I know, Y AHWEH , no one’s course is in his control, nor is it in anyone’s power, as he goes his way, to guide his own steps. Correct me, Y AHWEH , but in moderation, not in your anger or you will reduce me to nothing. Jeremiah 10:23-24
Prayer is, above all, a means of forming character. It combines freedom and power with service and love. What God gets out of our lives—and, indeed, what we get out of our lives—is simply the person we become. It is God’s intention that we should grow into the kind of person he could empower to do what we want to do.
Christian brotherhood is not an ideal that we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our fellowship is in Jesus Christ alone, the more serenely shall we think of our fellowship and pray and hope for it. 6
We cannot “see clearly” how to assist our brother, because we cannot see our brother. And we will never know how to truly help him until we have grown into the kind of person who does not condemn. Period.
I can trust Jesus to go into the temple and drive out those who were profiting from religion, beating them with a rope. I cannot trust myself to do so.
Often the “eyeservice” that occurs in present-day church services comes in the form of trying to “move” people. “Wasn’t that a great service,” we often say. But what do we mean? Are we really thinking of how God felt about the service? What is the correlation between God’s view of a great service and the human view? We need to be very careful about this, or the rule, “Truly, they have their reward,” may apply to us.
A few years ago Clyde Reid wrote a painfully incisive discussion of how our church activities seem to be structured around evading God. His “law of religious evasion” states, “We structure our churches and maintain them so as to shield us from God and to protect us from genuine religious experience.”