Monday, May 20, 2013

How to love God

There is only one true way of loving God, namely to do nothing except with and for Him. --Francois Fenelon

Even the dishes. And giving your kids a bath. And sweeping up under the high chair for the 400-millionth time.  Each thing, do it with God and for God. Each moment. Every moment. Every day. Every thing.

Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord.

Shh! Stop! Be still and know!

Do you long to grow spiritually? Does this ambition keep you actively reading books, listening to sermons, attending Bible studies, and reading, reading, reading your Bible? Do you often get drawn into spiritual and theological discussions, sharing and writing your theological and spiritual thoughts, or find yourself following link after link after link on blog after blog reading about the spiritual insights and growth of others?  (How did you get here, by the way? :-) )

Beware of pride behind spiritual growth!  Knowledge puffs up!  Maybe you need to step away from the computer, and close the books for a bit. And don't talk, or write, or comment on posts.  Don't do anything to be seen--but instead make yourself unseen in your "doings." 

The real thing that matters is to humble yourself, to love obscurity (instead of the approval of other "spiritual" people for how "spiritual" you are), don't worry about not being noticed (don't check your page views!). Don't worry about about being scorned or doubted or discounted.

You cannot become perfect by hearing, or reading about perfection.  You can't even grow by listening to yourself.  The only thing you can do is silence your mouth and your mind and listen with your whole being to God.  God will teach you more than all the most experienced persons or best books.

And what is it anyway that you want to know so badly?  What do you need to learn more than how to be humble or poor in spirit? Or quiet?  What do you need to think on more than Jesus Christ, and Him crucified of love for you?  You already know a lot more than you practice. You do not need more knowledge half as much as you need to start putting into practice what you already know.

Adapted from "The Complete Fenelon," Chapter 18, "Using Eager Aspirations."

What do you want?

Do you want the benefits, comforts and blessings that God can give?

Or do you want God Himself?

If you want the first, then you do not love God for His own sake, but for your own sake... and in that case, why should you receive anything from Him?

But if you desire Him and Him alone, no matter what He gives you, or what path He chooses for you, and you seek to find Him for who He is, then you will find even more of Him when He tests you than when He comforts you.

When He comforts you and blesses you, deep down you might wonder if you care more for His good gifts than for Him.  Our selfish, weak, fleshly human nature clings to blessings, comforts, riches.

But when He allows trials and you hold on tight, then it is to Him alone you are clinging.

Paraphrased from "The Complete Fenelon," Chapter 5, "False and Real Humility."