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‘Peter Pan’ Faith

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV

This post is an appeal to pray that the Body of Christ on the earth may receive grace to resist the coercion to play make believe. Peter Pan is an iconic story of a little boy who never wanted to grow up. By magical thinking, he coerced as many as possible to participate in his fantasy adventures.

There is a psychological condition labelled ‘the peter pan syndrome’ about just such a phenomena. It is experienced by men who simply refuse to grow up and take on the responsibilities of manhood. My un-credentialed observations are that these kind of men are often attracted to women who allow them to remain immature. They project onto their wives what they came to expect from their mothers. These man -boys will continue to expect their wives to nurture them and cover for their immature behavior.

Often when women discover this trait in their husbands, they will become resentful and/ or scornful of their husbands. At the same time these emotionally impaired men resent the control that their surrogate mother wives have over them.

Of course there are many women with sociopathic tendencies who love these arrangements. These women are often attracted to political power in order to exercise a broader locus of control. (the same can be said of sociopathic men who love to charm others into their locus of control).

When this Peter Pan syndrome of emotional dependency becomes normative in society, it appears that there tends to be a greater acceptance of things ‘that just ain’t so’. Submersion into virtual reality blinds people from seeing the truth. Ridiculous claims of multiple gender identities, denial of biological differences and the institutionalization of perverse fantasy becomes normative. Aberrant societal norms become ‘reality’ and the truth becomes the aberrant societal norm.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Isaiah 5:20 KJV

This willful ignorance in turn paralyses a society from both emotional and physical readiness for hard times. The resulting panic and fear that come from external threats make it much easier for an adversary to control and shape a society.

Those who do not go along with these make believe fantasies are labelled in threatening terms and marginalized as much as possible. This is where the church is most vulnerable to redefining the truth. Great care needs to be taken that the Holy Spirit be allowed to prepare men and women to exercise scriptural boundaries in their homes and in their local churches.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that in the end times, people would not endure sound doctrine, (2 timothy 4:3) it would have hardly seemed thinkable that the sound doctrine rejected would be something so fundamental as the definition of what a man is or what a woman is.

The quote at the start of this post is from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and it was written in the context of exercising spiritual gifts. The point that he appears to be making here is that as the church matures, many of these early sign gifts will become superfluous toys of a child’s experience. They are all to be exercised in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit and not in the exercise of traditions.

One reason that traditions are so hard to move away from is that are often there to meet the needs of the immature. If Christians never grow in faith, they will cling to their traditions;

If our hope is built on nothing less than the Pastor’s notes and Sabbath rest, we will cling to our traditions;

If our love is rooted and grounded in the faith of our fathers instead of our faith being rooted and grounded in love, (Ephesians 3:16-19) we will cling to our traditions.

If we cling to the knowledge of our traditions, we will never know the love of Christ that passes knowledge (Ephesians 3:19).

Embrace the Grace

The Apostle argues that the signs of maturity are the exercise of these abiding principles of faith, hope and love. In contrast, the signs of immaturity are the practice of ‘sign gifts’ independent of the Holy Spirit. These are purely expressions of ‘make-believe religion’.

This is false religion that hinders the exercise of the Holy Spirit from producing those transcending characteristics of Christian maturity. Ignorance of these things allow the enemy to come in to steal, to kill and to scatter the sheep. How many have been stumbled by false expectations of a ‘faith healer’ to which God sovereignly chose to answer “No”. (God’s denials to us are designed to lead us to God’s desires for us)

In contrast to this ignorance, we are counseled to embrace the grace of God.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

Titus 2:11-12 KJV

I think that it is more common than not that each of us, to varying degrees, walks in ignorance of God’s grace. If it were otherwise, this counsel would be pointless. Peter Pan faith gives us a skewed view of reality. On the other hand, the grace of God disciplines us to ‘live soberly’, i.e. with a clear understanding of reality. We do this by making a practice of denying ourselves. Don’t panic!…this is not the same thing as self-denial.

The practice of denying ourselves is more simply put, a change of focus from ourselves (ungodliness and worldly lusts) to the eternal promises and person of Christ. Self-denial on the other hand is a form of will worship and self imposed austerity. We use this as a bargaining chip with God. Through magical thinking we try and manipulate Him into giving us what we want.

The Holy Spirit does not necessarily call us to a life of austerity, but He does call us to live with an eternal perspective that defines reality. We are heirs to the coming kingdom!…this is our reality now. We are not at home here in this present world.

There is no magical thinking to taking God at His Word…It’s time for Peter Pan to grow up.

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smc

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