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Posts Tagged ‘sincerity’

I have studied wisdom in the scriptures off and on for some years. Wisdom, as she is personified female in Proverbs, intrigues me. I had forgotten, until now, that wisdom reappears here in James. And she is freely available to me, if only . . .

James 3:17
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

First of all, I think it’s important, in this case, to remind myself (and you, dear reader) that the kingdom of God is within me by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And yet, as big as God is, obviously, not all of God is within me either, just my share. But, as surely as that portion is within me, then my portion of wisdom is there as well. Both wisdom and the Holy Spirit are part of me, working in me to bring about my sanctification, my fullness in Christ, the light, released in totality, my actions a mirror of what is good and right, living through generosity, sacrificial letting go, and holiness.

These are the kernels which I have not yet appropriated from wisdom: purity (of thought, actions, motives); loving peace more than being right; being considerate of others without judgment or obligation; submitting my way to the Holy Way; offering mercy first; manifesting the good fruit of love in action; impartiality toward those who are rich or poor, sick or well, strong or weak; and above all sincerity and authenticity, plainly in view.

Wisdom is my fraternal twin who I have ignored most of my life.

What prevents our closeness, our unity? Envy and selfish ambition. These are my step-sisters. They are the ones I brought into my Christ relationship years and years ago. I hid them in the closet, believing they might still be needed one day, their personalities tempered by the Presence. Instead, when they came out, they were the same. And like Cinderella’s step-sisters, they were still cruel taskmasters, who take advantage of my every situation, point out what I am lacking, what I should have, who I could be, where I could live, if only . . .

They are the drum beat that never stops. They are the ones who taught me that what I have is never enough. They are the ones who encourage perfectionism. They are the ones who surround me like 360 degree mirror to show me all of my flaws and weaknesses and drive me to run faster, harder, longer.

Envy, Selfish Ambition, I want you to meet my other sister, Wisdom. She is going to live here now too. She is strong and knowledgeable. She is my advocate.

And she wants me to try on the glass slipper.

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I keep forgetting who I really am. I mean, there is a core, where Spirit resides within, where the Redeemer mystery took place, and that nucleus is holy. And worse, in the same way I lose myself, I also lose the “sacred other”: same core, same potential for good.

I Corinthians 5:7
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

If I could just hang on, daily, to the truth of the core, then the yeast of life’s challenges and bad choices wouldn’t find such a comfy environment to multiply. Instead of over-reacting to someone’s slight, I could draw on my shared center where the work was already done by the sacrificial lamb. I could forgive on the moment, instead of waiting for conscience to kick in later. Instead of replaying conversations, I could stay in conversation with the Spirit, a much more productive exchange. Instead of gossiping and tale-telling (oh, so cleverly), I could be building a new story with the God of Hope.

I am redeemed. I don’t have to be the ugly American, the chip on her shoulder worker, the judgmental observer, the pessimist.

Today’s yeast is no different than the biblical yeast: malice and wickedness. Do I really want that for my life? Do I want to allow my being to be consumed by this yeast unnecessarily? Or do I want to be that unleavened bread marked by sincerity and truth? [I Cor 5:8] The answer is a “no-brainer.”

Here’s what I have to do today: practice. That’s right. Practice sincerity and truth. Practice kindness and patience and self-control. Practice love. Believe in peace and joy and goodness. [Galatians 5:22]

These fruits are present already. They are the default harvest from the Holy Spirit within. The more I engage these fruits, the easier it will be to eat them and share them. Selah.

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