Wednesday Word

God is whatever [you] put above other things.

            St. Augustine, Teaching Christianity, Book 1, Section 7


In the sermon this past Sunday I said that Advent was about four things:  preparing, staying awake and alert, actively seeing the in-breaking of God into this realm, and change.  It's possible that the first three are relatively easy to focus on.  We can work at preparing for the coming kingdom of heaven, we can take steps to stay awake and alert, and we can use both of those as a basis for seeing the incarnate God breaking through into our realm in new and exciting ways.


But that last one . . . change . . . that is another matter altogether.


It's difficult to change our habits.  It's difficult to commit to things that require us to give up that which we've become accustomed.  It's difficult to change life patterns that have slowly built up over time to such an extent that we can't imagine life differently.  It's difficult to change routines that have become ingrained into our daily lives.


As I examine my life, there are habits, attitudes, and vices that have risen to a level where they begin to take precedence over other more healthy and beneficial things, sometimes even over God himself.  It can be the difference between opening up the cookie jar instead of the vegetable bin for a snack because the cookie jar involves fewer steps.  It can be the difference between watching TV instead of reading because watching TV doesn't require as much thinking.  It can be the difference between spending time on the computer instead of in the Bible or in prayer because I want to mentally check out.


But it is those very things, those habits, attitudes, and vices, that I have put above other things that, at one time or another, become my god of the moment.


Don't get me wrong . . . I'm not trying to guilt anyone into a more pious life or shame people for not being focused on God every second of every day.  As the saying goes, “When you point a finger, there are three pointing back at you.”


In this season of Advent when we are asked to examine our lives and make changes in preparation for the coming of the Lord, what might be one thing, one habit, one routine, you can change in order to draw closer to God?  As John said, “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.”


This Advent, how might the changes you make be fruitful?  And more importantly, how might the changes you make restore God to his rightful place in your life?



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