Weekly Thought – July 20, 2021
Fred once said, “I have spent my life asking questions. I always work to find the key question.” He knew as does Bob Tiede, premier expert on questioning, it is both an art and a science. This week we will look at two Fred asked himself as part of assessment.
Personal and professional development requires the asking of questions… of others and myself. Here are two which have meant a lot to me.
1) Does my will control my feelings? Integrity is more a matter of the will than of feelings. Without the healthy use of feelings we become mechanical. We are unable to connect with others without empathy or compassion. They energize us. They make great implementers, but poor leaders. Our will is the single most distinguishing feature of our character. A strong will does not blind us to the importance of emotion. It does, however, stand against the tendency toward rationalization that attacks us.
I was fortunate to have a Mother with an indomitable will. Despite many physical disabilities she persevered often quoting “Be not weary in well doing, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not.” Her grit and Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” inspired Mary Alice and me to make our family motto: “When nothing but the will says go.”
Leadership demands a strong will – not a selfish or stubborn one, but one determined to do what needs doing. By an act of the will we overcome the draw of pleasure and the satisfaction with mediocrity.
2) Is grace real for me? Grace was genuine, real, personal, and palpable to the great saints. The ancient Christian mystics had no doubt they were the constant recipients of Go’s amazing grace. It was a practical part of their everyday life. For example, Brother Lawrence said when he sinned he confessed it, and moved on without spending time bemoaning it. He knew without the power of God failure is natural. Reading that greatly stirred my thinking. Prior to that I lingered over guilt. Immediate grace was too good to be true, I thought. Brother Lawrence’s thinking released me.
Legalism appeals to many Christians; it fits into a common sense approach to faith. We must remind ourselves the very Scripture that lets me know my guilt lets me know God’s grace. By refusing grace we play God, choosing to punish ourselves. We develop a perverted way of interpreting events in our lives arbitrarily choosing to tag some as God’s discipline and judgment.
Grace brings freedom. If we could only freely accept it we could practice confession and continuing to walk in faith. Why can’t I see the free gift it is and how available it is? In my experience those who value grace most dearly are those who have experienced it most deeply in their lives. It reminds me of the scripture, “He who is forgiven most, loves most.” He or she who understands the release from the bondage of sin through Christ, revel in the gift of grace.
This week think carefully about: 1) How would I answer Fred’s questions? 2) When have I chosen to keep going whether I felt like it or not? 3) What questions are key in my personal assessments?
Words of Wisdom: “By an act of the will we overcome the draw of pleasure and the satisfaction with mediocrity.”
Wisdom from the Word: “So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NET Bible)