May 26, 2011
There is a famous story academics like to use called The Drunkards Search and it goes like this. A police officer finds a rather inebriated man staring down at the ground under a street lamp muttering to himself. The officer approaches him and asks him what hes doing. The man responds I lost my car keys over near the alley. The officer responds How come you are not looking in the alley then? To which the drunk responds, The lights better over here.sports74.ru
I can relate . . . I tend to want to avoid struggles too. I dont want to go into the dark, messy, unfamiliar even if that is where my keys are. I want to stay in the clean, the familiar, the safe. Even lies that are safe and familiar seem preferable to scary truths.
My word this year is compass and it has been helpful when I keep it in front of me to remind me to clarify where I am and where I should be. It has even been helpful in helping me reflect on how to get there. So, yes, Ive identified anger issues earlier and distracting temptations earlier and in the best case scenarios Ive brought Gods truth to these situations: Peace not strife, . . . .that you love one another as Christ first love you . . . flee temptation, whatever is good think on these things.
But I have also found a limitation to my word. A compass is not a golf cart. That seems obvious when you write it out . . . . many things do I guess. But for much of this year I have not truly embraced the difference. I compass doe not move me. It shows me where to move. It is critical for navigation, it has nothing to do with locomotion.
There is a story similar to The Drunkards Search in the book of James (1: 22-25) that also strikes a bit too close to home:
But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.
But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).
Now that I have lived about 5 months with compass as my word I dont think James is getting at a clarity issue. I think hes saying Gods word is pretty clear here. But clarity doesnt eliminate the struggle.
So heres my simple to do list for the next month: One habit. Thats it. I want to develop one habit that marks me as a doer of the word. Ive been thinking (hoping!) that the compass would point to an epiphany that would remove the struggle to become Christlike. Kind of like an oasis mentality. Clearly, thats not happening. The Israelites wandered for 40 years and even then, the Promised Land still contained struggles that help define a nation.