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“We have met the enemy and he is us.”, Walt Kelly – via the character Pogo

August 18, 2013

What stands in the way of developing our relationship with our God? Satan? I think that Satan does have an impact on our ability to relate to our God but he is not the primary candidate for our failure to see our God as He is.

As you may have guessed I am going to write about our incessant need to be the center of the universe and how that represents the one true impediment to developing our relationship with God. I hope you recognize that I did not state or imply that it stopped us from establishing the relationship because we are not the author of that salvation, and we did nothing to secure it.

In my reading of Thomas Merton this week (No Man Is An Island – © Copyright 1983 – The Trustees of Merton Legacy Trust) I have been struggling through the section that deals with conscience. Merton contends that there are two consciences, the psychological and the moral conscience. He contends that the conscience is the window to the soul and is indicative of who we really are, not who we think we are.

The psychological conscience, as I understand what he is saying, is the one that we are intellectually aware of its existence. The moral conscience is represented to be that which is in concert with the Holy Spirit. Our desire to focus on the performance of the psychological conscience no matter how altruistic and pure our motives will drive us back to us and place the focus upon us. We in turn are directed back to God directly. It is in this moral conscience where we find the true connection with God and where our relationship, I believe is developed and nurtured.

How can we develop our moral conscience? I do not think that we can do so by any voluntary action on our part that is not based upon a diligent seeking of Him through prayer. This process can lead to a simplifying of our desires to include only what is good and in line with His purpose.

Merton speaks of understanding that all things that are given to us are gifts from God. They are not ours and some of these things are possibly too good for us to use or hold, should not be in our possession. This resonates for the poor addicted souls, of which I am one. There are certain things that I cannot possess because they represent an obstacle in my pursuit of the right relationship with God.

The enemy that I have met, stares at me in the mirror. He screams at me, “What about poor me and what I need?”. He tells me that it is okay to do this or to do that, when clearly it is wrong. God takes away the fear that man feels when he believes that he has been wronged or cheated. How can we have been cheated? God has given us far more than we could ever deserve. Whatever else He decides we are to receive is just another amazing gift that we owe only to Him as our benefactor.

I quietly come into a prayer room that has been ornately carved but simply furnished. I fall to my knees and wait for the Lord.  “Show me your ways Lord, teach me your paths, lead me in your truth and teach me.  For you are the God of my salvation and on you I do wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:4,5 New King James Version)  (As a brief aside I tend to enjoy reading the Psalms in the King James Versions)

It is up to us to respond to God’s invitation.  We have been given so much and my true desire is to serve God and return to Him all of the praise and glory because without Him I can do nothing.  In surrendering all we gain our freedom.  Freedom that was paid for in full.  A release from the bondage of fear.  Safe in the knowledge that our value is great and we are loved beyond measure.

As I look in that mirror I hope that some day I will see Jesus smiling back at me.  Our call is to Christ-likeness.  It is then that I know that the true enemy has been vanquished.

One Comment
  1. Great Merton quote. I enjoy reading and reflecting on his writings. Thanks for sharing.


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