Weekly Thought – June 23, 2015
Fred was acquainted with many Christian leaders, from the outside and inside. He never exposed their weaknesses so was trusted as a friend and confidante. But he recognized their “iron and clay.” He always said he was magnetized by their iron, but neutralized by their clay. He focused on the iron rather than trying to correct the clay. He once commented to a person who disagreed with the friendship between himself and a leader: “I am drawn by their iron and you are put off by the clay… therefore, you cannot see the strength.”
I’m fond of reading the Catholic mystics and saints of old. (The original saints were, of course, Southern Baptists!) In their writings and meditations I see nothing of planning for the purpose of personal significance. They were not motivated by human ambition. The glory of God was their joy.
They were concerned not with God’s plan for their life but His presence in their life. They knew having a guide was always better than having a map. Both Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach have written inspiringly on the constant presence of God.
Occasionally, I speak to a Christian leader who seems hard and metallic. The more ambitious they are, the more metallic their manner. Some with whom I have shared intimate moments seem dry on the inside. It reminds me of the verse “He sent them their desire but with it, leanness of soul.” The soul can’t be fed with ambition, accomplishment, and acquisition. Peggy Lee recorded a song years ago titled, “Is that all there is?” Some of the leaders I have known reach the pinnacle of success – yes, even Christian success as they define it – and find an emptiness. They proved themselves but too often did it in human power. They did not experience the joy of seeing God do what only He could. Their nourishment was man-made.
The soul fed by the Spirit and the words proceeding from God grows for this is the food that truly satisfies.
Values or Virtues
Unless our values are rooted in scriptural virtues, they are not Christian.
Our need is not to return to family values, nor historical values, but to scriptural virtues.
We talk about values because subconsciously we like to be in control and we set our values. Cultural values are fluid.
Virtues hold their authority because they are not under human control, but come from God’s revealed truth. This distinction brings up the key question: “What is your authority?”
Our society could return to the values of our forefathers but we would still have human values. When we return to the virtues of scripture, we are returning to God.
This week think about: 1) What is feeding my soul right now? 2) How do I establish the ultimate authority for my life? 3) When do I sense a dryness in my soul?
Words of Wisdom: “Our society could return to the values of our forefathers but we would still have human values. When we return to the virtues of scripture, we are returning to God.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Look, the one whose desires are not upright will faint from exhaustion, but the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness.” (Habakkuk 2:4 NET Bible)