I have been trying more and more to be a good steward of my brain in regard to technology. In the mornings I have chosen to not allow myself to pick up my phone. It has been surprising to feel the void that is there; to feel the pull of the glow and temptation of passive engagement; the uncomfortableness of the quiet and stillness. The unfamiliarity of time …
It has been interesting to see how quiet time leads to God time. Not with a devotional or structured prayer or study – but how, when I am still, and my brain is quiet I begin to feel His stirrings. Spirit to spirit. I do lots of Bible studying and God exploring in my structured time – but I have seen that it is in the stillness that these things leaf and fruit.
It reminds me of Charlotte Mason’s thoughts. The structured morning lessons for the taking in of knowledge but also the jealous guarding of quiet spaces of vacant time for the ideas taken in to digest, ruminate, germinate. Education doesn’t happen without both. Connection takes the two pieces together. She was on to something.
One of the things I have been ruminating in my vacant spaces has been, what it is God requires of me? I am in connection with so many ideas – all of which I could get on board with. Church should be this way, or that. Women should do this within in it, or that. This belief about future things or that. Worship should include this instrument but not that one, or none at all. Jewish traditions should be kept at this level or that or a third (!) – or not at all. The Church holidays, The “pagan” holidays, or no holidays. God prefers to be referred to as this, or that, or the other. So many ideas. So many people so quick and willing to prescribe to me what I should do. But what is it God requires?
This morning I heard the echo of someone else asking the same question. “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
I am currently reading Plato’s The Republic with our High Schoolers, its central theme being “What is Justice”? Some characters in this book argue that justice is simply everyone doing what is best for them. Further in, some believe a perfectly just society can be orchestrated from the outside and set about to describe exactly how that should look and be applied. What is justice? Can it be achieved through external means? We have learned that this is a humanistic way of thinking. This is understandable for a Greek culture outside of the Jewish tradition and before Christ. A noble attempt to tackle the big questions based on reason and one’s own knowledge and understanding. But is that all we are left with as followers of Jesus? External controls and reason?
What is it the Lord requires of me? To act justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with my God. There is some structure there, some definite outlines – but there are a lot of gaps as well. This is what I see throughout the New Testament, gaps that aren’t filled on purpose. Gaps that require relationship. (Relationships require time.) Gaps that require conversation spirit to spirit (Conversations require quiet spaces.) Gaps that are not there for someone to come along and fill for me. Gaps I am not called to come along and fill for anyone else. Walk Humbly.
All of that rambling to say – I still don’t know all of the answers! But feel I am now asking the right question. The question is not an external one of this or that or the other – but an internal question to be directed towards Him. There is intrinsic maturity that comes with humility. (Often a huge step towards maturity is to just be humble!) There is sometimes an uncomfortable tension that we have to be willing to sit with in order to be in relationship. That is what God wants of me. A relationship – so that he can speak to me what it is he requires of me. Not all at once but unfolded step by step. Conversation by conversation. Over the course of my entire life – until I meet Him face to face.
It is so much easier to have someone who “knows” tell you what to do. To take that responsibility, to take from us the weight of seeking, wrestling, understanding. But this is an abnegation of my duty towards God – a violation of my personhood.
Understanding this keeps me coming back to Him. In need of Him. It also allows me to maintain relationship with a wide range of people with a myriad of understandings. If we are all genuinely seeking Him – He is our common denominator. He is the link we have one to another -the cord that binds; not a building or a tradition or an understanding– but the lifegiving spirit Himself.
P.S. Most of my blog posts come out all at once, 5-10 minutes max. No deliberating or editing, but pure organic thought. Since this is the case – I often come back to re-read and see clarifications that could be made. That is why I am the weirdo who often has P.S.’s on the end of their posts! Here comes the one for this post: There are definitely non-negotiables in the Bible. They are our standard. I am not advocating for a willy nilly, “whatever-the-“spirit"-says-go-for-it” mentality. The true Spirit will never contradict His written word. What I am speaking of is all of the “extras”, the things beyond salvation by grace alone and the black and whiteness of sin. The things we wrap ourselves and our worship in. The ideas that can sometimes cloud and come between what matters. Maybe they do – but he can and will speak it to me – if we are on a conversational level. Can I trust that for myself, can I trust that for others?
Also- Shameless plug for my High School English Year 2! Want to read Plato with your students?!? I’ve made it easy! Available May 1, 2022. Subscribe to the blog for updates.