No Return: Giving oneself to God
“When you leave the world to give yourself to God, there is no return.” Nouwen
Questions to ponder…
Can we only give ourselves to God by leaving the world? Or, conversely, do we only give ourselves to God by immersing ourselves in the concerns of the world? Or can we do both at the same time: immerse ourselves in the issues of our time and yet be sufficiently detached that we do not seek worldly power?
What does it mean to give ourselves to God? Is it the same as giving ourselves to the service of the church? Or can it also mean a secular vocation? Is it a life of prayer? Or life of obedience?
Do we really give ourselves to God? Or are we also self-seeking? Or self-serving? What does it mean that “having given ourselves to God there is no return”? Are we bound to our commitment? Will God not let us off the hook?
As I read James 4:4 it said “what causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? I self checked my heart and the things that I want, the things that I see others have and desire, and the feelings that stir in me when I want the same things. Is it unrealistic to want them or have them at that point in time in my life and present circumstance? Is there envy and jealousy accompanying those thoughts?
Why are we so unsatisfied? What brings us contentment at the place we are right now? At this point in time, what are my motives regarding the things that I want or the things that I want to do? Is it to satisfy the way I feel, to please people, or simply to say yes I have done or achieved that.
What fuels those desires? Scripture says to “submit yourselves to God”. That statement may seem so hard and unattainable when our desires rage to be satisfied. Scripture says “God opposes the proud”, we must resist the devil and his temptations, to wash our hands and purify our hearts and not to be double-minded.
So often our aspirations can be self-serving. We must scrutinize ourselves that we are not slandering one another to get there, judging others to be self seeking and that we are not stepping on each other to be self-serving.
Scripture reminds us that we do not even know what would happen tomorrow. It tells us, our life is “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” and that we should say “if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that”. This means my own wants, desires, goals and needs, must be before God. That my thoughts, my will, my aspirations, all that my mind possess should be intertwined with the will of God for my life and not be self-seeking and self-serving.
What’s inside your heart?….and so the journey begins…,