Blog Archives

Tired of Living on Auto-pilot!

DSCN0014Devotional Thought for the Day:
17  Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:17 (MSG)

1 It is also taught among us that such faith should produce good fruits and good works and that we must do all such good works as God has commanded,6 but we should do them for God’s sake and not place our trust in them as if thereby to merit favor before God.

780         You suffer a lot because you realise that you don’t make the grade. You would like to do more, and do it more effectively, but very often you do things in a complete daze, or you don’t dare do them at all. Contra spem, in spem!—live in certain hope, against all hope. Rely on that firm rock which will save you and help you on. It is a wonderful theological virtue, which will encourage you to press on, without being afraid of going too far, and will not let you stop. Don’t look so troubled! Yes, cultivating hope means strengthening the will.

One of the reasons I like St Josemaria’s writings is because they speak to me.  The words in blue resonate deeply within me.  There are days I seem to be on autopilot, moving from one crisis to another.  Like the disciples in the boat last Sunday, I am not seeming to make headway.   I would love to be a more effective pastor, a better husband, a better dad, but things are so overwhelming, and I often consider myself a failure at all three.  I look at the quote in Green from the Augsburg confession, and wonder what good fruit and works are the results of God forgiving me?  Do I do things for the glory of God, thanking Him along the way?  Or I caught in a lifeless vacuum?

And I know I am not alone.  Too many are overwhelmed by anxiety and even paralyzed by the day to day drag that they feel.  We move through life, as I said, on autopilot.

There are enough life coaches, self-help books, counselors and others who exist to get you out of the doldrums ( at least they claim to!) out there.  Billions of dollars a year are spent by people who want more out of life, even if they can’t define what the more is.

St Josemaria describes how we grow in all of this.  It is not by our own strength or determination.  It’s not by being “forced” by someone’s manipulation, using guilt or reward to motivate, critique or praise to push you into the next level, the next phase.

So how do we get past auto-pilot?  How do we find a life that is full of good fruit?  How do we get to the point where every detail of our lives praise and honor God?  How can we show our Lord the gratitude for all of His work that He has done, from creating us, (and the world we live in ) to His redeeming and reconciling us to Himself, to making us Holy?  How can we accomplish this?

St. Josemaria notes a theological virtue – actually a simple one which cultivates hope, that diminishes the anxiety and overcomes that sense of sluggishness.  This fantastic blessing of theological virtue?

Faith!

Dependence on God!

Relying on God who is our solid base, who will support you and help you through life 

That reliance is what we need so that even when we have no option but to be on autopilot we realize He is at work, He is guiding you, He is not going to let us stop, for He is the author and perfecter of our faith.  He is our shepherd, our Master, our God.

Knowing He is there can help us when dealing with mundane as well as the overwhelming.  It gives life to those moments, those places we serve in our vocation.  

Remember He promises to make all things work for good, and He does.

He is with you… rely on Him.  That isn’t law, but the purest of gospels, for He desires you to have the blessing of knowing He is your God, and you are His beloved people.  AMEN!

Tappert, Theodore G., ed. The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959. Print.

Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 3230-3236). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Suck it up… and go talk to Jesus

Devotional Thoughts of the Day:

Psalm 32:1-7 (NLT) 1

When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. 4  Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude 5  Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude 6  Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. 7  For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.

 253         That sick person, consumed by a zeal for souls, said: sometimes the body protests a little and complains, but I also try to transform “those moans” into smiles, because then they become very effective. (1)

A lot of people out there are paralyzed, not physically, but spiritually.  Simply put, they know what they want to do,  They have no strength to do that which they want to accomplish, they can’t escape the pain and the brokenness of their lives. They say they are believers, that they are Christians, they even may sit in church this morning. They may even say they have a zeal for souls, and give money to missions…

But can they love their neighbor?

Can they forgive their family?

Can they reach out, even as St. Josemaria describes, in their physical weakness?

Can they sacrifice themselves, so that they desire to see others know Christ can be fulfilled?

How much of their spiritual weakness comes from not dealing with their own sin, as the quote from the psalms describes?  How much of it comes from hiding their guilt?

Why can’t they just suck it up, and turn to God, knowing His promises, knowing His love, knowing He has promised that He will forgive?

I am presently on a elders retreat – and it is amazing, as each leads a devotion, as we do our impromptu Bible Studies (go find a passage – and explain what it says to you) The theme for the retreat is that we are “sent”.  But each section has shown us not that we are… but that we are sent from the place where God deals with our sin, with our brokenness, our pains.

It is from that place –quickened by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, made alive in Christ, freed from sin and delivered into a place full of joy and peace, that we find ourselves ministering to others without thought, serving others, sharing with others, with everyone, the glory of God in which we live.

So suck it up ( a phrase that was often used in past retreats – but the elder who used it has moved south) go to the Father… confess your sins… and go from there… and know He is God.

AMEN
(1)                Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1241-1243). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

%d bloggers like this: