My own abilities have been and are deceiving. On one hand I have made myself the center of my desires. I can overly inflate my talents and easily discount my deficiencies. Too easy when I set myself up as the arbiter of what is good and right for me. On the other hand I have lived long enough to see such talents and abilities diminish over time. Physical strength, dexterity, even the senses aren’t as sharp as once they were.
I had my annual physical yesterday with my GP. He seemed a bit down when he entered my room. I inquired about this. He was unusually open saying that he had just come from seeing an older patient who was ornery and surly. He’d been that way for years he said but was increasingly so over time. That day, my physician related, he couldn’t lift the patient’s spirits no matter how he tried. I don’t want to get like that.
In this world we have our challenges: physical, relational, financial, cultural. When you read or watch the type of ‘news’ most outlets present regularly it is easy to become disheartened, disillusioned. But that is not all there is nor is it to be the center of our orientation. Having recently come to the conclusion of some Lenten exercises hopefully some new positive patterns have emerged which will prove to be part of our increasing sanctification.
Jesus cautioned in the conclusion of his parable of the rich fool:
And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:19-21
And Paul illustrated this orientation as developing the ‘mind of Christ’:
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2.14-16
And so, I happily report, in many instances I have been privileged to observe that some of the things of this life are restored in much more beneficial ways when I seek the Lord and His ways first.
Hopefully it is to this end that we engaged in Lenten abstinences and now receive back those things we voluntarily set aside for a season, for God’s glory!