Here is another example of Tony Evans taking the ordinary events of life and building it into his message.
Now remember from our initial discussion of this rhetorical technique (Choose & Use), that we are not just talking about using illustrations, but how he . . . .
- calls up
- points to
- brings in
- purposefully selects
. . . . key elements from “the natural world,” which are to be included in the first half of the illustration for mindful inclusion into the second half of the “illustration’s-application.”
He purposefully selects those specific “natural world elements,” words, and wording . . . . BECAUSE he is going to use those very elements and “swing them down” into the spiritual application.
Evans’ choice and emphasis on the “natural world elements” are remarkably purposeful as he anticipates being able to drive those very elements in the coming application of the illustration!
HIGHWAY DRIVING: from “In Pursuit Of Godliness”
Key Element– the effect of “his presence”
If I’m driving down the highway and a policeman pulls up beside me, I’m forced to drive in the light of his presence. His presence affects my driving. My foot goes off of the accelerator and left toward the brake. If I am going faster than him, but still within the speed limit, I won’t pass him because I am affected by his presence. Once I know he is there, it changes my driving habits. However, if he drives off, and I am no longer in the light of his presence, I can go back to my same old sinful ways. The reason I can go back to my sinful lifestyle of driving over the speed limit is that I am no longer driving in the light of his presence. The moment I see that he left me and I can dismiss him from my mind, my lifestyle changes. When it came to driving, I had become a sinful man. However, if the policeman showed up again, I got holy again. The reason I would get holy is because his presence would’ve shown up.
That’s the effect of living and acting with an awareness of someone’s presence.
As I have previously stated, we can not only think, we can think about our thinking. Likewise, a comedian can not only be funny, but the nature of “funniness” can be quantified — How does that humorous technique work? For instance, some humor comes from giving an answer or finishing a statement that is unexpected, or in an unexpected way. Once I understand that methodology – I can use it — even in a sermon!
Once I understand how the technique works, I can then use the technique!
If I wanted to change the “key element” . . . .
- from the officer’s is “presence”
- to the officer’s “power”/”authority,”
. . . . the choice of imagery and wording would change, even though the general picture might be and can be the same.
Let’s give it a try … off the cuff .. here goes . . . .
Key Element– the effect of “power” or “authority”
If I’m driving down the highway and a policeman pulls up in his marked car beside me, I can see who he is. His car tells me he has powers I don’t have. I’m forced to drive differently. His authority has affected my driving. My foot goes off of the accelerator and left toward the brake. If I am going faster than him, but still within the speed limit, I won’t pass him because I am affected by his power or his authority. I know that he has been given the power to pull me over and I don’t want to give him any reason to think that I do not understand his authority.
I understand his policing powers and it changes my driving habits. However, if he drives off, and I am driving along with others who have no such authority, I can go back to my same old sinful ways. In fact, my fellow sinners who are driving alongside me also encourage me to get back to my sinfulness. They know that I have no authority and I know that they have no authority. None of our cars have any markings which speak of authority!
The reason I can go back to my sinful lifestyle of driving over the speed limit is that I am no longer affected by any visible sense of authority. The moment I see that the marked car is out of sight I dismiss it from my mind and my lifestyle changes back. I am back to my authority as to what is safe and right. When it came to driving, I had become a sinful man. However, if that police car showed up again, I got holy again. The reason I would get holy is because my authority is no longer in play — that car is a sign of his power and it has again shown up.
That’s the effect of living and acting with a keen awareness of someone’s power and/or authority. Be assured, He has all the “marks of power” which determine what happens on the roads we’re traveling.