Wednesday, February 8, 2012

...Whatever is Pure...Part 2

In high school culture, the 16th birthday is a big deal.  Around here, it doesn't just afford the new driver the opportunity to get from place to place; it also affords them a new found freedom at lunch due to the phenomenon of open campus.

Invariably, that person develops any number of friendships in the weeks before s/he turns 16.  Freshmen and young sophomores come out of the woodwork to cultivate a relationship with the guy who will be able to drive sooner rather than later.

And generally, those relationships last until the freshman or young sophomore turns 16.  Then, the "bond" that was formed fizzles into nothing and the two students go their separate ways.

C'est la vie.  Such is life.

Except, I wonder if we should be so nonchalant about something that is potentially damaging.

Unfortunately, I've actively participated in any number of relationships with lack of pure motives.  If I wouldn't benefit, I didn't get involved.  And, sometimes, I sought out relationships only because they were beneficial to me.

Ulterior motives are one of the uglier parts of human nature.  But those particular motives, even when they're fulfilled, don't satisfy.  Most of the time, I think the commands in scripture lean far more to our benefit; God knows human nature.  He created it.  So when He says, "...whatever is pure...think on these things..." I think it's a it's an admonishment that so much can go wrong when we lean the other direction.

Madeleine L'Engle has been one of the only authors to help me understand the concept of pure motive.  In one of her stories (The Time Quartet or A Ring of Endless Light--I'm not sure which), one character asks another when she is most herself.  After a moment or two, she responds, "When I'm involved in something else and completely focused on that thing."  He, in turn, says, "So you're not thinking about yourself at all.  Isn't it funny that when you're not thinking solely about you is when you're most yourself."

When we completely throw ourselves into something for the sake of that something, I think we begin to see glimpses of Jesus reflected in our own countenance.  But when we seek only ourselves, that's all we'll ever see.

Slowly, God is drawing my motives, my attitude, my focus back to Himself.  He's spent a lot of years letting me wonder in the desert.  More than anything, I pray it's been a purifying process.  But I'm looking for Canaan across the horizon.

Whatever is Lovely

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