Friday, January 06, 2017

Growing Self-Recession as Progress in the Spiritual Life


Staircase, University of Michigan

One theme in my spiritual life over the summer has been the loss of self so as to gain Christ. God has told me "John, learn the joy of living in the background!"

It happened again to me recently at Redeemer, as we were worshiping. We were singing "From the Inside Out" and one of the lines talks about "the art of losing myself." I pulled out a 3X5 card and wrote the words down. This is it, the key to whatever Christ-effectiveness I shall have in this life.

Theistic philosopher Roger Scruton, in The Soul of the World, writes:

"If there is anything that could be called progress in the religious history of mankind, it resides in the gradual preference for the self over the other as the primary sacrificial victim. It is precisely in this that the Christian religion rests its moral claim." (Scruton, 2)

I pick up my journal. I'm looking for what God told me a few weeks ago. "Be content to stay in the background. Prepare for how I will use you in the end."

This is good, because a sign of progress in spiritual formation is growing self-recession. God is gifting me with a ministry of absence.

In the spiritual life, smaller is better. I'm praying for this.