Scripture for reflection:
“… they sanctified themselves in holiness… And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” (2 Chronicles 31: 18,20,21)
This is a very juicy chapter about the beginnings of restoration among God’s people. I’m not going into detail here about it. This little focus passage makes the point quite nicely and simply – that “prosperity” needs to be according to divine understandings, not personal agendas. (The reader may desire to make a study of events leading up to this on one’s own for context.)
All of us probably have someone in our life who specializes in whining instead of winning. Life for them goes from bad to worse. Constantly entreating others for prayers or help, they fail to understand that the root of the problem is actually the private agendas of self and an un-surrendered and un-sanctified heart.
What often unfolds is that the perpetual whining about no-win situations puts off any who have been willing to help – with prayer or matters of practicality. Eventually intercessor and helper alike begin to realize that the ongoing game is “poor me”, and there is little if any interest in real answers that will resolve the issues. Instead the deeper unacknowledged wish is to have victimhood supported and perpetuated. Intercessor and helper alike then walk away.
In some cases there is also volatile reaction at any hint that this “victim of life” may not be in alignment with the Lord or willing to listen to His directives – either the revealed Word or that Still Small Voice in the heart which has the answers. This reactivity makes it doubly hard for truth to enter the scene. No, they insist, God will do my bidding; it’s only a matter of time. But meantime said sad soul goes about in its misery and disappointment from bad to worse, and in defeat.
If this is you, and your conscience is pricked, your ire raised, and offense taken, perhaps it is time to look into that mirror of the perfect law of liberty and see what appears. This mirror may not reveal who’s the fairest of them all, as in the fairy tale. The disappointing view may instead look like this:
There is a battlefield, and on a hill overlooking it is the tent of the General who is in command of the field. A Private just out of boot camp has been summoned to the General’s tent for orders. Instead of listening to what this wise, seasoned, and respected warrior expects of the Private, he begins to whine to the General about how inadequate are his rations, how uncomfortable are his quarters, how unsavory are his fellow soldiers, and how overwhelming are his duties. Additionally he impudently begins to give unsolicited advice to the General as to how he thinks this war should be won. This guy will be fortunate to not wind up in the stockade or court marshaled, for he is a threat to the mission and is inwardly absent without leave. He is traitor material.
At best he may receive some sort of “remediation” to help him better understand why he has been recruited and assigned here – if he is open to deeper ideas other than his own private agenda. I would offer that the private agenda portrays the “prayer style” of about 90% of Christendom. Stated bluntly, might it not be time to appear before God in silence, shut up, and listen for a change – in humility rather than effrontery?
Essentially “will worship” has infiltrated into the Churches. More than the Christ we claim to serve, it reflects the image of the first “light bearer” from of old, still standing in rebellion before God Almighty declaring his monumental “I will” statements. (See Isaiah 14:10-15 to see where that goes!) Where there is will worship there will also be whining, and a life that reflects that it is out of alignment with the Lord.
Hezekiah’s attitude instead reflects the mind of Christ whereby he reigned. St. Paul encourages us to allow that mind or attitude to be in us which was in Christ Jesus. This was the mind of perfect humility, of seeking nothing but God Himself and His will – it is the Way Jesus walked and wished to show us, the yoke that is easy.
Instead it is so easy to be governed instead by the drives of self – the private agendas (spurred on by the world’s values, politics, human philosophies, and corrupted religions) rather than the “General’s” directives. Yes, self… the same self we are to reckon as having died at the Cross of our Lord, must be replaced by the resurrected, ascended Christ in me the Hope of Glory! Does it make sense then that where self has already died, there is no more unholy trinity of “me, myself, and I”?
If we name the name of Jesus, of Emmanuel – God With Us, this then is the major “shift of consciousness” that needs to take place: He walks in us as us, in perfect oneness. All other ideas are illicit pretenders to the throne of the heart.
The modus operandi is that of showing up in the Presence of God in a receptive manner, in quiet listening and reflection. We sit at the feet of Christ as did Mary of Bethany, with no agenda of our own, but for greater understanding of why we are here and have been recruited. We have our Bible open, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal its depths to us, and then apply it prayerfully to our hearts. We examine ourselves daily to see if we are in the faith of Jesus. We understand the essential two-fold mission of the body of Christ: 1) that Jesus Christ manifested to destroy the works of the devil; 2) that He became the son of man that we might become the sons of God. If we can keep these at the forefront of our motivations, we do well – humbly, without murmuring or complaining.
We show up for work – His work of Grace in us! No private agendas.
We could say that Mary Jesus’ Mother also typifies the body of Christ, reflecting the humble attitude of the mind of Christ. If we are going to bear Christ to the world, we must let her affirmation of surrender be ours, “Be it unto me according to your word.”