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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Holy Tentativeness

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mark 8:33 NIV).

When the devil tests Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11), he uses very human concerns in his appeal to Him. Satan would tempt with food; pride—holier than thou "above it all" conceit; power including the powers of hierarchal status, wealth, and political power (all appealing to the human desire to be situated in rarefied control). 

I thought of these Scriptures today when a friend of mine at work was made aware that a significant promotion may be opening for her. She evaluated her strengths and weaknesses and realized that the job would provide significant opportunity and challenges. But in the end she said that she did not want her will to be done in this matter, but God’s will to be done.

I find such an approach and attitude very attractive in a person. What it means is that – bottom-line – personal ambition will not overrule all else in her life. She will be flexible and will remain open to the possibility that what looks tempting may or may not be best. She will rely on the will and workings of God to sort out the preferable course. Contrast this with a person dead-set on achieving his sternly compelling ambitions to the nth degree—displaying an attitude that he knows better than everyone else what is best, including God. There are no unknown’s or unknowable’s. His best interest and that of others is patently obvious and carries before it a broad swath of foregone certitude.

A moment’s reflection makes clear where love lives and were hatred lurks. No doubt there are organizational cultures that fight to fill their ranks with the lean and hungry, each member thoroughly consumed by rapacious ambition. It should surprise no one when such organizations run afoul of the law (by hurting others) and suffer all the tawdry consequences of ethical bankruptcy. It is dependable and true that where there is a good measure of reality there is also a good measure holy tentativeness allowing latitude for the will and workings of God.

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