I really shouldn't post an entire "My Utmost for His Highest" devotion from the morning's reading. However, today's entry has so much meat, bite, describes the passive stance we take -- I can take -- much of the time.
Chambers speaks about the tension between being and doing. Lately, I've been thinking that the phrase "good works" as a byproduct of faith has taken a back seat in the evangelical world. The Catholics and the Jewish faith still hold these responsibilities high (for those who follow). But, in my church, it seems that "good works" have been canceled by grace. "You can't earn your way to heaven! 'It's not by works but by faith/grace.'" True, yet we are definitely called upon to be active.
I'm guilty of being passive and too active both. My codependent tendencies want to save the world, and say yes to everything without good discernment. My selfish tendencies want to walk the safe path, disregarding controversy and weirdness or giving-with-draining. I think it's imperative to be active, though, with good guidance and listening to what God wants of us. Yet at times, when this seems silent, we need to strike out and just prove to others that he has earthly arms, hands, feet, love.
And, so I re-post just to record this excellent reminder:
The Spiritually Lazy Saint
Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together . . . —Hebrews 10:24-25
We are all capable of being spiritually lazy saints. We want to stay off the rough roads of life, and our primary objective is to secure a peaceful retreat from the world. The ideas put forth in these verses from Hebrews 10 are those of stirring up one another and of keeping ourselves together. Both of these require initiative— our willingness to take the first step toward Christ-realization, not the initiative toward self-realization. To live a distant, withdrawn, and secluded life is diametrically opposed to spirituality as Jesus Christ taught it.
The true test of our spirituality occurs when we come up against injustice, degradation, ingratitude, and turmoil, all of which have the tendency to make us spiritually lazy. While being tested, we want to use prayer and Bible reading for the purpose of finding a quiet retreat. We use God only for the sake of getting peace and joy. We seek only our enjoyment of Jesus Christ, not a true realization of Him. This is the first step in the wrong direction. All these things we are seeking are simply effects, and yet we try to make them causes.
“Yes, I think it is right,” Peter said, “. . . to stir you up by reminding you . . .” (2 Peter 1:13). It is a most disturbing thing to be hit squarely in the stomach by someone being used of God to stir us up— someone who is full of spiritual activity. Simple active work and spiritual activity are not the same thing. Active work can actually be the counterfeit of spiritual activity. The real danger in spiritual laziness is that we do not want to be stirred up— all we want to hear about is a spiritual retirement from the world. Yet Jesus Christ never encourages the idea of retirement— He says, “Go and tell My brethren . . .” (Matthew 28:10).l \=\