Sunday, September 3, 2017

You Think As Human Beings Do


Nothing is more true when one finds themselves in trouble due to their own human thinking. Jesus rebuke of Peter as he desperately tries to hold onto a human understanding of God's will is a lesson for us as well. The innate desire to control the outcome of situations that are beyond our control only causes heartache, anger, resentment, and the list goes on. For myself this is a daily challenge as I find myself meandering in the inner recesses of my mind in a fruitless endeavor to manage my own life.

I am human therefore I think. That in itself is quite good. I am thankful that I have the ability to do so. However, if I even attempted to measure my thought process in an hour, where my mind goes and how I try to control situations I become an obstacle to the presence of Holy Spirit much as Jesus tells Peter, "You are an obstacle to me. You are not thinking as God, but as human beings do" (MT 16)


I find that most of the time I don't even pause to allow God into a situation that might be troublesome or challenge. I impulsively dive right into it sometimes with good results, sometimes with marginal results, and sometimes creating more problems than what were originally present.  The cross is not something I want to intentionally carry by  giving up my will and offering my body as a living sacrifice as Paul exhorts us in Romans.   He is quite clear as he enjoins us not conform us to this age, but be transformed by renewal of your mind in order to discern the will of God so that we can be good, pleasing, and perfect.  Much easier to be pleased in this day and age then follow Paul's plea to the Romans.

Carrying a cross in our society is far from this message. The easy way out is offered to us at every corner whether it be real or that which is anchored in the recesses of our minds. Moreover, it is easier to go our own way as the Fleetwood Mac song says and ignore the cross.  I heard about two priest today in the homily given by one of our pastors who detailed each of their roads to the sacramental calling. One was a successful hairdresser in Montreal who had it all; the money, the world travels, the nice house and vehicles, and the other was a successful aerospace engineer who had tremendous success as well as wealth. The hairdresser lost his job, house, and money and subsequently ended up on the streets. The engineer despite his success found emptiness in all that he had and heard the call to the priesthood instead. Thinking that more money, more cars, more everything, is very much the message of American definition of success.  We don't pay attention nor do we hear much of those who carry the cross of the Gospel because our media doesn't find value in this.


I can think of the many times in my desire to become a successful person whether in my profession, coaching, parenting, and just being a person living the "American Dream" that I find myself coming up empty. The platitudes are temporary in my quest and leave me desiring more and coming up with less.  As this occurs I find myself coming back to God over and over again. Yes, Psalm 63 rings true as it says, "My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God. Sometimes this is after failure and fault. Other times it is after relentlessly pursuing a goal that may be self-centered.


"What do want from me?" is my cry. Maybe it is time I listen and follow Paul as he talks or renewal and Jesus as tells his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself and take up his cross." (MT 16:24) Self denial just might be want the answer is. For me this may mean an examination of how I am living and what am I pursuing. Lately I have been faced with the challenge of recovering from neck surgery along with having back problems. Although my surgical recovery is coming along fine, I want God to fix my back and I want it right now. The question is posed am I asking God to come into each event in my life and denying myself the right to control the situation? Most of the time the answer is no as I prefer to think as humans do. However, when this is done I find myself more at peace with outcomes and at peace with myself in general.

As I continue my life journey despite my desire to control situations I am constantly reminded whether in Scripture or just the events of life that thinking like a human usually doesn't get me anywhere. Inviting God into the challenges of my life and having acceptance of the outcome no matter what the cost is a cross I must carry if I want true life.

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