Transformation, not Deprivation

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14.

Continually seeing yourself from the eyes of what you can and can’t do, is futile.  There’s a perceived righteousness in being the one who abstains from something, the one who takes the harder path, the one who is doing good by choosing to suffer.

As C S Lewis pointed out, you can become so vocally humble about how you only want tea and toast, that you get very very particular about how of course the tea must be just so and the toast must be exactly correct, and in so doing you become less humble every time you boast about how humble you are.

If you can instead focus on how much you have changed, have transformed, and are still in the process of becoming the person you want to be, life gets so much less deprivational in nature and more transformational in approach.  You are not a finished project consisting on a set of rules about what you must and must not do.  You’re still a work in progress, moving with grace and trust through the rest of your life while becoming more and more a part of the life you were created for.  Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, or what you must do, which puts all the focus on you and your day to day actions — focus on the future, on how you are being changed into being fully you, which takes the focus off of you and your moment to moment compliance with your idea of perfection, and puts the focus where it belongs.

 

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