I am not sure where to begin. I took a long break that was desperately needed for reflection and time in God's Word. I needed to be quiet and listen instead of speaking and God certainly used that time in many ways. He has reminded me once again that He, alone is sovereign. He is reminding me through the book of Daniel and other means that the greatest idol to overcome in our lives is ourselves. The knowledge burns, hurts, but yet it is encouraging to know that He will continue to grow us, sanctify us, and make us more like Him. He does this (obviously) through His Word, but not only that, He uses the Body of Christ.
A while back I read a blog post lamenting the loss of mentors. Back then I dismissed it, but now I am beginning more and more to see that we need EACH OTHER to help us overcome the idol of self. In reality, the refusal to listen to sound advice from our elders, or even our brothers and sisters in Christ is elevating the idol of self. Granted, there will be times when we might disagree, but are we willing to really consider what others have to say? Or do we simply "tolerate" it and give it no thought at all. Can we throw "self" under the bus and simply say teach me God?
I am encouraged by several great examples I have seen in the public forum of the Internet where something that was not entirely accurate was put out with the best of intentions, and brothers and sisters came along and spoke the truth in love about the situation. What encouraged me was not only their willingness to endure wrath from readers, but the willingness to bend, the willingness to admit error for the sake of God's glory.
I do admit that my greatest flaws have extended into this area. I value great conversation (some would call it debate, some would call it argument.) But I have seen in the past, the times when I was unwilling to bend. Times when I have been set in my ways and unwilling to say to God: show me what You have to say about this. I anticipate that at some time (probably in the near future) I will fall into this trap again, especially since I am writing about it now.
What post-moderns seem to value most today is self-esteem. It is taught religiously in schools. We are taught to stand up for what we believe in, and while in and of itself that is not bad, we are not taught to seriously consider our own limited knowledge and capabilities. Secular humanism tells us that whatever we want to believe/say/do is right and it would be intolerant or unloving to question that. The Bible teaches something vastly different. It teaches us that we need each other to keep us on the straight and narrow. It teaches us to look deeper into our motives and question and allow the Holy Spirit to probe our intentions and our hearts. It tells me that as I am writing this, I might have some ulterior motive other than to simply speak truth and bring glory to God. God wants to shine His light in the darkest corners of our hearts and we DESPERATELY try to keep Him from reaching those places.
I see great value in mentors. I also see that part of the reason that we shun them is the culture we live in, and part simply the depths of our own sinfulness. We lament over the state of the Church all while building light-proof corners of our own hearts. I do it. I have done it. I will undoubtedly do it again in the future. Honestly, I still struggle with all of this and hence my unwillingness to blog regularly. Let's face it, I don't have all of the answers. But more than that, I do not want to put something out there that contradicts God's Word, especially in a public forum. Even if it is unintentional. It's not that I believe that God won't forgive me, but the Bible takes the role of a teacher very seriously and holds it to higher standards than the rest of us. I don't find myself all that qualified to meet that standard. And once again, I will admit that I do not know if I will continue to blog or not. It doesn't really matter one way or the other. It is not a self-denigrating thing, it is simply a stop for rest in the journey. But I just wanted to share this today because of where my study in Daniel is taking me. I am thrilled to be on the journey with all of you.