Showing posts with label Spirituality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spirituality. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Spiritual Immaturity: The "Me" Syndrome

Many times, we have all been faced with this same dilemma...someone who is angry with God because of things that are happening, or has happened to them in their lives, and it is a difficult situation to handle to say the least. Most times, I have stood there like a dumb struck mule, and been unable to help them, been unable to give them what they needed to hear. Especially when they are so angry at having been "forsaken" by God. The thing that always strikes me, is how we frail, emotion driven humans react to so many different situations that occur within our lives. We seem to forget about praying to God, giving Him thanks, when things are going well. Yet, when things go wrong, we ask, where is God? Why is He not helping me? Even, why does God hate me, and love someone else, and give them so much? The truth is, God doesn't forsake us, we forsake Him.

We are so many times, such myopic people, seeing only what we perceive as coming from us, from our work, from our efforts, that we forget, that all the good things in our lives, comes from God. The home that we live in, the car that we drive, the food that we eat, all come from the blessings of God. Yet, we all, myself, and I dare say most people reading this, get so caught up in the "me" syndrome, that we tend to start thinking too highly of what "I" have received, as the rewards of "my" efforts, instead of seeing them for what they truly are, and that is the fruits of the blessings we receive from our Heavenly Father. So, who do we give thanks to? Ourselves. We give ourselves a pat on the back, and congratulate ourselves on our hard work and efforts paying off. We did it, and we did it all on our own.


Then, one day, we are just strolling along, just letting the world go by, and we get a lay off slip from work. We get behind on our payments, we have an illness, and we have to start cutting back more and more, and we see no end in sight. So, then we begin to pray. We ask others to pray. Why? Because now we are desperate! It is then, that we see God as our only recourse, our only way out, so to speak. We remember then, that we should have been giving thanks to God all along.

Sometimes though, there are those who see no way out. They see God as having turned His back on them. They get angry. They become resentful, even jealous. They refuse to turn their troubles over to God, yet are very willing and able to give Him all the blame, even when the blame is due to the choices that they have freely made. They will not see that God is their refuge, their port in a storm, their Father who loves them.

Now, some of you have children, and you love your children, and want only the very best for them. So it also is, with God. We are His children, and He wants only the best for us, here in this life, and in the life yet to come. Now, having children, and having been children ourselves, we know, that children are often inattentive. Children do something you do not want them to do, so you tell them to stop what they are doing. They don't "hear" you, and keep doing what you asked them to stop. You tell them again. They still keep on with the misbehavior. So, the next time, you give them a swat to get their attention, and miracle of miracles, they are suddenly able to hear you, and do as you ask. So also, it is with God. We become inattentive children, not giving Him our attention. He gives us a little nudge, and still we don't listen. Then, He gives us a little swat, so to speak, to wake us up.

As the scripture below so clearly tells us, we should pray, and pray, and pray again. The Holy scriptures tells us to pray without ceasing. So, your asking for prayers for your loved ones, your friends, even complete strangers, is absolutely the correct course to take. Nothing we humans can do, nothing we can say, is as strong, or as effective as prayer! I know, that sometimes people feel that prayer is not enough, that there must be something more that they can do. How much more can we do, than to pray for those we love, to our Heavenly Father, who loves us all, beyond our ability to understand?

Also, don't forget to give thanks to God for what we have!! One of the signs of spiritual maturity is always being thankful to God for what He does for us each and every day. Don't get caught up in the "me" syndrome.

James 5: 16...For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much!

Luke 11: 5 And he said to them: Which of you shall have a friend and shall go to him at midnight and shall say to him: Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 Because a friend of mine is come off his journey to me and I have not what to set before him. 7 And he from within should answer and say: Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot rise and give thee. 8 Yet if he shall continue knocking, I say to you, although he will not rise and give him because he is his friend; yet, because of his importunity, he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say to you: Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth: and he that seeketh findeth: and to him that knocketh it shall be opened: 11 And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? Or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him.

Copyright © 2006 Steve Smith. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Faith...Tested or Tempered?

Many times over the years of my life, I have heard many people say, when speaking of hardships, or difficulties that arise within their lives, that God is "testing" their faith. I have heard this from people at work, at church, and in other walks of life. The idea that God needs to "test" us, is an idea, that has often bothered me. Time and time again throughout the Bible, we are told that God is an all knowing, all seeing God. Nothing is hidden from Him. He knows all that we think, all that we say, all that we do. There is nothing about us, or our faith that He would need to "test"! Far from it! He already KNOWS what my faith is, what your faith is, what our neighbors faith is........ or is not.

Let's look at the definitions of "test" that can be found at
1. A procedure for critical evaluation; a means of determining the presence, quality, or truth of something; a trial: a test of one's eyesight; subjecting a hypothesis to a test; a test of an athlete's endurance.
2. A series of questions, problems, or physical responses designed to determine knowledge, intelligence, or ability.

So, we can see here, that God would not need to "test" us. When you and I were in school, we were taught by teachers, who have no means of knowing what we think, what we believe, what we know. How do they ascertain this? They test us. They can not look into your heart. They can not know what you think. Being human as are we, they must test you, to see if the knowledge they have imparted has taken root. God does not need to test what He already knows. So, the next question is, then why do we go through the trials we face in our lives?

God's love for us, is immense, it is beyond all human capability to grasp, to understand how completely He loves each and everyone of us, even when we do things that are far from lovable. What God does, is not test our faith, but, He "tempers" it.

Let's now look at the definitions for "temper":
1. To modify by the addition of a moderating element; moderate: "temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom" (Robert H. Jackson).
2. To bring to a desired consistency, texture, hardness, or other physical condition by or as if by blending, admixing, or kneading: temper clay; paints that had been tempered with oil.
3. To harden or strengthen (metal or glass) by application of heat or by heating and cooling.
4. To strengthen through experience or hardship; toughen: soldiers who had been tempered by combat.
5. To adjust finely; attune: a portfolio that is tempered to the investor's needs.
I think, once again, we can see from these definitions, how God is working with us, in our trials, to "temper" us.

If you have ever seen a blacksmith working with metal, you have seen without realizing it, a comparison of how our trials "temper" us. The blacksmith takes the iron, and places it in the forge, heating it, changing it, and the iron becomes steel. It has been made stronger, better than it was before, because it has been tempered, and the blacksmith shapes it with the hammer, creating something new, that can now be used for an intended purpose.

So, God also does with us. He wants us, to come to Him. Rely on Him. Trust in Him. He allows us, to go through our trials, our sufferings, so that we will come to Him, place ourselves solely in His care. Then, He makes us, our faith and trust in Him, stronger, better, newer than it was before! We become, a new improved Christian. We become, someone that He can show His love, and His light through! We have become a new "tool" for God. This is why, when we face hardships, when we face troubles, when we face heartache, when we face any adversary in life, we should turn to God, and lay ourselves, and our trials at His feet, for He wants us to come to Him. So, go to your parish, go to a chapel, go to your bedroom, and lay all your cares and worries before God. Cry if you need to, but, talk to God. He is there, He will listen, and He will understand, and bring comfort. Just talk to Him, as you would any friend. He, is the greatest, most compassionate, most forgiving, and most understanding, friend, Father...the most loving creator, for us all.