Well, I just can't seem to get far into Lorna Doone. Maybe my life will still be complete if I never do read that book. Ya think?
But I have been reading Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I want to read it slowly because I feel like I really need to get all I can out of it. In recent years I just haven't felt the closeness with Christ that I used to. I feel dry and tired on the inside a good amount of time. I know the book can't give me refreshment back in my life, but I want to really practice what I read.
But I came across this quote today:
If we are to progress in the spiritual walk so that the disciplines are a blessing not a curse, we must come to the place in our lives where we can lay down the everlasting burden of always needing to manage others. This drive, more than any single thing, will lead us to turn the Spiritual Disciples into laws. Once we have made a law, we have an "externalism" by which we judge who is measuring up and who is not. With out laws the disciplines are primarily an internal work, and it is impossible to control an internal work. When we genuinely believe that inner transformation is God's work and not ours, we can cut to rest the passion to set others straight.
We must beware of how quickly we can latch onto this word or that word and turn it into law. The moment we do so we qualify for Jesus' stern pronouncement against the Pharisees: They bind heavy burdens on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger" (Matt. 23:4) In these matters we need the words of the apostle Paul embedded in our minds: "We deal not in the letter but in the spirit. The latter of the law leads to the death of the soul; the Spirit of God alone can give life to the soul." (2 Cor. 3:6 Phillips).
Oh isn't that so true! As soon as I tell one of my boys something the first thing they do is to say "Well, so and so did that." The last thing they want to do is address their own behavior! It's always so and so!
But the flip side of that is that we can also be on the receiving end of another person who feels like it is their ministry to set the rest of the world in order. They don't approve of your clothes, schedule, TV watching, standard of education, etc. etc. etc. And if you even maybe have two or three people in your life like that if you don't set yourself to protect yourself that can get very burdensome indeed. Especially if the advice conflicts!
Sometimes I feel like I walk around with one big guilt trip. But I feel like the Lord is telling me that the reason I feel guilty is because I haven't been spending enough time with Him. So He can speak to me about the things that aren't actually His will for me and also the things I really ought to feel guilty about. I need to spend more time with the Lord. That is just the bottom line. It is good to spend time with others, get work done, all of that, but with out His sweet presence we can work ourselves to a fury going in entirely the wrong direction. We can use our time of fellowship leading others in the wrong direction as well-maybe all the while thinking we are helping them get their life together! I need the Lord. I am looking forward to some time of quietness with Him.