PARADOXICAL

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Friday, February 23, 2007

 

Holiness vs. obedience


The ways how man can get everything wrong is just amazing. Even through our very effort or desire to do good, we may come out wanting. R.S. pointed this out the other night, as he quoted from a book he's reading. He said that even our deesire for holiness may be self-directed or ultimately selfish. Our desire to be holy may turn out to be all about us, all about our desire to be in God's favor. Of course, this doesn't mean we shouldn't desire to be pleasing in the eyes of God. The point is even that desire is not immune to sin, even that can be selfish. The test that reveals our heart's true focus is whether we are willing to obey God's command (i.e., whatever He's telling us at a given moment). Obedience is better than holiness.

Update: The point I am trying to articulate here is put into better perspective by this WAU reflection:

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Meditation
Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Readings

"Observe these statutes and ordinances . . . with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 26:16)

"With these words, Moses exhorted his people in his final address before his death. By targeting their hearts and souls, he made it clear that what God wants is both simpler and harder than simply obeying laws.

"We all have a bit of the legalist in us. We want to know exactly what God requires of us, the minimum that will guarantee our salvation, or the maximum that will accomplish our holiness. But when we focus on laws in this way, we risk becoming discouraged and guilt-ridden. How can anyone do everything God demands? Perhaps more seriously, this preoccupation is fundamentally self-centered. It misses the love God wants to pour out upon us. Moses made it clear that fidelity to God goes far beyond external rule-keeping. It comes from the heart, from our fundamental identity as a beloved child of God.

"The basic question is not, What does the law require of me? or even, What is Gods will for me? Rather, it is, Who am I? Only when we accept that we are Gods beloved, called and empowered to manifest his love in the world, can we fully embrace how the Father may be inviting me to respond to his love."


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