I had a conversation with God tonight. This conversation was long overdue. I can’t describe how in the midst of it, I felt finally closer than I have in so long, in time without memory almost. It felt like weeks since I had spoken with God, yet I know that’s not true. Somehow, tonight was one of those moments, while I was driving my truck of all things, that I again realized how close my Father is.
Maybe openness and honesty makes it feel that way. Sometimes, each time I talk with God it feels like it’s been weeks, when I know it has only been hours, or days that I last felt this inseparable closeness. In truth, were I to trust my feelings, I’d be constantly laden with guilt, because I would always feel like I never talked with Him.
Okay, so I feel close to my Father again. What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that when I feel close with Him, I hear His answers, I hear His guidance. When I don’t feel close to Him, I feel deaf. Tonight, I didn’t feel deaf, and although I heard no audible words, I know I heard Him in the only place that matters, my heart.
There is a message that came through loud and clear to me this evening, and I believe I am supposed to share it, and not hoard it.
About two weeks ago, I wrote about discipline. Tonight, I want to revisit that subject.
I spoke about being free in discipline, and I need to adD something that I learned tonight. In anything, it is important to not be consumed.
I don’t say that because I was consumed by “discipline”. Fact is, I thanked God for helping me in a few things, and in my silence after thanking Him, a thought connected with my heart, and it went something like this, “Tom, obedience and discipline for obedience and discipline’s sake is not freedom, it is slavery. Keep the goal in mind, that to be consumed is to be enslaved, but to be free is love. Currently, you are free, not enslaved by your desire to do what you feel is right in the gaining of a free and empowered life. You can stay that way forever, so long as this desire is not obsession.”
Okay, I didn’t “hear” those words, but as I think about what I heard right now, those words are the best way to describe what I both heard and felt at the same time. The lesson in this for me is to understand that discipline is only a means, not the end.
If discipline becomes the end, then I am consumed by my discipline, I am enslaved by an end I can never reach. In other words, when a means which God has provided becomes the end, when it becomes the desired “result”, it is no longer something freeing, rather, it is an idol, and an entrapment.
Discipline is a tool, and nothing more. We, being in the image of God, can use tools. There is no problem in the using of tools. It is what we fashion with these tools that can become the problem. I am resolved tonight to use the tools for their intended purpose, and to lay them down when I am finished. I am resolved to be the master of these tools, using the authority given me by God, restored to me by Christ, in a lifelong endeavor of love.
That’s right, the end is love. If God is love, then it follows that the end is love also, because God is the Alpha and the Omega. The means to an end are the tools, and I am a fool if I believe that because of disciplining myself, I am disciplined. I am a fool if I believe that because of obedience, I am good. Rather, because of love, I am love, because of discipline, I am love, because of obedience, I am love. The end……is love. That is what I learned tonight, talking with God. And now I have shared it with you, all more deserving than I to know this.