Oh! Listen to My Voice, eagerly, joyfully. Never crowd it out. I have no rival claimants, and if men seek the babble of the world, then I withdraw. Life has hurt you. Only scarred lives can really save. You cannot escape the discipline. It is the hallmark of discipleship. My children, trust Me always. Never rebel. The trust given to Me today takes away the ache of rejection of My love that I suffered on earth and have suffered through the ages. “I died for you, My children, and could ye treat Me so?”
~A.J. Russell, in God Calling
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is One Bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the One Bread. Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
~paul, The Least of The Apostles, in 1 Corinthians 10
Oh beloved, it is true.
The world screams for our attention. And so often we listen. We know that this is not a good idea. We understand that being friends with the world (not creation, but the fallen and cosmotic system that sets itself up against Truth and Love and The Way) can put us very much into enmity with G_d.
This entry is not about the obvious.
It is not about the stuff that screams for our attention. We know the strange fire of our flesh well enough. We; us formerly lost boys from The Colony of Mercy, know the chemicals and images and other life-dominating sins that we gave ourselves to. We know the destruction. We know that pain. We know the stench of that death. Mostly, we keep learning each day to reckon the old wreck of who we were: dead. And then, on our better days we remember something else. We are alive – in Him!
And this IS the point of this entry.
So much of our lives is spent in the battle against our flesh. So much of our efforts can go into providing for those in our sphere. So much of our strength can be spent in efforts that are True, Noble, Just, Pure, Lovely, and Worthy of Praise. But there is this problem. We stop the first things. We put out the strange fire of the flesh, but forget the Fire of Creation Who now burns within our souls.
Can we see it?
Just as we are going along in these pursuits, we can quickly lose the beat that helped compose the music of our lives. The big noises of the world – and (gasp!) even the activities of our faith – can crowd out the Still Small Voice that drew us into these pursuits in the first place. Check out this epic chapter in Elijah’s life (after an angel had grilled him some superfood) from 1 Kings chapter 19:
And Elijah arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of the army of the LORD. For the people of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
(ed. note: Notice the intensity of Elijah’s zeal. See his willingness to work for G_d!!!! But G_d seems to be pursuing a different question.)
And He said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.
And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.
And after the fire the sound of a low whisper... And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a Voice to him and said,
“What are you doing here, Elijah?” … This is a really good questions come from our Maker if we will listen. And the Word has a pretty simple word for ANYTHING other than HIM that holds the center of our intentions. And that word is: Idolatry
So, to Whom are you beholden? What really grabs your attention and keeps it? Oh yes, the world is full of distractions and death traps. We will not rise above that in our lives in this world. But the question is clear. Where is our center? Where do we return to by default? May this fool of a writer suggest our default position? Listen to The Voice of the One who holds you in His everlasting arms. Come away from the clamor of the world system. Listen to the One Who Loves you since before time began.
Keep listening. And you will know where you are, Whose you are, and what to do.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Think About This: “What a weak comfort is the praise of men. Upon such a frail ledge do we mortals build our happiness.” – Francis Frangipane