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My Greatest Fear

May 9, 2008

There is a profound difference between being a person who is smart or educated – a person who has learned what to do in a given situation, and being a person who is wise – a person who has become someone who acts rightly out of true character. Some of the smartest people I’ve know in this life, proved by their actions to be very unwise. Up to this point in my life I would unfortunately have to place myself into the latter category as well. Not that I am particularly well educated, I was within one or two classes of obtaining an A.S. in Horticulture in college many moons ago, but to be honest I’m really more of a “Jack of all trades master of none” kind of guy. I know a great deal about many things, but have mastered very little, expect the uncanny ability to return to the Pig Pen God has rescued me from over and over again in my 53 years.

It matters little that while entrenched in the slop of my sin I have cried out to God as a slave cries out for his freedom; the memories of the cold and stench seem to fade so quickly. And once I am warm, dry and safe and have a belly full of the goodness and fatness of living in the land of promise, I have found myself either in a place of forgetting the stench and prison that is the pig pen – “Was is really that cold, that smelly, that confining?” Or, I find myself complacent about continuing on and getting as far from the slop as God will take me. I find a clean, warm spot and settle into mediocrity, far from the Theosis the Fathers spoke of.

I have said often that when we left the Evangelical church I discovered to my amazement that my spiritual life was like a lake 5 miles wide but only 2 inches deep. Oh it looked good on the surface, deep and blue, but I found that the actions of doing “ministry” accounted for most of my feelings of well being spiritually speaking. Instead of knowing God, I was doing FOR God the things I substituted for relational knowledge. Very little wisdom there. And now here I am, far away from the slop of the pig pen, praying that this time, I will neither return as a dog returns to its vomit, to the sin that so easily enslaves me, nor remain content to substitute the liturgy, the prayers, bowing, crossing and veneration’s for what they all meant to point us too, a true relational knowledge of the one who can fill us with the true life of the very God of gods. “Wisdom. Let us attend!”

That is my greatest fear as we approach Orthodoxy. That I will simply return to old unwise patterns of living and substitute “smarts” (what actions I learn to do) for true wisdom (what the actions are meant to help me become).

Lord have mercy upon me and neither allow me to forget the stench of the pen and return to my sin, nor let me become content with who I am. No Lord, let me not rest until I behold like in a mirror, Thy likeness.

Amen

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