05 March 2009

Paul, John Calvin, A Strong Wind and the Beginning of My Spirituality

This morning three things convinced me that my spiritual life should first be about understanding God and not first about understanding me.

From Paul...
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. (Romans 3.10-19, emphasis mine)
From Calvin...
"we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also -He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself." (...more from Chapter 1) - John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
From my morning run...
The first four miles were uphill and into a strong wind (pushing Whitney in the stroller).  When I woke this morning, I felt in fairly good shape and I would have maintained that perspective had I not faced a 30 mph headwind and the resulting 190 beats per minute.  The encounter with the wind was a spiritual one that reminded me of my frailty and the power of God.  

If I begin with myself - trying to understand my own brokenness and wounding (which eventually has its place; Ps 139:23-24 & 1 Peter 5:6-7) I miss a very important frame of reference, namely God.  This omission could lead me to a devastating underestimation of my need for Him in every way.  So I must first fix my eyes on God, press on to know Him, humble myself under His mighty hand and he will lift me up.  

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:30 PM

    Oh my. Wow. This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. Thanks, Mitch.