31 October 2007

To Clarify My Point

Judging from the reactions to my previous post, it seems helpful to clarify my point. There is no particular crisis or concern afflicting me. In fact, everything is going very well, notwithstanding the ups and downs of everyday life. There are some major stress-factors occuring, true, but they are of the very positive sort. I suppose that I shall blog about recent events at some point in the near future. In the meantime, I'm not distraught or on the verge of despair.

Thinking out loud, especially in a semi-public forum like this, helps me to be honest and forthright with myself. Putting things into words is one of the primary ways I process my thoughts and feelings and organize a constructive response. It assists me in being objective, and, most important, it forces me to consider things from the standpoint of what I know to be true: the Word of God, the Law and the Gospel. None of this takes the place of going to my own pastor for confession and absolution, nor does it substitute for the mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren. It is simply another way of disciplining myself and holding myself accountable. I use discretion in choosing what to write in a forum like this, where anyone and everyone may read it, but I am truthful and sometimes brutally honest about myself in what I do put into words here, because it is a means of dealing with my pride and humbling myself.

In looking at myself candidly, I recognize that I rely too much on the opinions and praises of others for my happiness and confidence. Occasionally, that proclivity puts me into a real funk, and the danger is that, instead of recognizing the weakness and fault in myself, I fall into the trap of blaming other people, stewing about how unfair the rest of the world is, and ya-da-ya-da-ya-da. In doing that, I only exacerbate the problem. What is worse, I fail then to lay hold of the Gospel, which is always what I need, the only real answer and solution to all that ails me.

In order to curb the inclinations of my old Adam, and to discipline myself unto repentant faith instead of depending on my own self-righteousness, I often find that I must mentally take hold of myself and reiterate what I know to be true from the Word of God. Blogging is often a way for me to do that more pointedly, as was the case with my previous post. Putting it into words, not only for myself but for anyone else to read, leaves me no pretense and therefore assists me in fleeing to the peace of the Cross.

I am deeply appreciative of the kind responses I have received, both here and otherwise, the words of encouragement and especially the comforting word of the Gospel. One can never receive too much of the Gospel, and the fact that it can be conveyed and communicated to us in such a plethora of ways is truly a blessing. I only want to clarify that my previous post was not a case of desperately flailing about for some kind of answer, but was simply a way for me to be honest and objective with myself, according to the Law and the Gospel. I should want to underscore, for myself and others, that the Gospel is both the starting point and the bottom line in such a case. I can be most honest with myself according to the Law, when the truth of the Gospel is already firmly established and fully in view. I am a poor, miserable sinner, but I am also in Christ, and in Him I am a beloved and well-pleasing child of God. Thus do I proceed in faith, despite my own frailties and weaknesses. I hope this is helpful. When all is said and done, here is my prayer and conclusion:

Thou Christian heart, whoe’er thou art,
Be of good cheer and let no sorrow move thee!
For God’s own Child, in mercy mild,
Joins thee to Him; how greatly God must love thee!

The world may hold her wealth and gold;
But thou, my heart, keep Christ as thy true treasure.
To Him hold fast until at last
A crown be thine and honor in full measure. (LSB #372)

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