Foolish Fridays 9
Brennan Manning in his The Importance of Being Foolish ends this first half of his book by identifying two other desires we have that defeat our having the mind of Jesus Christ. I wrote about the first last week, security, but from that also emerges our desires for pleasure and power.
Manning identifies the source when he writes, “The absence of a divine love experience is painfully apparent. Whether we seek to fill the void with blatantly fleshly pursuits … or fool ourselves into believing our drive for pleasure is based on spiritual preference, the name of the game is the same.”
On power, Manning writes, “The will to power is subtle. It may go unrecognized and undetected and therefore unchallenged. But Christians who succeed in seizing power, collecting disciples, acquiring knowledge, achieving status and prestige, and controlling the world are estranged from the mind of Jesus.”
What struck me by these words was that first, pleasure and power remain attractive for people who call themselves Christians. The key seems to be, in Manning’s words, “the absence of a divine love relationship.” As well, we seem to have this remarkable ability to fool ourselves into validating our desires and then losing control over them.
He talks about physical appearance as beginning as a concern for health but it becomes almost obsessive – working out, professional trainers, food and pharmaceuticals, Botox, plastic surgery. In some earlier posts I thought about desire, love, marriage and singleness and how those desires seem so much in disarray in this world.
I get this sense that is almost haunting in its scope for my life. Our desires aren’t in and of themselves necessarily blatantly sinful, and may indeed be seen as good acts and good motives, but without having those desires submitted to Jesus Christ and rightly ordered, we remain separated from the divine love relationship.
I am remembering the story of Lot’s wife from Genesis 19:26. When first reading that passage we come away with the idea that she disobeyed the command and was therefore turned into that pillar of salt. However, Jesus brings out all the truth of the story in Luke 17:32 (The Message), “Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.” And that seems to make all the difference.
What do you think?
Be blessed and be a blessing.