, we need no more seek Him…Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.  Acute desire must be present, or there will be no manifestation of Christ in His people.  He waits to be wanted. (“The Pursuit of God” pg. 16, 17)

We can never be comfortable with what we know of Christ, because there is always more to discover!  Our souls were created in such a way that they thrive when plunged into His fullness, and weaken when drawn from it.  It is a dangerous thing to settle down, a fearsome thing to slow our chase to a walk.

He is worthy of our best efforts; and there is such a thing as spiritual etiquette.  A lazy lover is so utterly offensive.  How can we treat Christ as though we don’t recognize and revere His worth?  Let’s stop with the tired, yawning moments of worship, and be alert when we commune with the Creator of the Universe.  Renounce the scheduled interaction, and embrace the spontaneous overflowing of His Spirit.  Reignite the fire – the all-consuming fire, not the all-convenient fire!

THE BOTTOM LINE: Just because we have the privilege of Christ’s presence in our lives doesn’t mean we should lose our desperation for it.  Don’t stop wooing and chasing the Lover of our soul, He deserves a pleasing pursuit.

Helpful Scriptures:

Deuteronomy 4:29//Psalm 27:4//Psalm 42:1-2//Psalm 63//Psalm 84//Proverbs 13:4//Philippians 1:21//Revelation 3:14-22

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