Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Devotional 140410

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for another beautiful day and another opportunity to serve Him. God wants to fill our lives with high expectations, enthusiasm and joy from above, provided that we accept Him as our Lord and Savior for each day. The more we try to be our own boss and rescuer, the more we become stressful, dreadful and fearful each day. It may seem to be an easy act of abandonment of ourselves to God. But it is very difficult as we try to implement it in our lives because we too used to be on the driver’s seat.

When we first arrive at Square One, we are breathless before the unguessed splendors of infinity, stretching out endlessly. That is wonderful. And then we begin to realize the effect, if there is such a thing as infinity, I am not it. I am finite. If there is God then there is no room for me as god.

The virtually unanimous response to this realization is some form or other of either narcissism or Prometheanism. Narcissism is the attempt to retreat from Square One back into the spiritual sovereignty of ‘self.’ Forget infinity. Forget mystery. Cultivate the wonderful ‘self.’ It might be a small world, but it is my world, totally mine.

Prometheanism is the attempt to detour around Square One into the spirituality of infinity, get a handle on it, get control of it, and make something of it. All that spirituality sitting around idle, needs managing. Prometheanism is practical. Prometheanism is entrepreneurial. Prometheanism is energetic and ambitious. Prometheanism wants to put all that power and beauty to good use. Most of us, most of the time, can be found to be practicing some variation on narcissism or Prometheanism. It goes without saying then that most spirituality is a combination of narcissism and Prometheanism, with the proportions carefully customized to suit our personal temperaments and circumstances. And that is why I use the word “return”—it’s back to Square One, back to the place of wonder, the realization of infinity, the worship of God.

The primary way in which we counter our stubborn tendencies to narcissism and Prometheanism is by cultivating humility. Learning to be just ourselves, keeping close to the ground, practicing the human, getting our fingers in the humus, the rich, loamy, garden dirt out of which we have been fashioned. And then listen. Paul reminded us, “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him” (Romans 12:3b).

Eugene Peterson reminds us of this natural tendency of mankind. None of us are immune from this egocentric or self-centeredness, which is part of human DNA, or someone calls it the original sin. Deep down inside our soul or being we want to be god. And Satan knew how to target his attack to the first couple – “you can see like god!” They fell to that trap and so do we. We are tempted to seek supreme power, divine wisdom, supernatural experience, and special favor from God, in order to satisfy our narcissistic tendency. That’s why God makes it clear in the Bible, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6), and “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Using Peterson’s word, it is important to return to Square One – worship God with humility – surrender ourselves to God and admit our finiteness before the Infinite Creator of the Universe. Let our inner being echoes our prayers as Jesus taught, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). This is the attitude and act of worship that should permeate our daily living. O Lord, empower us to be your worshipper each day!

Love you as fellow citizens of the Kingdom of God,

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