... a weekly letter of encouragement.
15 July, 1998
SPIRITUAL SMUGNESS AND DRY ROT:
A smug faith dulls the spirit and closes the door to intimacy with God.
The twin sins of pride and lust severely hobble the best among us.
Listen to Blaise Pascal:
"You wanted to make yourself your own center and do without [God's] help. You withdrew from [His] rule, setting yourself up as [His] equal in your desire to find happiness in yourself. And [so He] abandoned you to yourself...
"Your chief maladies are the pride that withdraws you from God, and the lust that binds you to the earth...We are in fact so vile that, left to ourselves...are incapable of knowing [or] reaching Him."+
I am reminded of the self-satisfied religious professional who stood in the temple and rehearsed to God his spiritual attainments -- and want away empty. By contrast, the tax collector, cowed by his wretchedness, beat his breast and muttered "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." And God heard his prayer. (Luke 18:9-14)
Pride - Assuming the mental posture that "I've got it figured out. I can pull this off on my own."
Lust - Failing to reign in our wandering eyes, un-checked imagination, and self-indulgence.
So...let me ask you:
Are you smugly satisfied with your spiritual attainments? With your spiritual life?
Or are you profoundly aware of and grieved over your need for more of God?
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise...Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Psalm 51:17; Matthew 5:3,4)
If you are spiritually satisfied, it is my guess that you probably have too high a view of yourself and too low a view of God. Isaiah addresses our spiritual dry rot in stating,
"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it." (Isaiah 30:15b)
QUESTION: Into which camp do you fall: Spiritual dry rot? Or profound awareness of an inner need?
+"Pensees" - Blaise Pascal - Translated by A. J. Krailsheimer, New York; Penguin, 1966
My prayer is that you are having a great week!
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