When you have sinned, don't allow yourself the luxury of self-pity, run to Jesus for forgiveness! (1 John 1:9)
Friday, November 27, 2009
In his Confessions, Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) defined sin as disordered loves. He was the first to suggest the concept that we all operate from a deficit orientation. This is the idea that we have a hole in our souls and it can only be filled by God. All sin is an attempt to fill the void by loving good, created things, when it can only be filled by the only ultimate thing: the love of God. This is the essence of idolatry: making good things into ultimate things.
When we do this disordered loves have three negative results in our lives: They starve us; they emotionally enslave us; and they divide us.
Augustine suggested that the solution is found in true beauty. There is nothing more beautiful than Christ. As this truth is grasped in our souls we begin to reorder our love toward Christ. Our disordered desires become transformed by the grace of God so that we focus our devotion on Him alone. This is a lifetime process: a journey characterized by repentance and faith. Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless, Lord, till they rest in thee." May my life continually be reoriented to the one who alone is true beauty and satisfaction.
You might want to check out David K. Naugle's book, Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23).
"Oh, to be bound up in the bundle of life with the living God and with Christ, who has life in Himself! Oh, let this be the whole strength of the aim of our souls, and let us be so moved and affected with it, so as not to lack a part and share in and with this good company! They were sufficient company to Themselves when They inhabited eternity and They are sufficient to make us so, by taking us up into Their intimate converse. . . . Oh, what sweetness will there be one day in heaven in the fullness of converse and manifestation of these three persons. It will be, if not all, yet the great discourse that will be had and heard in heaven with our poor souls by the three persons, bringing all the delights they have had in you from eternity down into your hearts, and revealing them to you all eternity."
Oh LORD, may I have a taste of this glorious union - never to crave for the dry morsels of this barren world again.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Change Is Essential
In Herman Melville's Bartleby, The Scrivener, he tells the story of a Wall Street Lawyer who hires a young man named Bartleby as a scrivener. The Lawyer soon discovers that Bartleby is not willing to do anything in the office except his proficient task of copying documents. In time he continues to respond to every request with his signature, "I would prefer not to." One weekend the lawyer discovers that Bartleby was taken up residence in his offices. Eventually the young scrivener is refusing to do his copying tasks. Frustrated, the lawyer tries to convince Bartleby to resume his work or be fired. He responds with, "I would prefer not to at this time." Yet the influential boss is unable to make Bartleby leave. Embarrassed by the comments of business associates who are baffled by the lawyer's inability to deal with the idle employee, the lawyer decides to move his offices to another location. Bartleby remains unmoved at the old office suite until he is finally removed forcefully by the authorities and placed in jail. The lawyer visits him and attempts to extend kindness by providing for his meals. However, even this act is rebuffed by the popular response, "I would prefer not to." Tragically, when the lawyer returns again, he discovers that the young man has starved to death because of his preference.
This story is a graphic reminder that change is essential to life. Life cannot be lived simply by personal preferences. There are truths in this world that are unchangeable and if we do not submit and respond to these with our own change we will die. The greatest truth is that we must accept and obey the will of God. This is the essence of repentance. It is the humble recognition of personal wrong and the desire and will to change by accepting God's way. This is the only path to life. "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret . . . See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done." (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). Although the act of repentance may be painful and humbling it is still the only way to life and joy.