My friend, may I ask you a question? Does substance drive you to find a way when one way no longer seems open to you? In the end do you find you achieve little for your effort other than the fact you tried? Spiritual journeys are no different. It may be a case of fanaticism over belief?
My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner.
Philosopher, poet and author George Santayana wrote. “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.” I was reminded of this recently as I watched a little gray squirrel as he repeatedly tried to climb the slippery metal pole that hold the several bird feeders in our front yard. He’d get about three feet up the pole and then slide back down. Since I had sprayed the pole with vegetable oil to keep him from making it all the way up, his little legs and arms just gave out within a foot or so of the prize, four different feeders filled with peanuts, sunflower and safflower seeds. As I watched him climb and tumble down repeatedly I began to wonder just how many times he would try before giving up. Somewhere around 20 he simply quit and began searching on the ground beneath the feeder for stray seeds, seemingly unaffected by his previous ten minutes of fanatic climbing attempts. I looked at the branches above the feeder and speculated that he could have climbed the tree and jumped down on top of the feeder. Nevertheless, I think he just lost his purpose after the last climb and tumble. Despite redoubling his efforts to reach the nuts and seeds just a few feet above him, I think that he eventually lost purpose and focus.
That squirrel was a fanatic working so hard at getting up the pole that he totally forgot what the goal was. He, in essence, took the easier route of just trying without focusing on the goal. That’s what fanatics do. It’s all about emotion and not substance. Substance drives us to find a way when one way no longer seems open to us. In the end they achieve little for their effort other than the fact that they tried. Spiritual journeys are no different. These are designed for believers not fanatics.
Here’s a thought from Oswald Chambers: “Beware of making a fetish of consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God. ‘I shall never do that’ — in all probability you will have to, if you are a saint. The one consistency of the saint is not to a principle, but to the Divine life. It is the Divine life which continually makes more and more discoveries about the Divine mind. It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God.” (My Utmost for His Highest, November 15)
Genesis 24:26-27 relates the story of Isaac’s journey to find the bride God had appointed for him: “Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, saying, ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.’” Isaac persevered in order to reach the goal that he knew God had in mind for him. He was faithful to the purpose of his journey and trusted that he would reach his goal regardless of the odds or the setbacks. Are you a believer who perseveres or a fanatic who has lost sight of the goal? It’s easy to lose sight of the difference when you take your eye off the goal: Jesus Christ. Religion may be like that feeder pole to some. It seems like the best way, but is it? Jesus may become nothing more than a statue behind an altar, a tempting way to get to God; yet, like the squirrel, making it to the top is an impossibility.
We pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us faith that believes, founded on faith and not trying. Help us Lord to keep ourselves focused on the goal, eternal life in Christ. Forgive us when we think that just being religious is enough to gain us the goal, fanatic for what we believe with little willingness to persevere when life blocks our way to meaningful worship. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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