The thing that troubled me most as I began to seek the Lord in my life was the permanence of it all. In seeking security in God I also experienced a sense of not being able to turn back to my old ways. The more that the knowledge of God was raining on me, the more afraid I became of making that full commitment. I was getting into something that I couldn’t back out of.
I would say, “Maybe I don’t need to get to know God too well because too much would be expected of me.” This attitude keeps many people from getting involved in the Church. The idea of, “to whom much is given, much is expected”, puts a lot of pressure on us.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines, in part, a mental disorder called schizophrenia as something “that makes it hard to tell the difference between what is real and not real; think clearly; and have normal emotional responses.”
While this is a troubling disorder that occurs in some humans, the average person can have a similar kind of trouble when it comes to a relationship with God. Having one foot with God and the other foot on a banana peel is a bad place to be.
St. Paul points this out to the Hebrews, chapter 6:4-6 in saying, “For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt.”
In this case are we safer in our ignorance than if we commit to the Lord and then turn from Him? It is hard to get a divorce from Christ Jesus. Satan works on us to cause us to doubt our ability to be a good Christian, so some of us never move into that relationship.
The call to Christ requires us to give up things that we are not always ready to give up, sacrifices that we are not ready to make. And the closer we move toward the Lord the more active Satan becomes in our lives trying to stop us and bring us down. St. Paul tells us, though, that “God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake…” We cannot put off joining the Lord forever. Do we put our faith and patience in our world, the natural world, to see us through or do we commit to the one who the Father has sent to teach us and show us His love? Can we afford not to seek His guidance and love?
In St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 6:7-8 he states: “Ground that drinks up the rain falling on it repeatedly, and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and on the verge of being cursed; its end is to be burned over.”
God’s promise of forgiveness in Christ’s atonement for our sins, and our hope of salvation by turning to Him, are gifts unmatchable in the natural world. We must work feverishly to the point of abandonment to God and give up our old selves forever. St. Paul explains his hope for the Hebrews, “And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extention: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.