“By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy – indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of self satisfaction.”
-William Osler
Am I apathetic? Am I prideful?
I’d like to say I’m not. But I am.
Pride is the inability to focus on what is, the I AM. Pride instead focuses on what we think is, who we are, and who we think we could be. If our focus is on ourselves, we will never be content, we are incapable of satisfying ourselves and our deep need for perfection. We should all be perfectionists: people pursuing the Perfect One relentlessly, not people trying to perfect themselves with their imperfect attempts. Will I let my desire for perfection drive me closer to the One who defines all else, or will I try to be greater than He is? Tell Him my plan and require Him to approve it?
Am I apathetic? I’d like to think I’m not. But am I apathetic about what is most important? Am I focusing on reality or only my perceived reality? Am I relentlessly living for the God who spoke the world into being, or am I trying to mean the world to others?
How can I so quickly forget? And why do I so frequently go after what I know will not be enough, while ignoring the One I know I need?

“Watch and pray, so that you do not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
-Matthew 26:41

I was encouraged multiple times today to lean again on God. On “just” God, and yet, EVERYTHING on God. Somewhere along the way, I’ve decided I’ve become self-sufficient, that I can somehow handle everything, or be responsible for everything. I think I must find my own strength. Be good enough. Be more. Reach perfection.

I cannot.

I will never find perfection in my own futile attempts to try. I must fly on the wings of the Perfect, take time every day, every hour, every thought, to cherish His perfection. To see Him for who HE IS, to be reminded of who he is and then by default, who I am.

“It is not simply that God has arbitrarily made us such that He is our only good. Rather God is the only good of all creatures… but that there ever could be any other good, is an atheistic dream… If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows – the only food that any possible universe ever can grow – then we must starve eternally.” (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, pp. 41-42)

I am not perfect, but He loves me. He is perfecting me: not for my own satisfaction, but so that I will be more lovable and able to appreciate His perfection more. This inevitably leads to incomparable satisfaction, but it is not the end goal; I am not the focus. And knowing that, really knowing it, is so incredibly freeing.

Over break, I read C.S.Lewis’s book “The Problem of Pain.” I am reminded of a section from the third chapter of the work, titled “Divine Goodness.”

“When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that He has some “disinterested”, because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of his love. You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the “lord of terrible aspect”, is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, nor the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.

“The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word “love”, and look on things as if man were the centre of them. Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. “Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the divine love may rest ‘well pleased.’ To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable. We cannot even wish, in our better moments, that He could reconcile Himself to our present impurities – no more than the beggar maid could wish that King Cophetua should be content with her rags and dirt…What we would here and now call our ‘happiness’ is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.

“I plainly foresee that the course of my argument may provoke a protest…it may be objected that a mere reversal of our own ethics is precisely what we have been asked to accept. The kind of love which I attribute to God, it may be said, is just the kind which in human beings we describe as ‘selfish’ or ‘possessive,’ and contrast unfavorably with another kind which seeks first the happiness of the beloved and not the contentment of the lover…

“The truth is that this antithesis between egoistic and altruistic love cannot be unambiguously applied to the love of God for His creatures. Clashes of interest, and therefore opportunities either of selfishness or unselfishness, occur only between beings inhabiting a common world: God can no more be in competition with a creature than Shakespeare can be in competition with Viola. When God becomes a Man and lives as a creature among His own creatures in Palestine, then indeed His life is one of supreme self-sacrifice and leads to Calvary…But God in His transcendence cannot easily be thought of in the same way. We call human love selfish when it satisfies its own needs at the expense of the object’s needs…None of these conditions is present in the relation of God to man. God has no needs. Human love, as Plato teaches us, is the child of Poverty – of a want or lack; it is caused by a real or supposed good in its beloved which the lover needs and desires. But God’s love, far from being caused by goodness in the object, causes all the goodness which the object has, loving it first into existence and then into real, though derivative, love-ability. God is Goodness. He can give good, but cannot need or get it. In that sense, all His love is, as it were, bottomlessly selfless by very definition; it has everything to give and nothing to receive.Hence, if God sometimes speaks as thought the Impassible could suffer passion and eternal fullness could be in want, and in want of those beings on whom it bestows all from their bare existence upwards, this can mean only, if it means anything intelligible by us, that God of mere miracle has made Himself able so to hunger and created in Himself that which we can satisfy. If He requires us, the requirement is His own choice.” (pp. 48 – 50)

God has granted me sight to see and appreciate the Beautiful, the Good, His Being. Will I continue to see through His eyes, be so in tune with His heart that my heart breaks for what breaks His, and rejoices for what gladdens His? Or will I instead be like Peter, James, and John when with Jesus in Gethsemane, they failed to realize his heart was sorrowful,even after spending years with him, and hearing him tell them that he was grieved and requested their prayers? Instead of praying, they slept. Will I choose sleep, my own good, over what He would ask? Will I apathetically ignore the Good, pursuing the ugly instead of the Beautiful?

“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
-Micah 6:8

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