How do you make cobra wine?
Step 1 – Catch cobra.
Step 2 – Put cobra in jug of rice wine.
Step 3 – Seal lid on. Tightly.
From what I can tell, the hardest part of making cobra wine is catching the cobra, but isn’t that true of most cobra-based beverages?
What’s that you say? You’re more of a scorpion wine guy? You feel like it tends to have better undertones of raspberry and oak and scorpion? I’ve heard that myself.
But I can’t say for certain, as I didn’t taste either variety of wine. (Although I hear 2009 was a particularly excellent vintage of cobra.)
Snapping photos of the fun sights in the mountains of Vietnam was a blast, but it wasn’t my biggest takeaway from the trip. Despite my obvious penchant for snake jokes, seeing those jugs of wine was not what I will remember most from the trip. In addition to the miraculous story I told you about a guy named Hoa, what stuck with me from the trip most was something someone said off hand one day.
Tim, an American who has lived in Vietnam for 18 years as a missionary, mentioned something while we were driving around Hanoi. Here is what he said:
“You know, when the Vietnamese bump into Christ, they go deep in their faith really quickly. They get gifted deeply and really build a strong faith in a short amount of time.”
That surprised me a little, and I asked him why. His answer surprised me even more:
“Well,” he said, “the Vietnamese are a spirit-based people. They grew up with animism and ancestor worship. They get that we’re spirit beings living in a world that is not our final destination. They’re in touch with the role of the spirit in our lives. They get the Holy Spirit. Sometimes Christians in America have a harder time grasping that part of faith.”
That short conversation caught me off guard and exposed something in my own life.
I’ve got a whole lot of religion, but very little spirituality.
For the last year, I’ve worked as hard as I possibly can on being a good steward of the talents I feel like God has given me. I’ve spoken all over the country. I wrote Quitter. I balanced my family and my dream and hustled more than I ever have before. And the truth is, I put blood, sweat and tears into my own effort-based natural results.
Hustle, I understand. If you work hard, certain things happen. If you work harder than the next guy, certain things happen. If you push and strive, good things can happen.
But, along the way, I feel like I lost touch with the Holy Spirit. I got so focused on my own natural results, of seeing the progress of my effort, that I lost sight of the supernatural.
My faith became mechanical and mathematical. Here’s the thing, though: I don’t want to live a life based on my efforts.
It’s exhausting. Before I was a Christian, trying to fix myself and numb the things that hurt was exhausting. Now that I’m a Christian, trying to make life work on my own is just as tiring.
I don’t want that kind of faith.
I want spirit-driven faith. I want deep, soaked-in-the-Holy Spirit faith. I don’t want to experience the best of what Jon Acuff is capable. That’s small and tiny and insignificant. I want to experience the best of what God is capable. A supernatural God who breathed life into me and set the stars in place and moves with as much mystery and creativity as he did when he wrote a message on the wall for a king or burned a talking bush for a prophet.
I don’t want to be in charge of my growth, with effort-based faith that hollows me out and leaves me shiny on the outside and empty in the middle.
I want Christ to be in charge of my growth. A Christ that didn’t say to the disciples, “Come and you will learn how to be fishers of men.” A Christ who said, “Come and I will make you fishers of men.”
If you and I believed for a second that the same power that raised Christ from the dead was in us, can you fathom how different that day would be?
I wish I could wrap this post up with three neat little steps on how to fix the situation and live a spirit-based life. But to do so puts me right back into effort mode.
Today, my prayer for me, and maybe for you if you’ve been living a 2D faith too, is that we won’t get comfortable in the natural. That we’ll learn to rest and return to a God who is, always has been, and always will be supernatural.