By Father Peter Farrington
“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Attitude | Guide Me In The Right Path.
Most of us desire to be guided by God. We do not want to wander aimlessly through life, or make wrong choices. In Guide Me In The Right Path [P1], we discussed that we must be willing to commit our lives to God, to doing his will, and to seeking and following the right path [P2]. Also Hear my prayer [P3], Spiritual Guidance [P4] and God Guidance [P5]. Today we will continue our discussion.
#5 – A change of attitude towards life and the events of our life is required. If we have given our life to God then we are no longer our own. As St Paul says,
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
And if we are not our own, and our life belongs to God, so that we are workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, and not our own boss, then many things do not matter as much as before. The Master of the Vineyard tells us where to work, and what work we should be doing, and who we should be working with. And if we are trustworthy and faithful workers then we get on with what he asks of us.
Attitude | The Why
Many of us spend a great deal of time asking WHY things have happened. But it is usually impossible for us to understand the complex and almost infinite web of connections that lead to something happening. I was driving many hours to serve the Liturgy in a place, and on the way I had a puncture in one of the tyres. I began to ask WHY it had happened as I stood on the cold road side. But I came to understand that this was the wrong question. I could never know WHY it happened. But I could ask WHAT.
What should I be doing in this situation. And that changes everything. The word of the Agpeya came to mind in that situation,
O Master, Lord, God the Almighty, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we thank You for every condition, concerning every condition, and in every condition, for You have covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto You, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour.
This should give us comfort each day. The things that happen to us are not always good at all, but God is with us in them all. Therefore we should find peace in our daily activities because we are called to conduct them in God’s presence and in service to him.
Attitude | The When
More than this, God guides us to consider the problems we have today, and not worry about those of tomorrow. Will we follow and obey this instruction. Will we reduce the anxiety horizon we often construct for ourselves, where we worry about things that may not even happen, weeks and months in advance?
This is also necessary for us if we wish to be guided by God. Not only must we become spiritual people, rooted in the experience of union with God in unceasing prayer, not only must we become those who are always seeking to serve those whom God places in our way, but we must live to a much greater extent in and for each day as it is given to us by God.
This means that we should not make great plans for ourselves, even while we must also do what is necessary for us to fulfill our responsibilities towards others. When we make plans for ourselves, even if we offer these to God, this is not the same as seeking God’s will. These plans that we have constructed then become a burden for us, and we have to work hard to achieve them, and others become opponents or obstacles to our projects and agendas.
“This allows us to be able to say, Lord, if you want me to do this or that, then you must provide what I need to be able to do it. And if you do not wish me to do it, then this also is the acceptable will of God for me.” Attitude | Guide Me In The Right Path.
If I am planning some ministry in my own strength and I need Mary or Mina do something, and they fail in it, then that hurts my plan, and I will become anxious, frustrated and even angry. But if, as far as is possible, I am living in the daily will of God, then as a worker in the Vineyard of the Lord, together with other workers of the same Master, then it is he, our Lord and God, who must have the primary care for his own work, and not me.
This allows us to be able to say, Lord, if you want me to do this or that, then you must provide what I need to be able to do it. And if you do not wish me to do it, then this also is the acceptable will of God for me.
There are things we have to plan ahead. But if we can hold on to them rather lightly, with a sense that things might change, but that in the will of God that is OK and will become more clear to us, then we are able to live in each day and be concerned with the opportunities of service and union with God in this day. God has not yet given us tomorrow, and if we spend all of our time there, then we will not be living in the presence of God today.
It is the bread of today, our daily bread, that God promises to give us and nourish us with, just as the Children of Israel were only given enough of the manna for each day.
Attitude | The How
So we should live with the opportunities of today, and those things which are in the future we should surely ask God to guide us into, and we should make provisional plans as God gives us understanding, but we should not pile up things to be worried about, and those things which we do need special guidance about should be held loosely and not bind us with fear and anxiety.
If we are learning to serve the Master of Vineyard each day, then we will grow to trust that in all things he will make known what he wants us to do at the right time, but for most of us, and most of the time, we need to be concentrating on those daily tasks he sets us, usually very mundane and almost trivial, but all of them opportunities to grow in obedience and in the practice of hearing the Master’s voice.
This requires an increase in attention, by the grace of God. An increase in our determined seeking after unceasing experience of the presence of God, and in increase in our awareness of the needs of those around us, immediate needs and immediate opportunities for service as God reveals these to us in the ordinary course of daily life.
God certainly continues to guide us, as we better understand the word and will of God more easily. To be continued…
Delivered to you by COPTICNN™ | Coptic News Network on 2020-02-22 from Liverpool, England
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