As we’ve been going through the Psalms, we have talked a lot about meditation and prayer. We have been taught how to sit with the text, think it over, and to respond in worship and prayer to God through contemplation, confession, petition and praise.
As I write this, the Supreme Court has handed down what will be the “Roe v. Wade” of marriage, redefining marriage in all 50 states. This is a sober moment, and I am a conscientious dissenter from this ruling. The Court now has disregarded thousands of years of definition of the most foundational unit of society, and the cultural changes here will be broad and deep. So how should the church respond?
The Psalms by and large are brutally honest to the complexities of life. The righteous man does not always do or think the right thing. The righteous does not always win or prosper the way that he should. The wicked are not miserable, they aren’t wicked in every way, and usually do not receive their justice.
We must distinguish two things which might both possibly be called “nearness to God.” One is likeness to God. God has impressed some sort of likeness to Himself, I suppose, in all that He has made. Space and time, in their own fashion, mirror His greatness; all life, His fecundity; animal life, His activity. Man has a more important likeness than these by being rational. Angels, we believe have likenesses which Man lacks: immortality and intuitive knowledge. In that way all men, whether good or bad, all angels including those that fell, are more like God than the animals are.
When we first begin to form a habit, we are fully aware of it. There are times when we are aware of becoming virtuous and godly, but this awareness should only be a stage we quickly pass through as we grow spiritually. If we stop at this stage, we will develop a sense of spiritual pride. The right thing to do with godly habits is to immerse them in the life of the Lord until they become such a spontaneous expression of our lives that we are no longer aware of them. Our spiritual life continually causes us to focus our attention inwardly for the determined purpose of self-examination, because each of us has some qualities we have not yet added to our lives.
Now here is a funny thing. We moderns, we believe Jesus did many things. Many wonderful things that are not all recorded in John's gospel account. John in this passage is often considered to be exaggerating because there is no way he could have anticipate the volumes of learning, works of art, and literature from all the centuries to follow. John could not account for the volumes of the world–or did he?
There are many people in the world who have natural or what we often call "raw talent." Much of our modern media is obsessed with finding such raw talent. Through avenues such as SportsCenter, YouTube, The Voice, Master Chef, and even Dancing with the Stars. America is weekly searching and taking in some of the greatest raw talent this side of the globe.