No matter how studiously I may apply myself to spiritual reading, or how devotionally disciplined I may be to times of prayer and meditation, there remains constantly with me that part of my own self that remains illiterate, undisciplined, and unruly in the ways and means of God.
It is this part of this self of mine that constantly reminds me that I yet have a long way to go in a journey of becoming Christ-like. The spirit is indeed willing. I want to become “like” the Great Master in every detail of the ideals presented in his Gospel-life. The flesh, however, is what it is and it has a way of getting in the way of being that example.
The Apostle Paul mentions pummeling himself to keep himself on the straight and narrow pathway. He uses other dire terminology in describing his journey – pressing toward, dying daily. Although I do not believe Paul tortured himself in acts of self-pugilization, errors that some, over the course of time, have made in their efforts to emulate his example of following Christ, there is something of a literal nature inherent in his personal allegorical descriptions.
I’m discovering that I’m a square one. In things Christian, in things Oblate, I find that I am continually returning to square one. I’m continually returning to the simple basics, starting over again and again with the basic building blocks, returning to my proverbial “cell” to learn again how to keep my estate small and low, learning again how to crawl.
There is a large difference between presumption and reliance in God’s economy. I do not presume upon or take for granted the grace and mercy of God. I rely upon them and in my reliance recognize and admit, as the Psalmist in 65.3, that my own misdeeds prevail against me insisting my continuous pleas for mercy.