Don’t Sweat the Adjectives, Sweat the Verbs

By February 14, 2015Christianity

I have heard the Kingdom of God in many contexts called the “Upside Down” Kingdom—a Kingdom in which counterintuitive principles are at work—a Kingdom in which we humans cannot completely and logically comprehend. This is a Kingdom that embodies values, which contradict the values of this world. God would say that in many cases the pursuits the world around us highly condones are a total waste of time and energy. I want to propose that in real time verbs are the safe employments in the Kingdom of God, conversely, adjectives capriciously reign in the kingdoms of this world. What on earth am I talking about??

An English major (this is Liz writing) giving a spiritual devotional can be absolutely brutal—they may dare to use parts of speech to get their point across to their unsuspecting audience. Just when everyone is on summer break, proper use of grammar is expected when answering questions about a Bible passage. So it was in our home a few days ago. However, as my family devotion unfolded, I found the discussion of verbs and adjectives brought a strange comfort to the Holt audience. Why? Certain, Kingdom crucial verbs can be employed by anyone, anytime. Many adjectives are subjective and less controllable.

The adjectives that we can easily slip into esteeming are illusive. How about the big three? Beautiful, brawny and brainy? What about happy, healthy, wealthy, influential, peaceful, athletic and popular to throw in a few more? These adjectives reflect values that are fleeting, failing and highly conditional. To attempt to be successful (oh, another adjective!) in the realm of flimsy adjectives can lead us to feel frustrated, depressed and inferior.

The other day, our family looked at and studied Psalm 34, one of our favorites! And what are the loads of action points (VERBS) to take up in this psalm? King David, the Psalmist, says in his first verse that he will BLESS the Lord at all times, and a couple verses later that he will MAGNIFY the Lord. He says that if he spends time BLESSING and MAGNIFYING the Lord, the humble will hear of it and become glad. That sounds like a successful and influential endeavor!

In verse 4, this worshipping king says he SOUGHT the Lord, and as a result, the God of the universe actually heard him and delivered him from fear. That sounds like a peaceful state to me! Then, David said in verse 5 that those who LOOKED to God were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed—that sounds like a higher level of beauty and brawn appeared on those devoted faces. Hmm…

Ironically, David, the anointed King of Israel, in verse 6 calls himself “a poor man” and claims that he CRIED out to His God. He got God’s attention again and then got saved out of all his troubles. Sounds like he became a happy guy! And what’s with the angel encamping around him because he chose to FEAR Him? (v.7) That’s a powerful and memorable camping experience!

I like verse 8 so much that I painted it on my kitchen wall, “Oh, TASTE and SEE that the Lord is good…” This verse demonstrates that David by employing verbs, such as magnifying, exalting, trusting, crying out and seeking, experienced a supernatural God who caused him to EXPERIENCE many positive adjectives!

Did I just say that adjectives in the Kingdom of God don’t matter as much as verbs? Well, that’s a point deduction with a red pen! Of course they do! As we launch out with the VERBS in Ps 34, and because the Person of God embodies the ADJECTIVES of loving, merciful, good, powerful, we have a sturdy place to land.

On the Road,