Hope for understanding of the love that exists in all relationships with others that I might better understand God’s love for everyone and everything. Hope that “Understanding” will enter my heart to clear the way for me to be more loving and therefore Christ like. Hope that “Understanding” will make me a better servant, counselor and friend. Hope for “Understanding” that will enlighten me to all the knowledge resident in the Scriptures that it is God’s desire that I comprehend.
Education for Ministry
May 27, 2014
“Be careful what you pray for!” This prayer was offered to my Education for Ministry (EfM) class in May as we finished our second year of study. God, as usual, is answering my prayers in ways I never expected, though in retrospect, I should have anticipated.
God is “Love” and therefore God does love everyone and everything. Understanding how God manifests Himself in relationships is sometimes difficult when I try to analyze that concept and justify my behavior or that of others. Thinking it through can be dangerous for me as I can probably justify almost anything if I think about it long enough. The change in attitude begins when I look into my heart and begin to feel what is right, continues as I share my feelings with those I am in relationship with and then directs how I act on those feelings in a loving and caring way.
“The Hope that ‘Understanding’ will enter my heart to clear the way for me to be more loving and therefore Christ like.” “Clearing the way” has interesting implications in the search for feelings. In order to make room for the understanding of God’s intentions for me, I must search for the defects and shortcomings that reside in my heart and drive “poor” behavior. Driven by fear, anxiety and misdirected innate energies there may be little room for Christ like approaches. I must work hard at replacing the defects with clearly defined positive behaviors that fill the void.
In the quest to become a better servant, counselor and friend, following the Christ like path, I must incorporate the positive behaviors which were undefined above. If I have been dishonest in any of my interaction with others is the new behavior defined as – I will no longer be dishonest? I don’t think it is that easy as I must take on a behavior that reflects honesty. A subtle difference but very important! To make the decision to live honestly implies a complete shift in behavior including a careful review of how I perceive and treat myself. It evolves to this, “I will live truthfully, respecting the needs of others and open to listening to my own needs.” Heavy, yes, but an important step in the process of defining my newly adapted behaviors. In prayer and meditation we can be open to God’s call to listen to His message and attempt to take the steps to become the person He calls us to become.
Defining the new action plan, including behaviors to replace all old defects of character and shortcomings, is a huge challenge but undertaken with God’s help, the rewards are life changing. This “Understanding” of how change will impact my relationship with God and those surrounding me leads to being a true servant, counselor and friend.
The “Understanding” that will enlighten me to knowledge resident in the Scriptures must be sewn into the new behaviors which include God in their development. Study of scripture opens the channel for me to define new behaviors that Christ laid out as the “right path” for us to follow. Following Him results in guiding all relationships within the covenant of “loving our neighbors as ourselves”.
Each day then becomes an opportunity to fulfill the hope that I expressed in prayer at the beginning of my summer. Working with those who are sick or in pain, confused or lost has lead to a deeper connection to the Love that is at the core of faith. That is what I asked for but didn’t realize it and now, in the middle of the journey, the Holy Spirit leads me to greater understanding!
11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:11-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)