The Story of Good – Learning to Steward the Good Within.
In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. ~ Philippians 4: 8 (GNB)
Dear friends, as you’ve been reading The Story of Good: Learning to Steward the Good Within, it’s my prayer that you’ve been reconsidering a few things that you’ve known about God, about yourself, and how you respond to life.
First, I’m hoping that you can re-imagine with me, the amazing fullness of who God, the Three in One, actually is. It’s my belief that we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to exploring the depths of God’s character and nature. All of the words we use to describe God are limited, failing to embrace the fullness of this Holy One who is the Life-Giver, the Life-Sustainer, and the Life-Eternal. I realize the language I’ve used in The Story of Good will fall hopelessly short in describing the full nature of who our Creator is. I implore you to continually push in, with your imagination, toward God the Father (the Fire), Jesus the Son (the Water), and the Holy Spirit (the Wind), receiving more and more revelation of the Holy Trinity and the Good awaiting us in this world and the one yet to come.
Secondly, I’m hoping that you might be re-imagining with me, the amazing fullness of who you are, in the Good that God has for you. My spiritual director is constantly challenging me, “Marty, is your life narrative starting in Genesis 1, or are you letting it slip over to Genesis 3?” What my director means by that is that there is this little, on-going flaw in me that would rather buy into the fact that I’m a dirty, rotten sinner instead of the person of Good God truly sees me to be. Granted, I’ve had help with that evaluation. First of all, there are more days than I might care to admit when my actions and words confirm that I’m that sinner found in Genesis 3.
Second, like you, I also have an enemy named Satan who loves to whisper that same shameful truth into my ear as well. Finally, a lot of my church experiences have convinced me of my slant toward original sin, insisting that my job, as a dedicated Christ-follower, is to practice a regiment of sin-management designed to alleviate the situation. So, with all that being said, the truth of the matter is that from God’s perspective, despite my sin and self-consumption, I’m actually, at my very core, a child of God as presented in Genesis 1, where it says that I’m made in God’s image and good…no wait…very good!
So, allow me to ask you the same question my director asks me…
Where does your life narrative begin today? Genesis 1 or Genesis 3?
If your answer right now is “Genesis 3,” might I suggest that you go on to my third point, so you can get on with your journey into Good, as found in Genesis 1?
Re-Imagining Your Response to God’s Good
As a child of God who believes Genesis 3 (I’m a sinner) is easier to believe than Genesis 1 (I’m made in God’s image and am good), the most effective way to move from Genesis 3 to Genesis 1 is to use an ancient tool that St. Ignatius called the Daily Examen.
The Daily Examen
This is simply a short time of prayer and self-awareness, centered around a set of simple questions you ask yourself on a daily basis (more if needed). These questions can vary as the circumstances arise, but to get you started, allow me to give you what I use.
Stop for a moment, quiet yourself, and simply ask God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit to join with you as you reflect on the following questions.
Question 1: What Good in my life do I recognize today? As you identify specific people, places, situations or events that you are thankful for, take a moment and express your gratitude to God for that Good you’ve experienced.
Question 2: Where am I striving too hard in self-preservation today, believing I need to provide for myself, rather than waiting on God?
Question 3: Where am I striving too hard in self-promotion today, believing I need to position myself, rather than waiting on God?
Question 4: Where am I striving too hard in self-perpetuation today, believing I need to initiate things, rather than waiting on God?
Your Response: Invite the Father, the Son, the Spirit into your honest answers. Confess your misuse of the Gift of Self-Existence, while under-using the Gift of God-Dependency. Proverbs 3: 5-6 is a great scripture to hold onto here.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NIV)
Close your time in prayer by asking the Holy Spirit for His help going forward. And as you receive Jesus’ reassurance of God’s Goodness for you, remind yourself of the unending promise the Father has made to all of us:
My child, you are Earth.
You are Mine. You are made in Our image.
You are Good.
You are very Good.
I love you.
I AM on your side.
I AM coming after you.
I AM relentless.
I AM your provision.
I AM your promotion.
I AM your perpetuation.
I AM enough.
Now, in the Oneness We share with you,
Receive all the Good We have for you.
Soak it in and allow it to set you free.
Now, We commission you to go in Our Name,
Never neglect your call to give this same Good to others.
Where Good is, there is freedom!
Receive and give. Give and receive.
For the glory of Our Name.
For the Good of Our Name.
Forever and ever.
Amen and amen.
Over a period of about eight weeks (3 sessions per week), we have taken you on a poetic journey (26-sessions) we call The Story of Good. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Thank you for joining us on this adventure!
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!