Sunday, March 16, 2014

Abiding In the 4 Members of the Spiritual Cross

“Blessed indeed are the obedient, for God will never permit them to go astray.”
— Francis De Sales (1567 – 1622)
These four above are the members of the Spiritual Cross. But three – obedience, chastity, and poverty – need to be raised upon the fourth: humility. Obedience is the bountiful conviction to divinity of the heart, chastity of the flesh, and poverty to everything the world possesses so the vessel can love and give the fullest of their service to God.
Humility must finish its work in us, by the commonly consistent sacrifice of the person who is no longer their own. The person who is rightly God’s – with no doubting of their own from within – is the person who’s genuinely of humility. Sure, the flesh still abides in one’s thoughts, but those thoughts are efficiently brought captive to Christ.
Such is the obedience of the Blessed.
Blessed Are the Obedient
The key truth of this subject is the alignment between our obedience and God’s abiding in us in protecting us from going astray. The more we trust and obey, the less room there is in our future to backslide either by becoming ineffectual or to slip out of the faith altogether.
This is such a fundamental truth as to command the Christian’s direct witness: a Christian is to know this thing, to live it, and to exemplify it in order that others would see Christ’s light shine, with sincerity, in and through them. That is discipleship and evangelism, brought together in such a way that it is the very act of worship.
Far too many Christians bash their gums too much, and a would-be listening world is tired of hypocritical rhetoric. They hanker to see something different, genuine, warm, and truthful. Even ‘relevant’ has become rhetoric.
Evangelism that cannot follow through in the ways of the Spiritual Cross is more than useless to God. Turning people off is turning people away, and that would be the reverse gospel.
As we ditch our words in favor of deeds – the obedience of the heart, the chastity of the flesh, and poverty to the things of this world, with humility – we are, in fact, becoming the evangelists God seeks. We must reverently respect God.
All these matters cannot be separated from the idea of obedience – our necessary obedience to those who God has put in front of us, and our voluntary obedience of love beyond lawful matters. The evangelist sets these matters high in their personally held values. The evangelist is a disciple, first and foremost. When the evangelist is the epitome of obedience they advance the Kingdom by the will of God. The Kingdom is hence attractive to would-be converts – who are nothing else unless they are discipled in the matters of blessed obedience.
Blessed indeed are the obedient, for God will never permit them to go astray, which means everything done is ultimately in tune with the will of God.
Truly the best of life is given to us when we give our lives away. When there is no more seeking for self, God sees to it that we will not be led astray in the doing of his will. Obedience begets blessing, because as we abide in God, God abides in us.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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