|Blessings to you!|
I was listening to a book the other day that provided a perfect indicator for spiritual maturity. The book, titled "Thank God for Evolution," addresses the age-old debate of Creation vs Evolution.
How spiritually mature do you think you are? This is not about how "religiously" or "spiritually" educated you are, how often you attend church or how well you know the Bible. Are you ready for your "test?" Ok...here goes...
The test of spiritual maturity is the degree to which you are able to embrace and comprehend paradox. A paradox is the juxtaposition of two things that appear to contradict each other but are both true.
That may sound simple enough, but in the "black or white," "this or that," "right or wrong" world we live in, it is much broader and deeper than it appears on the surface. Oh...and this is the same world that Jesus was born into.
AND...understanding paradox is at the heart of His teaching.
In the Bible, we see many instances of the Pharisees questioning Jesus; challenging His teaching, and seeking out ways He had broken the laws of the Hebrew people. He says at one point, "You think I have come to destroy the law...I come not to destroy, but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.
When Jesus said "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath," he did not in any way denounce the value of sabbath. He only shifted the focus from the "letter of the law," to the "heart of the law;" to its spiritual, or metaphysical meaning.
Imagine for a moment if everyone observed the sabbath...a God-centered, spiritual time of rest, renewal and reflection; a time of love shared with family and friends; a time of prayer; a time of weigh our heart and mind in the scales of justice and Truth; a time of meditation on the meaning of life and our participation in it; a time of receiving guidance and direction. I think we would be living in a very different world!
Some people follow the "letter" of the sabbath law as they know it by going to church. Others strictly follow a prescribed ritual of keeping the sabbath. Others still ignore it completely. In each case, if the "heart," if the meaning and value of the sabbath is missing is is not God, but WE who lose the blessing that sabbath is meant to bring. The sabbath is not a law imposed by God, it is a gift given by God. Both the "letter" or need to practice and the "heart" or reason (the what and the why) are inherent in spiritual principle...law.
We encounter paradoxes each day in every activity of our lives. Learning to embrace the whole, seeking to understand both the "what" and the "why" is a priceless gift for living a successful and victorious life.
The letter and heart; the what and why of spiritual principle is central to what we call the "law of cause and effect." The letter is the spoken part, and the heart is the understanding.
In an upcoming message I will present a "part two," exploring some paradoxes to ponder. In the meantime think on these:
Which is right - Dependence or Independence?
What do you want - Freedom or Commitment?
On what does our future depend? - Fate or Karma?
What is really true? - Creation or Evolution?
Have a blessed and beautiful day! RevAli