August 27, 2015

Open for 2015 {Week 32}

Hey folks!  I really feel like I've got nothin' for ya this week, so we'll see how this post unfolds.  Being out of the blogging routine has me forgetting to look for ways the Lord wants me to be OPEN.  I wonder what I've missed!  In January, for accountability, the routine, and the fun, I committed to blogging twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Summer as utterly derailed me!  Perhaps the fall will revive the routine.

Thankfully good things have been taking the place of writing. August has been a peaceful, low-commitment month with the family, and I've been enjoying more regular reading, exercise, and Bible study.  We resumed school early this year so we could keep hosting Monday morning playgroup, so we're nearing the end of week three.  Speaking of which, can I just give God a big word of praise for how He is bringing moms and little ones into our home every week?  I am in awe and so thankful!

Last week, I finished up Purity of the Heart is to Will One Thing, by Soren Keirkegaard.*  I joked with my husband that now I feel like I'm off the hook for reading anything for, like, a year.  Serious brain-stretcher!  Suddenly in the middle of a day I'll be thinking about some theme from the book that snaps me out of over-focus on the temporal and on myself.  Kierkegaard talked so much about "the Eternal," i.e. God, and the many ways we think of Him wrongly or deal with Him deceptively or fail to comprehend that none of life is to be lived in comparison to anyone else.  The latter point is the one that really gets me.  Kierkegaard rightly, but painfully, reminds the reader in the closing chapters of the book that when all is said and done, it will be each individual before God.  We are each responsible to God.   He states, In eternity you as an individual will only be asked about your faith and about your faithfulness.  p 210

That's a real humdinger, isn't it?!

The thrust of the whole book is that to be pure in heart, we must forsake all double-mindedness will only one thing, the Good.  He gets the root of the idea from James 4:8,

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Kierkegaard flushes out the many ways we are double-minded: willing other things or pretending to will one thing but not, in fact, willing one thing.  And he argues that to will one thing, we need to be conscious of who we are, which means we need to have space in our lives for contemplation and confession.

While the text is convicting, it by no means leaves the reader feeling hopeless.  That reminds me of 2 Corinthians 7:10,

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Early in the book, he speaks of the two companions God gives us to help us on the narrow way of willing one thing: repentance and remorse.  It is the Lord who leads us to repentance that we might know better His love - He always forgives! - and desire more to live in His way.

Hm, I guess this speaks to being OPEN to purity of heart: to be transformed by God through quieting my mind, to be willing to acknowledge and confess my sin, to desire to will one thing.  For I do believe that as we move toward willing one thing, we walk into living life as we were designed to live it.

Time to Take Action:
I'll leave you with James 4:8 again and a couple of Kierkegaard quotes for personal meditation.
"Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
"Father in heaven!  What is man without Thee!  What is all that he knows, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if he does not know Thee!  What is all of his striving, could it even encompass a world, but a half-finished work if he does no know Thee: Thee the One, who are one thing and who art all!"  p 31 (opening lines of the book) 
"For confession is a holy act, which calls for a collected mind.  A collected mind is a mind that has collect itself from every distraction, from every relation, in order to center itself upon this relation to itself as an individual who is responsible to God.  It is a mind that has collected itself from every distraction, and therefore also from all comparison.  For comparison may either tempt a man to an earthly and fortuitous despondency because the one who compares must admit to himself that he is behind many others, or it may tempt him to pride because, humanly speaking, he seems to be ahead of so many others."

There, that should keep us busy!  Blessed be the Eternal One, who is our Faithful Companion and Loving Father.  Come near to Him!

*Special thanks to my dad for giving me this book, many years ago!

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