Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Oct 24, 2012 | Comments (0)

Pentecost XXIII Bottom Line Spirituality:Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for Pentecost 23

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Godly thinking understands the difference between worldly reading what is seen and spiritual seeing what is not read.

Mark 12:28-34 "You are not far from the Kingdom"

Jesus is asked by a scribe to define the greatest commandment. He offers two, one to Love God and the other to love others as we love ourselves. Do the loving thing and there is no commandment (in the Bible) that is greater than these two. The scribe agrees with Him. Jesus says, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”

Worldly thinking believes he is not far because he knows what the Greatest Commandments are. Godly understanding is he is never far spiritually from the Kingdom of God.

Worldly thinking knows what we are commanded to do rationally. There is one problem and that is to wonder how do you do it? Did you ever try to do it? How did it work for you? It is easy to love the lovable. It gets difficult trying to love the unlovable. That is what we are called to do.

Godly understanding looks for how to do it. You are not far from the Kingdom of God means you know what to do now you must know how to do it.

Jesus gave us a New Commandment. That was to love others AS He Loved us. John 13:34 The New Commandment does not replace the first set of Love Commandments. “New” in this sense is not better, it is different. It is not what to do. It is how to do it. How did Jesus love others? He loved others, including ourselves, IN the Love Presence of the Father. We are called to not only know how but to actually get in the Presence of God’s Love to love others as we love ourselves. It is only then that we can truly follow the Love Commandments.

This is the defining Scripture because Jesus follows it by saying on these Two Commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. The question is who is your Authority? Some believe the Bible is the Word of God, therefore it is their authority.

The Bible does not say it is the Word of God. It does say that Jesus is the Word of God. John 1:1. If Jesus is the Word of God for us then the Love Commandments cover all other Laws in both the New and the Old Testament. No matter what the old Covenant tells us, in the New Covenant we are commanded to “do the loving thing”. Being in the Presence will give us a new insight and Wisdom.

The Bible says “The Law was given through Moses but grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 The grace of God is unconditionally and inclusively in all of us. Grace defines the basis and the uniqueness of Christianity. One of the best ways to understand this is to think of someone who you find difficult to love. Wonder what difference being in or out of the Presence makes when you think of them. When you discover what doing the loving thing toward them is, you will discover the difference between the Old and the New Testament. It is the Law and grace and the meaning of Jesus Christ as our Lord and authority.

There is a spiritual catch that rational understanding misses. Jesus told the scribe he was not far from the Kingdom. Rationally we think this means distance. Spiritually we know the Presence of Jesus the Kingdom is already here. However, if we are not here in the Presence of the Kingdom we are there, not here. Spiritually, not far from the Kingdom means an infinite distance.

There is a story in the Book of Acts as Paul was making his defense in front of King Agrippa. When Paul was through, Agrippa’s response was, “Paul, almost you persuade me to be a Christian.” (Translated in the KJV Acts 26:28)  Not being far from the Kingdom for Agrippa was like the choice of nearly being drowned or nearly being saved. 

Wonder what difference it makes in how far apart you are from being nearly in or nearly out of the Kingdom?


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