(warning: graphic language alert)
Context: Global COVID-19 Pandemic. Several states in the US are under a “shelter-in-place” mandate to mitigate the spread of the virus. We are currently on day 9 with expectations that we will be under this mandate an additional 2-wks.
I’m currently reading from Christian Teachings on the Practice of Prayer for my daily devotions. A reading today from William Law inspires me to revisit my thoughts about “control” from the other day. He writes the following about dying to self, which has been an ongoing reflection in my own pursuits of Jesus in living life “i-crucified.” Law writes:
But the one true way of dying to self is most simple and plain, it needs no arts or methods, no cells, monasteries, or pilgrimages, it is easily practicable by everybody, it is always at hand, it meets you in everything, it is free from all deceit and it is never without success.
If you ask, what is this one, true, simple, plain, immediate, and unerring way? It is the way of patience, meekness, humility, and resignation to God. This is the truth and perfection of dying to self; it is nowhere else, nor possible to be in anything else, but in this state of heart.
Every difficulty or trial, either of body or mind, every temptation, either within you or without you, has its full remedy in this state of heart…You are His [God’s] dwelling place—Christ lives and works in you.
I receive additional affirmation this morning as I work through a devotional retreat guide, Invitation to Isolation. Today’s Scripture reflection comes from 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude; it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV
THIS IS THE WAY
I recognize a number of times through the day, especially in the most recent of days, my personal frustrations, insecurities, inconveniences, canceled plans, interrupted schedules, and uncertainties give rise to my impatience, lack of kindness, rudeness, the wanting of my own way, irritability, and lack of desire to endure and bear all things. Over and over my heart cries out, “This is Bullshit!” And maybe it is.
This is NOT the Way
I recognize that maybe the circumstances are BS; still, I am reminded this moment might just be an invitation in the midst of the “bovine defecation” to resign myself totally to God, as William Law so eloquently reminds me. Yes, I know this is true, resigning myself to God IS THE WAY of icrucified, but this daily game of Cow Patty Bingo reveals that my knowing truth is not the same as the sanctifying grace of living the truth that I know.
iCrucified = Galatians 2:20
So much irony in this very blog of mine named icrucified.com; for seventeen years, I have owned this domain and written about the “dying to self” life. One thinks I might have a better handle on it after nearing two decades of practice.
It would be so easy to get very down on myself and wallow in the deeper pools of self-recrimination. It is warm and comfy in that hot tub of disappointment and despair. It is a familiar place where the pulsing jets of self-loathing and “I’ll never be like Jesus” echoes, invite me to apathetic adulations that exalt my own wretchedness.
Instead of soaking in that disgraceful tub of depression, I choose NOT to trade my divinity for a narcissism simply disguised in the form of some self-deprecating false humility and self-loathing. Rejecting the invitation to stew in the familiar stench of “me,” I can hear the gentle, soft, whisper of God. He quietly calls to me, “Come, to this quiet and safe space. Sit with Me, Rest with Me and in Me for a while.”
I am not going to play the Temptor’s game. No cow patty bingo for this boy. I’m tired of being lured into a game where even if I win, I come away stinking like bull$#!t. Enough is Enough!
God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit affirm me this day. I wear the seal of a son of God. I am created in the Image of the Most High God. Every power, principality, every spiritual authority has been disarmed of its power against me. I am no longer a slave to Adam’s distrust and disobedience, but have been received by grace to sit at the Table of Christ. I am being fed Heaven’s Wheaties, Manna by any other name, that I might build spiritual muscle for the Agape Olympics, beginning now until Eternity. All praise to Jesus, my Savior King to makes it so. Amen.