“What is the wisdom of the snake? It is to be watchful and observant until the time is right to act. It is timeliness. One rarely sees a snake chasing its prey or thrashing about in an effort to impress it. But when it acts, it acts quickly and decisively. And as for the dove, it does not contrive. It is incapable of intrigue. Guile is totally beyond it. There is nothing indirect about this gentle creature. It is in this sense ‘harmless.’ … These are qualities we must have to walk in the kingdom with others, instead of trying to drive them to change their ways and attitudes and even who they are. …As long as I am condemning my friends or relatives, or pushing my ‘pearls’ on them, I am their problem. They have to respond to me, and that usually leads to their ‘judging’ me right back…. But once I back away, maintaining a sensitive and nonmanipulative presence, I am no longer their problem. As I listen, they do not have to protect themselves from me, and they begin to open up. I may quickly begin to appear to them as a possible ally and resource. Now they begin to sense their problem to be the situation they have created, or possibly themselves. Because I am no longer trying to drive them, genuine communication, real sharing of hearts, becomes an attractive possibility. The healing dynamic of the request comes naturally into play. …It is a natural extension of this dynamic when we turn to ask God to work in their lives and hearts to bring about changes. These changes will certainly involve more than any conscious choice they could make or we could desire.” Dallas Willard
“Christ stands between me and others [and] … as only Christ can speak to me in such a way that I may be saved, so others, too, can be saved only by Christ himself. This means that I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce, and dominate him with my love…. Thus this spiritual love will speak to Christ about a brother more than to a brother about Christ. It knows that the most direct way to others is always through prayer to Christ….” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“be as shrewd as snakes
and as harmless as doves.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Is your love for others characterized by nagging and coercion?
- Do you really know what is best for them? …what God has for them?
- Is “fixing” others a distraction from “fixing” yourself?
Abba, in my love, help me honor others, and your work in them.
For More: Presence and Recovery by Anneke Campbell
I hope you’ll follow “Daily Riches.” Thanks! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“Modern attempts to think about God independently of historical revelation have been thoroughly victimized by currents of nineteenth– and twentieth-century philosophy that simply make knowledge of God …an impossibility. …This forces one to handle the texts and traditions of Jesus in such a way that he can never bring us to a personal God whom we can love with all our being. But things often turn out little better for theology on the right. It tends to be satisfied with having the right doctrines or traditions and to stop there without ever moving on to consuming admiration of, delight in, and devotion to the God of the universe. On the one hand, these are treated as not necessary, because we have the right answers; and on the other hand, we are given little, if any, example and teaching concerning how to move on to honest and full-hearted love of God. The acid test for any theology is this: Is the God presented one that can be loved, heart, soul, mind, and strength? If the thoughtful, honest answer is; ‘Not really,’ then we need to look elsewhere or deeper. It does not really matter how sophisticated intellectually or doctrinally our approach is. If it fails to set a lovable God – a radiant, happy, friendly, accessible, and totally competent being – before ordinary people, we have gone wrong. We should not keep going in the same direction, but turn around (repent?) and take another road. …The theologian who does not love God is in great danger, and in danger of doing great harm….” Dallas Willard
“If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge
… but do not have love,
I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:2
Moving From the Head to the Heart
Jesus hoped we would know him, love him, and follow him. After his resurrection it became clear we also should worship him. It doesn’t always work that way.
- Has your philosophy or theology made a loving relationship with Jesus impossible for you?
- Has fighting for the truth (right doctrine) become more important to you than loving others well (right relationships)?
- Does your faith rest in a God who is “a lovable God – a radiant, happy, friendly, accessible, and totally competent being?” Will you determine to look “elsewhere or deeper” for that God if necessary?
Abba, may I know you in truth, in spite of your mystery and my hang-ups.
For More: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)