Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Humble and Real

Humility is the virtue by which a man knows himself as he really is, truly. St Thomas Aquinas defines humility similarly as "the virtue of humility" that "consists in keeping oneself within one's own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one's superior". Humility is said to be the foundation of the spiritual life and inferior only to faith. Humility is considered foundational because it removes the obstacles to faith. It removes pride and makes a man subject to and a fit recipient of grace. "God resists the proud, and gives His grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Humility is the product of self-respect with a true understanding of oneself in relation to God. Humilty is transitive, meaning, "... to lower someone in dignity."

Life is not linear. Life is a journey, predominanntly a journey of faith. Some are on a path of pain and lament; some are sick souls, existential and realistic; some move through emotional turmoil; some find coherence; some find illusion and consolation; some find black swans and white crows; some find science and logic; all will find that all paths lead to God. God will be seen by each person in each life. God will be seen as He is and will be recognized for Who He is by each person. God will be seen as only God can be seen in the personal reality of each individual and the truth of His revelation will only be realized and accomplished through the personal journey. James 1:21, "... in humilty (meekness) receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls." The implanted word is the seed of life sown into the groundwork of the search for faith and belief. It is God sewing into the fabric of life His presence. God is as He is and will only be known as He is in the context of personal experience. God reveals Himself as He is needed to be seen. In that context a person must choose to accept the truth of God or reject Him. We will say nothing greater than, "God, You are God." We will say nothing less than, "God, You are God."
Romans 3:3, "What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?"

There is an inherent premise of pride, in that all I need to know is contained in what I know and all others are bound to comform to my knowledge. Pride holds to a better opinion of oneself than what actually exists in reality. Pride assumes, no mandates, that my understanding and knowledge is primary. Pride accepts no perversions, abstactions or deformities, yet, in light of truth, it contains in itself all the perversity, lecherousness and depravity of man. Pride surrounds the 'I' of our personhood and is indicative of the depth of "the love of one's own excellence", placing oneself as supreme and divine. Exodus 5:2, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?" In the negative, spiritual use and sense of the word it can have no more disparaging definition than that of 'pride'.
"Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18
"In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes."  John Ruskin (1819-1900)

The crux seems to always lie in the revelation of truth. The truth contained in God. 'Who is a God like You?" Micah 7:18 The truth, that as pride exists without any greater meaning available than pride, sin also exists without any greater definition available than that it is sin. Romans 7:13, "That sin  ... might become (utterly) exceedingly sinful." No name emphasizes the virulence and vileness of sin than the strength of the epithet of the thing itself. Hosea 10:15 "... the evil of your evil."

There are four aspects of sin which are evident in the state of man when cast in the light of God's divulgation of Himself:
man lives in total absence of any moral image of God; 
man lives in disbelief of a need for salvation, or believes in his own ability to save;
man lives in total disconnect from belief in a holy and just God; and
man lives seperated from God and in denial of His authority.

What this means is that sin is sin, as man is man;
that guilt and conscience are unappeasable apart from a Holy and Just God's intervention; that man's depravity lies deep within him and cannot be purged independant from an external source; and
that man needs a relationship with God and accountability to God. 

If all this is known to man, why is there such struggle?

It is a signal/noise ratio dilemma. There lies a inherent interpretation failure in remembrance of events. There is a fallacy in the narrative as we look through the rearview mirror. We buffer the random events which point to God with narcotic assumptions. Luke 7:35, "... wisdom is justified by all her children." We develope an understanding contingent upon a reality biased by beliefs and experience. My reality is an integration of empirical evidence and  experience either distorted or shaped by God's implanted 'word' acting within the framework of free-will to create an honest confrontation with life.

There will occur on life's journey of faith tears in the fabric of life, ruptures to our shields and fortresses, these are the black swans, the albino crows, the ways and means that God uses to radically surprise us, upset us and  discombobulate us. God has, and can, act in highly disruptive and surprising ways in an attempt to get our attention. At some point in time we have all been brought to a place filled with confusion and epistemic (cognitive; it's about being lowered in dignity) humility where we have been introspective and even tortured by God's claims concerning Himself. At some point we will be tortured by our own understanding, confused by our own knowledge, confronted with our illusions and consolations, being unable to provide an answer to the incoherence created. At that point we must become willing to say "I don't know."

Mark 9:23,24b, "Jesus said, 'If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.' ... Lord, I believe; help my unbelief." This is the framework of humble acceptance of God, His work, His presence and His subsequent care for me and you. To be a Christian, one must function in just this manner.

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