The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 68
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
–1 Timothy 4:4 (ESV)
You will find that, when you long for certain means, to use created things for spiritual purposes, the divine activity lets you know that it alone is enough for you. On the other hand, when you want to renounce created things altogether, as if there were something evil about them, the divine activity tells you otherwise: created things are instruments. You must not take it upon yourself to pick and choose the instruments God uses. You must welcome them all, and adapt, with simplicity, to the order of God, using all things as if not using them, being deprived of all things yet lacking nothing.
–Jean Pierre de Caussade
Countless good and useful things have the potential to distract you from the path of abandonment. The problem lies, not with the things, but with you. It is human nature to get attached to the things of this creation. Whether it is a certain method of prayer, a spiritual book, or some religious routine, these are all instruments that may, at times, be useful.
Trust God to choose the instruments for you, and to let you know what book to read, what method to use, and when to change. Otherwise, you are in control, and not fully abandoned to God. The same problem occurs if you renounce all use of such instruments. You remain in control.
Sometimes self-denial means being deprived, not of things, but of the power to choose. It is not for you to decide between instruments or to decide against the use of instruments. A much simpler way is to thank God for what instruments he sends you, trusting him to put the right tools in your hands at the right time.
The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.