Is Your Spirituality Leading You To Life or Not-Life?

The snow came the day before yesterday, floating down magically from the heavy grey skies over Central Texas.  It was a moment of wonder for those of us unfamiliar with such things on the regular.  

My youngest son played out in the snow with his friends from the neighborhood.  They got soaking wet from rolling in it, making snowmen, throwing snowballs... and then tracking dirty, wet footprints all over my house when they came in to warm up. 

As I stood outside the day after watching all of the magic melt away into a muddy mess, I got to thinking about spirituality, impermanence, and how quickly things can turn when we hold on to our beliefs too tightly.  

Yep, that's how my mind works.  I wish I could shut it off sometimes and just simply be, but there you go.  

Bear with me a moment, though.  I think there's something important here for those of us who struggle at the intersections of faith and culture, faith and politics, faith, and just about everything else in life.  

I'm going to spend some time this week thinking and reflecting on what it means to truly follow Jesus during these challenging times, and at these highly charged intersections. 

An important question that each of us has to ask when it comes to an honest self-examination of our religious beliefs is simply this: "Do my beliefs about spirituality and faith lead me toward life or not-life?"  Fr. Richard Rohr poses it like this: 

Is [your spirituality] keeping you listening for God?  Is it keeping your own feet to the fire?  Then it is probably healthy teaching.  

But then he approaches it from the other side: 

Is [your spirituality] leading you to suspicion, paranoia, accusation, and blaming?  Then it is from the "Accuser," which is a quite significant New Testament name for Satan.  

There's an important lesson in this for all of us.  If as Christians we say that we believe that "Jesus is Lord" or that "God is in control," what if anything about the way we live our lives actually backs up that claim?  

I am having to address this in my own life right now.  I want to listen for the voice of God speaking life over me, guiding me, leading me to places of growth and peace.  But I often struggle in the intersections of my faith and life to do just that. 

The way forward for those of us who would follow Jesus is quite simply this:  Surrender.  

When we surrender our desire to control... our need to be right... our ideas about how things ought to be, according to us...  

When we surrender our faith, our beliefs, all of the things we hold tightly because we fear things might change... that is the moment when true growth can happen, and we can begin to discover who we really are to God.  

May you find the strength to let go of beliefs you are holding on to that might be keeping you from hearing and experiencing God.  May you discover the joy in surrendering in order to gain true peace and true religion.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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