Thursday, January 08, 2009

Query #1

"Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life."

As I find with many of the Queries, there is a lot packed into this brief statement.

Do I take heed (listen & act) to the promptings of love and truth in my heart? I know it is God who places those promptings there. But how often do I listen? I tend to be a very task-oriented person--sometimes to the point of tunnel vision. I can get so focused on whatever it is I'm trying to accomplish that I completely miss what is going on around me and within me. The promptings of love and truth are, I believe, two-fold: One part is God trying to make us more aware of His love for us and bring us more into comformity with truth. The other part is God wanting to express His love through us to others and have us stand as beacons for truth in the world. We listen and then we act. The first challenge for me, then, is simply to hear these promptings--to take the time to dial down, be still and listen.

The next challenge is to trust what I hear. How do I know that the promptings in my heart are from God? If they are contradictory in any way to love or truth, they are not from God. Or perhaps what was from God has become distorted by my presuppositions, biases, agendas and sinfulness. If the promptings in my heart serve selfish purposes; if they are self-aggrandizing; if they contribute in any way to the harm or marginalization or exploitation or oppression or denigration of someone else, then they are not loving and are not from God. If there is any hint of dishonesty or deception or obfuscation, then they are not truthful and are not from God. 1 Corinthians 13 is a good test to apply to perceived promptings.

The promptings of love and truth in our hearts reveal to us the darkness within ourselves. This is another reason why I sometimes find myself not wanting to take time to listen to God. Like a man who puts off going to the dentist for fear that a cavity might be found, I sometimes don't want to put myself in a position of listening to God because I know there is some darkness within me that I don't want to face. I already know it's there, but hope it will just go away of its own accord. Yet God changes our hearts through kindness. His goal in bringing our darkness into the light is not to criticize or condemn us, but to bring us life. This is a cooperative journey--us and the Holy Spirit within us--gradually increasing in light and life, both within and without. The paradox is that this journey will require letting go of things we hold dear but which aren't based in love and truth--our reputation, our position, our privileges, our ambitions, our toys, our addictions, our attitudes, our self-centered orientation--allowing them to grow ever weaker until they die.

Thus, day-by-day we are changed from the inside out and grow roots ever deeper into maturity, grace, truth and love and bear the fruit thereof for the benefit of others.


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