8.15.2007

Spiritual Formation

I am still interested in all the things I can read on philosophy and ethics and religion and psychology and sociology and human biology . . .

I am grateful that I can have putting-the-pieces-together-into-a-new-theory-and-then-testing-them-out as a life-long pursuit, and that God has given me a life where there is time and there are resources for me to enjoy that pursuit frequently.

But I am so glad for a daily walk with the One Who already has it all figured out, Who made it all, and Who made me.

The Way, the Truth, and the Life promises me daily comfort in my pains, daily direction in my walk, and the ability to "find" meaning in life as I lay down my own agendas and perceptions and choose to follow His.

What an interesting journey! ... daily discipleship where I am permitted some of the time to indulge my desire to analyze and understand "how it all works". But to get there, I have had to learn that often obedience means "just do what I say, and let me explain later", and that often later may mean on the other side of the grave and the resurrection of my body.

Ethics is one area that I'd like very much to understand and be able to teach effectively, point by point. That was one of the areas that Jesus taught on extensively, wasn't it? But I am increasingly convinced that ethics boils down to one central value that drives all others (I know, nothing new here for those who've read the Sermon on the Mount, or pretty much anything else of Jesus' teaching). LOVE of an object, acted out in real ways . . . not just a floaty, non-specific "love" of all men or of the world or of God, even . . . but LOVE of God and the people He brings in front of me each day acted out by acting in their best interest, which may be contrary to my personal desires, but is not contrary to my best interest in the long run (the long run of millions and millions and billions of years of existence in His eternal New Heavens and a New Earth in our resurrected bodies.)

I love and I hate how intuitive living that out is! I love and I hate that it takes intimate time with Him to inform the intuition in the moment of choice and to power me to make the right choice. I love and I hate that, the more I am alone with Him and the more I practice walking with Him each moment, the more the choices I make are almost made for me, as it becomes increasingly illogical and increasingly repellent emotionally to walk the wrong direction. I love and I hate that a daily walk with Him unites me in greater and greater ways with the sinners around me who are also caught up by His Spirit into their individual walk after Him, and so we are -- in spite of ourselves, almost -- formed into that bride of His that is the CHURCH.

Each choice each of us makes forms us spiritually. We set ourselves upon trajectories that point out into those billions-and-billions-of-years New Heaven and New Earth. I can justify things ethically that have nothing to do with the directions the Holy Spirit is taking me and my brothers and sisters in faith. I can analyze things psychologically and sociologically with long, drawn-out explanations and conclusions that have nothing to do with that Eternity that I am already living in. I can chart courses for myself and my church and my friends and children that have nothing to do with His Kingdom come among us for us to live in and live out each day.

Intimacy with God, and action out of that intimacy . . .

His Kingdom is indeed here, right in the middle of the mess of all the wrong choices and all the illnesses and accidents and all the other evidence of the Fall. He has won. And now, today, I get to live in His Kingdom and have my part in clearing the wreckage from the Fall, not by figuring it all out and acting out of human wisdom, but by learning finally what I never learned as a child . . .

full intimacy and full trust and full obedience to the One Who cares for me more perfectly than any mother or father or lover, against Whose breast I find the contentment and satisfaction that all others only pointed toward . . .

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