I came across a reference to a Stephen Crane short story in which he stated that a certain character was not even a noun, but only an adverb. I have never read that story, so I found myself pondering what in the world he must have meant by that. My mind wandered all over, eventually to spiritual matters. How could one be an adverb instead of a noun?
Then it struck me. What is it the apostle John says of God? Not that He acts lovingly, but that He is love. It is one thing to act in a loving manner on occasion, and quite another to be the very embodiment of love.
If someone said of me that I had acted rudely, I would hope it was a momentary lapse in my usual behavior. However, if someone said I was rudeness personified, it would mean that courtesy was a momentary lapse; that my habit was to behave rudely in practically every situation. One is a stronger accusation than the other by far. You can apologize for one. The other requires a complete change in character.
If someone called you a Scrooge, you would instantly understand that they think you are greedy and miserly. The Bible uses similar language when it uses terms like “sons of disobedience.” It is not that difficult a concept to grasp.
So how would people describe me this morning? Am I kindness personified? Am I the embodiment of wisdom? Or am I the epitome of childishness, or pettiness, or malice? What noun are you?
And then there is this further consideration: can I even become a noun? Am I too inconsistent or too weak to become what God requires of me on a regular basis? Can I ever hope to have someone say of me, “She is love,” or, “She is joy,” or “She is faith?”
A small thought for the morning, but one that could make a huge difference in our lives.
For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again…Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new, 2 Cor 5:14,15,17.