“Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.”
— Romans 8:6 (Msg)
There comes for us all, seasons of maladjustment and discontent. When they take hold we can find ourselves lost to the oblivion of relative spiritual darkness, even though there are brilliant shards of pervading light all around us (that we’re not seeing).
What’s most confusing is the indifference of the spiritual journey at these times. Sometimes we’re hot; other times, cold. We remind ourselves of the fellowship at Laodicea (Revelation 3:15) who were lukewarm.
Pride is no doubt part of the problem. One recent year, as I recall, was so smooth and ‘successful’ I found myself lulled into a spiritual condition bound for a fall. Such is the grace of God, however, there is always more in the learning than there is in the humiliation.
We are always stronger for the fall if we’ll only set our hearts to learn.
Recovering from Self-Deceit
Satan often gets the blame for the enticement of the flesh, and it matters little in the overall scheme of things who or how or why. The deceit into pride has occurred. As soon as it’s known it can be attended to.
Recovering from bouts of pride requires the obvious awareness—the harrowing thought and the humiliating feeling—and the resolve of courage to tackle, full-on, every potential mode of self-protection that refuses the truth.
Pride, we should know, must be purged early and fully. Our ability and capacity to do this (or not) is a direct measure of our spiritual maturity.
The Long Nature to the Short Way Home
There is no question that we ‘enjoy’ such a paradoxical life.
The quickest way home is often via the longest route, and the opposites are also true.
Being the one we can become may appear a contradiction in terms. In fact, it may communicate many things. But, it certainly means this:
God has made it possible that we might be—and therefore continually become, conditional on our will—alive in the Holy Spirit.
Understanding that a humble self-sacrifice is the way to the God-breathed-condition is not an easy lesson to listen to, abide by, or recurrently apply. The way to life is to shun the flesh-empowered self-interest, and though we may know it deep within our minds we still resist it; because it means we are missing out.
But, missing out on what? Grabbing at life, taking what we can, is to lose life.
Instead, we learn that the patient method, implicit of self-control and humility, reveals the results of blessing; only, later than we normally want or expect and manifest often differently than we expect. And yet, it’s a supremely better blessing.
Being the one we can become is reaching high, to our Lord in the sky, to obtain the inspiration and Presence of the Spirit to the negation of the flesh. Then, there is freedom. But, only to the ascension of the Lord’s will.
Being the one we can become is fulfilling our God-given potential, this moment, now. It’s then a continuous flow of choices—as best we can manage—to do God’s specific will.
The goal of life is to be the one we can become: to abide in God’s will by the choices we make.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.