“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
The snowy weekend of these two past days, provided me with time to catch up on many projects around the home. Shoveling several times also offered me intense exercises that I have not done in a while. Surprisingly though, my muscles adjusted quite well. No aches and pains, thank goodness! I associate this pleasant surprise with the daily stretch exercises I make time to do. Even my somewhat achy knees seemed to breeze right through.
In this snowy downtime, I also had the opportunity to catch up on much needed reading. One of the books I have recently started is one based on psychological distancing (PD). This is a fascinating subject for me, because although I prefer to be alone, I am also aware that I may be distant physically, but not spiritually or emotionally. I can afford these elements by managing text messages and phone calls in quantities that do not become overwhelming to me. I use the word overwhelming, because although I am alone, in this aloneness, I must force myself to take time to sit down. Aloneness in my case, does not always mean leisure.
One striking statement in the book discussed above is, “Psychological distancing is the ability to take a step back and reflect on our circumstances from a more objective perspective, outside of ourselves.” Hmmm! Was my first thought to this statement, because in my case, PD represents other elements of my life. These aspects may be:
- Incorporating emotional intelligence (EI) with PD in situations where my intentions or words are misconstrued.
- Peeking into areas outside of my life where I observe serious misalignment pertaining to everyday relationships.
- Listening heartedly, to deconstruct my belief concerning God’s words and the exact context of them. Then doing the same when it comes to viewpoints, I find to be unclear or not in alignment with His teachings.
As I dissected the words of the author, with these presented aspects, it appears all three are in alliance with his statement, after all. Offering areas to never jump to conclusions and likewise preventing the risk of an EI breach over circumstances not so serious. Circumstances that could be ironed out so easily. Instead of assumptive false and unlinked perceptions.
In the past I have discussed the pharisaic mind both in writing and verbally. I have always believed that the thought processes of these “holy groups” in the notion of human condition and need of power, warrants deeper study. Surface level thinking and approaches concerning these men, do not fill my longing to understand their reasons and motives. I think now of their question to Jesus on why His disciples did not wash their hands before eating (Matthew 15:2). The King James Version says this on the question the Pharisees asked Jesus…“Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” In almost every translation the word “tradition” is used. Jesus’ response...“And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” Nowhere in the Old Testament (OT) is this command made by the Pharisees mentioned. Thus, the word “tradition” and not “God’s commands”. This was a tradition the Pharisees created themselves to control the people of this time.
When I read the Bible, I read in the understanding that there are three primary context I must ponder. They are:
When these are thoroughly applied in my attempts to produce more understanding, I am further confident in what I read, and garner clearer insight on how I can best link them into my written expressions and equally my heart. When I think of Jesus, He stepped back to obtain more clarity. He was also not concerned when the need arose to speak His mind concerning the truth of His Father’s words.
When I take the time to step back and view the life situations, verbiage, actions of friends or even acquaintances, and those of myself, looking in may seem simply fine. But I maintain that it is not so, until I am willing to step back, then step into discussions or even the silence of any equivocal circumstance. Right then, I can see clearly. The mental cloudiness and verbal numbness cease. Yet, despite resolve, the teachings of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit must remain. Yes, even after clarity restricted to specific situations come. When I am outside myself, I must remain inside myself.
This self, which is love. The love, I try so hard to make resemble the love of Christ. And, when I search hard and wide for this love in my every being, when I cannot find it sometimes, I know that God’s propitiation remains. Promises that fill the broken moments and the confusion. It is in these times that God’s love and forgiveness for me are recognizably quite profound. Allowing me to continue to hold on to thankfulness for what Christ did for me. The imputation of my iniquities transferred to Him! All of my iniquities are between us.
Unequivocally, Jesus’ expression of sincere love is the most important anyone could ever know. His love was also displayed through rebuke of those who chose to not follow His Father’s words. Those who instead, created and slid in “traditions”, not part of God’s commands.
My adherence to a practical sola Scriptura guided only by God’s grace and precise teachings of His words, present lessons to love better. This process continues to highlight my saving faith when I am nagged by unkind words or misunderstandings, when I worry, when I am unclear and brave enough to discuss my ambiguity on some teachings and doctrines, and in moments I am afraid. It extends to me the intellectual components of God’s truth. The ones I search to verify their accuracy, compared to what I sometimes hear. I assert that my validation further validates Him to those who don’t know Him. I only need His truth in real clothing (Matthew 7:15). Lastly, my practical sola Scriptura enhances my personal trust and dependence on Christ as I harness and embrace the sweetness of His love, despite my blemished heart. The same heart which, recognizes and accepts other blemished hearts on this Christian walk, even if I am confused by them at times. When I am confused by mine. Christ forgives my trespasses. Again, I am thankful!
In this stance this past weekend:
-I shoveled 20 inches of snow through, soli Christo!
-Sat down to read with, soli Christo!
-Clarity came, comes, through, soli Christo!
-Perceptive reflections in PD with, soli Christo!
-EI during trying times from, soli Christo!
-When I study the Bible, I understand more about Him because of, soli Christo!
– soli Christo…in unpredictable instants, allows my heart to adjust quite well.
-Forgiveness of my sins come through, soli Christo.
-In all that I am, soli Christo!
Kross, E. (2021). Chatter: The voice in our head, why it matters, and how to harness it. New York, NY: Penguin Books