Transference Temptations

Year B Pentecost 6 – 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10; Psalm 48; 2 Corinthians 12:2-10; Mark 6:1-13

There is a phenomenon in human nature that transfers experiences and emotions from past relationships onto the present. It is the glue-like substance of followers who adhere to their leaders.

The people of Israel made a covenant with David, transferring their past experiences with David under Saul. They desired protection from enemy armies and invested their loyalty into David, expecting him to protect them. They desired a care-free life with no worries of enemy invasion into their everyday lives.

The Psalmist continues this human curiosity, transferring all problems to God’s leadership. Trusting in divine leadership is often expressed in Christian terminology as Faith. This cardinal virtue, however, does not absolve personal responsibility.

The Old Testament recognition of human desire that seeks guidance to deliver from life’s problems is countered in the New Testament. Power is found in Grace and respect in Faith!

The apostle contrasts divine leadership with virtues not always valued as equivalent to deliverance from problems. Rather than expecting leadership out of problems, Christian Faith encourages relationship in problems. There is untapped power in submitting to Life’s happenings and handling them with Grace.

Rather than transferring your emotions and expectations for God to deliver you from a situation, embrace it as an opportunity to draw closer to God in fellowship and improve your character of being.

Jesus was amazed at the unbelief of his family. They were blinded to his demonstration of power and deaf to his words of wisdom. They were looking to transfer expectations to a promised Messiah. We are often like them, refusing to believe divine living includes engagement with unclean persons and spirits. They were looking for a conquering hero. Jesus is all that – but not in the way they were expecting.

Rather than living with expectations from God and questioning:

  • “Why doesn’t God hear me?” or
  • “Why doesn’t God deliver me from this situation?” and such like questions;

Reverse the question and ask yourself: “What does God expect from me?”


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Published by St Johns Papatoetoe

Presbyterian Church, Hunters Corner, Papatoetoe, Auckland, New Zealand belonging to Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ).

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