Thursday, November 5, 2015

Am I Talking To You?

   The spiritual life is not a life before, after, or beyond our everyday existence. No, the spiritual life can only be real when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys of the here and now. Therefore we need to begin with a careful look at the way we think, speak, feel, and act from hour to hour, day to day, week to week, and year to year, in order to become more fully aware of our hunger for the Spirit. As long as we have only a vague inner feeling of discontent with our present way of living, and only an indefinite desire for "things spiritual," our lives will continue to stagnate in a generalized melancholy. We often say, "I am not very happy. I am not content with the way my life is going. I am not really joyful or peaceful, but I just don't know how things can be different, and I guess I have to be realistic and accept my life as it is." It is this mood of resignation that prevents us from actively searching for the life of the Spirit. 
   Our first task is to dispel the vague, murky feeling of discontent and to look critically at how we are living our lives. This requires honesty, courage, and trust. We must honestly unmask and courageously confront the many self-deceptive games. We must trust that are honesty and courage will lead us not to despair, but to a new heaven and a new earth.
   - Henri Nouwen, from Making All Things New

   Our first task is to look critically at how we are living our lives. We must stop deceiving ourselves. We must be honest with ourselves. If we follow truth it will lead us to heaven. Sounds good, but....
 None of this easy. 

   First, many people who read all the way through the article to this very point are not even aware that these words or warning could apply to them. I don't talk like this often (maybe I should more), but the ruler of this world (Jesus says that is Satan in John 12) is working against us at the most basic levels. The world does not want us to think deeply. It wants us to never ask ourselves about our own motivations. The bad guys would be happy if we never thought about our attitudes and certainly if we never learned that we have the final say over our approach to God, neighbor and self.
   There is good news: there is a power available to everyone that overcomes, short-circuits, and crushes the spiritual forces of wickedness that would keep us dumb to our own self-defeating tendencies and drag us into the lowest depths imaginable. The power for good has been written into our software: the Holy Spirit is within us, if we would turn it on through repentance and commit to the Way of Jesus.
   Am I talking to you? Maybe. Grace and Peace, Scott

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