Saturday, March 13, 2010

'I'm alright Jack' Spirituality...!

Watching the selfishness of children fascinates me. The naivety of their living exposed when it means to give something up. It's easy to be generous with a leaf picked up in the park, but to offer up a chocolate biscuit? To not offer a sweet with anything but a begrudging spirit underlies a self protective way to life that when fully matured manifests itself in a explicit or implicit 'life rage' approach to life, that in everything is a disconnect to the fullness of life that Jesus modelled in kingdom living. Right relationships, or shalom a sham at best, in tatters and war at worst.

Looking at this selfishness in what we believe shocks me further. What if our motives for Christian living are suspect, our love for God questionable because of ingrained selfishness and self focus? It's always the way, you struggle, wrestle and wait and then three quotes come all together!

"Our sorrow and grief for sin, must not spring merely from a fear of wrath; for if we have no other ground but that, it proceeds from self-love, and not from any love to God; and if love to God is not the chief motive of your repentance, your repentance is in vain, and not to be esteemed true." (George Whitefield)

To be afraid of hell or purgatory and desirous of life without pain or trouble in heaven is not in itself Christian. It is self-interest on a higher level... (Walter Rauschenbusch) quoted in Scorgie, G. G. (2007:61). A Little Guide to Christian Spirituality: Three Dimensions of Life With God. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

If I adore You out of fear of Hell,
Burn me in Hell!
If I adore you out of desire for Paradise,
Lock me out of Paradise.
But if I adore you for Yourself alone,
Do not deny to me Your eternal beauty. (Rabia al-Adawiyya) Quoted in Rohr, R. (2001:19). The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective. New York: Crossroad General Interest

1 comment:

Chris Heward said...

Whilst hell and heaven (or should that be New Earth?) are rarely in my day-to-day thinking, it is sadly true that so often I am just thinking about what He might do for me when I make decisions. I sincerely think that if eternal life was not on the cards I would still follow Him, but I still often have self-interest at the forefront of my mind when I pray, give, reach out to people, go to church, volunteer....

I'm trying to crack that, and the only way I can see of doing that (after much struggling) is just to spend time with Him and to focus on who He is and who I am in and through Him. Anything else just makes me focus on myself selfishly, in a worldly way, and an inward and downward spiral seems to ensue.