Thunker’s Weblog

Mysteries abound where most we seek for answers.

Robert Wheadon-126x150

Welcome back!  The title of this post is a quote by Ray Bradbury.  In my last posting, I shared some thoughts on choices and what drives our choices.  I postulated that the deep desires of our heart drive our choices and those desires are the true yard stick of where we are on our way back to God.  We are all found in different places on the yard stick.  And where we are in our becoming like God doesn’t matter.  It is our overall direction we are traveling that matters.  Sometimes we move closer to God, and if you’re anything like me, your movement is one baby step forward and two leaps back.  That’s okay.  That’s how it is supposed to be.  Again, if we are trying to be like God, then wherever we are on the yard stick is fine.  It’s the direction we are trying to travel that is the important component.

Behind this whole yard stick metaphor lies the motivation of our efforts.  What drives us to want to be better people?  Guilt?  Love?  Duty?  Habit? Reward?  I think the answer is “all of the above.”  And all of our choices are not driven by the same motivation.  For example, the choice to eat derives from a biological need.  We don’t eat out of duty or promise of reward, though I certainly, at times, will reward myself with chocolate cake.

Aristotle defined choice as, “a deliberate desire.”  Aristotle’s use of “deliberate” means that our desires are things that we have contemplated and thought deeply on.  We have deliberated on what moves us.  We may not always be deliberate in our choices, but the desire preceding our choices is something we are very familiar with.

Have you noticed how many things God wants us to do are the reverse of our natural inclination?  Jesus teaches if we are asked to walk a mile with someone, instead of saying we are too busy, we are to walk two miles.  If someone steals something, like a coat, instead of throwing the perpetrator in jail, we are to offer that person our cloak, as well.  If someone offends us, we are taught to not only forgive one time, but 70 x 7 times.  (You do the math.)

In Mark 9:36, Jesus taught his apostles about humility and serving with intent.

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.”

All of these examples show how God’s ways are not our ways.  I think one of the clearest gospel tensions is found in John 14:15.  Jesus teaches:

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

We have read and heard that verse our whole lives, but has the message in this short verse struck home?  The verse is saying that obedience is a sign of our love of Jesus Christ.  That concept is largely foreign on several levels to us as we were raised on the principle of individualism, independence and the worth of self through building up the self.

Obedience is bowing our will to another, ceding our wants to the desires of another, and changing our heart to match the heart of another.  My goodness!  That sounds like the soul of Christianity!  Obedience, when fostered with godly love, loses all of its negative colors.

James Kugel, a Jewish biblical scholar, helps reinforce what God is trying to help us to understand.  Prof. Kugel recently wrote how Exodus 32:16 has an interesting interpretative possibility.  In the Talmud, the rabbinic commentary on the Jewish scriptures, it states that the word for carved, harut, should be herut, or freedom.  The verse, which describes Moses bringing the Ten Commandments down from Mt. Sinai, would then read:  “And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, freedom upon the tables.”  This gives the sense that the Ten Commandments were not given as a law of iron, but as a law of freedom.

So, now let’s go back to John 14:15.  “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  Again, we are back to desires and motivations for our choices in life.  What it seems we should be working on is divine love, demonstrated through obedience of God’s law.  And what is the Savior’s definition of God’s law?  In Mark 12: 30-31, the Savior clearly and lovingly teaches:

“30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Thanks for taking a moment to read my thoughts and feelings.  Feel free to provide feedback or questions.  It is all appreciated.

Be kind.  Make good memories.  Come back soon.







4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Another lovely blog – one word correction – change “levers”. (paragraph 9) to levels.

Comment by Bret Wheadon

Ooh! Thanks!

Comment by thunker

This is really good and thought provoking. I like what you pointed out in the translation of herut instead of harut. That definitely gives an interesting perspective to freedom and grace.

Comment by Not So Random Chick

Thank you so much. Linguistics have always been an interest to me in how we can get a different coloring or an enhanced understanding of a scripture. 🙂

Comment by thunker

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