In order to start something one has to choose to start it, and in order to continue doing something one has to choose to continue it. I know this sounds rather elemental, and so it is a fairly obvious observation. But I venture into these waters for a purpose. There is a fundamental stumbling block for many Christians as they attempt to walk out God’s purpose with their lives; they ‘choose’ to do it. I’d like to make the argument here that choice is not dependent upon, nor advantageous to the most important factor of man’s successful journey to God; willingness.
Choice can be made from humble reason, but choice need not entail humility. In fact, choice is at its very best when issued from a boundless source of pride. Willingness, on the other hand, cannot exist in conjunction with pride. Willingness is that recurring characteristic of many Saints we look to for God’s wisdom and teachings; though there were those who came to serve God without willingness in their hearts. Moses would be one good example. Isaiah, on the other hand, is all too ready to serve the Lord without considering choice. While choice appears to be our conscious nature at work, willingness appears to precede that of the conscious nature and lie somewhere in the spiritual relationship we have with God. I can think of no better scripture to illustrate this than in the Book of Luke.
Then Mary said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Continue reading Choice or Willingness
“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
This opening verse of Galatians, Chapter Five, is a well condensed sentence of a virtue considered central to Christianity, as well as all other religions that are taken with some import. That virtue is humility. My choice of virtues may seem a little contrary or abstract to the call in this scripture to strength and resistance. So I guess I’m going to have to explain my choice.
For those Christian, Paul is declaring that Christ has set us free. I need not go into from what Christ has set us free from simply because this whole matter is the subject of the New Testament. All Christians attending church get this drilled into their heads by their Pastors continually.
Paul goes on in saying that we must therefore hold our ground and not submit again. Well to what? And why again? Paul uses the term slavery as that condition he wishes us not to submit ourselves to ever again. We know that he is referring to sin, and we also know that sin is a relational matter; a separation from God.
But most people look at sin more as an action. The average Joe conjures up into his consciousness acts of evil that are universal and absolute to any culture – a direct lie, a theft, a false imprisonment, an adultery, a murder – and proclaims, “Ah! There’s sin”. Much of our entertainment in literature, plays, movies, and television programs pits good and evil against one another in a most apparent battle. Common sense dictates to the creator of such entertainment that good shall triumph. Arnold Schwarzenegger dispatches the Predator, the hobbit Frodo Baggins finds the moral strength to dispatch evil, and Tim Allen in Home Improvement manages to dispatch his problem through the almost spiritual advice of his next-door neighbor, Wilson. Yet does this reflect what takes place in society and within oneself, and is this battle always so apparent? Well, I think I am going to put aside the first question of that last sentence for another time, and concentrate on the second question, “…is this battle always so apparent?” Continue reading The Road to Wellville