As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve parked myself in the book of James. I’ve been thinking about silence and how it is good to ruminate on our relationship with God, on what we know about him, and then reflect on whether or not we are really following Jesus. I’ve said this before; but we mistake God-talk for godly lives. We can talk very sophisticatedly about God and yet live a God-less life. It’s a sort of functional atheism. It is also self-deception.
When I was younger and perhaps into my early twenties, I couldn’t believe the unfaithfulness of the nation of Israel as recorded in Scripture. Time after time, God did miracles, proved himself faithful, yet they worshipped other gods. They had rebellious spirits and wandering hearts.
The other day I was thinking about it and realized that our church, I’ll say the American Church because that is my context, is just like ancient Israel. We are anemic, ill Christians as a whole–although there are many, many, incarnate icons of God walking around and drawing many to him–if we only have eyes to see them.
I think about my own life and wonder if I too am anemic. Where in my life does my God-talk exceed my God-living? Oh there are areas. Yes, there are. When we ask those questions of the Lord he will reveal things to us. For every deficiency in Christ character (deficiency in spiritual fruit) that I have, there is a corresponding fruit of the Spirit that God wants to grow in me.
So there needs to be times of silence and solitude in our lives–communal and individual reflection too–so we can get an idea of what fruit God is trying to grow in us. During these times, we must cease striving to right the wrongs in others and allow God to lovingly till our souls. Silence and a listening ear instead of a wagging tongue allow us to do that. As far as I go, I feel the Lord showing me that I need to train myself to pause when I am naturally inclined to speak. I just need to listen. To listen.
I think this will be a year of further training in listening to God and others. May God have mercy on me a sinner and give me these graces.