Friday, July 23, 2010

Spiritual Maturity

"Even today my complaint is bitter;
       his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
If only I knew where to find him;
       if only I could go to his dwelling!
I would state my case before him
       and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would find out what he would answer me,
       and consider what he would say. – Job 23: 2-5

Today’s Reading: Job 22-24; Acts 11

My Dad’s house was not a democracy.

That sounds harsh but I don’t really mean it to be. There were just very clear rules and regulations. If you followed the rules there were no problems. But if you didn’t then…well there were problems.

The rules were rather simple and basic. Don’t lie, don’t be disobedient, study hard, get good grades… the basic stuff.

Oh yeah and the sometimes frustrating “Do what I say”.

Now the “do what I say” was not a starting point for discussion. It was a command, an edict. His word was law and there was no challenging it.

But this changed in an interesting way as I got older. With every year that passed he started to explain things more and more. Instead of just telling me to do something he started to also tell me why I had to do it. With age came greater responsibility, but also an understanding that I was more mature. He was no longer dealing with a child ruled by simple desires but an adolescent who also had the ability to reason.

I wonder if this is how it works with God too…

Many religions focus on the rule of law. While laws are important, I have often felt that when I encountered them, they don’t have much regard for the intellect that I possess.

Like Job I have had questions and I have demanded answers.

I believe that it is only in the seeking out of these answers that we find them; even if in the process we challenge some of the notions that we have always held close to us.

This is the journey of any spiritual person. The goal is to grow out of a mindless obedience to words on a page and into a mature relationship with God, ourselves, and others that allows us to live in complete freedom within the limits of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

So when I see Job asking his questions, I don’t see disrespect as his friends might suggest. I see a person struggling to understand; struggling to grow.

I see a person struggling to be the best that he can be… and I applaud him for it. 


  1. Sometimes living by the "words on a page" is a good thing. Everything isn't meant to be or is in need of challenge.

    But as is the case with using the word "sometimes", it is quite true that we must give challenge and consideration to what we consider as rules to live by. Rules or norms for one person can be different for another, or be exactly the same but carry a different meaning.
    And accepting or not accepting either though without full understanding of their meaning is not truly beneficial to spiritual growth.

    Religion does not allow us room really to question rules in any way. Spirituality though does. And its through the connection between our spirit and God's where we learn, and grow.
    Thankfully God, as Job shows, allows us this levity without it be a reflection of how deeply we believe.

  2. oh and great picture choice. his eyes and slight smile, the place of his hand (as if someone said-"let me see you smile") as if briefly removed from his chin to reveal the slightest contented smile...lovely.

  3. Good morning Clarence, I really like this post. It reflects growth and pain. Truth be told, you would not be able to understand or relate to what job was going through had you not grown within yourself. This really is a powerful message of entering into what I call "Sonship".

    This is a place where God can trust you with His most precious secrets. He does not give those to children or to just anybody. The Father only gives His precious jewels to His sons and daughters.

    To parphrase what you were saying: When we transition from a place of aimlessly just doing as we're told, to asking questions for clearer understanding, we are growing up.

    BTW, I love the picture...great illustration.


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