SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

THE DANGERS OF INTELLECTUAL CHARISMA

Just like the seasons of nature, we have spiritual seasons. Admittedly, sometimes we’re hot with excitement and, at other times, emotionally cold. Occasionally, we produce a lot of spiritual fruit, and at other times all we have are leaves. So, in our obedience to God’s Word, we should not put too much trust in our intellect to produce the Fruit of the Spirit.

Do not obey an advisor because they can argue more forcibly or speak more feelingly than others. Instead, because they are providentially assigned to you, or because apart from all else, you feel that they more than others can help you conquer your fears and lead you to putting God first in your life.

Remember what the Apostle Paul says, “Our dedication to the Anointed One makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in the Anointed One.”[1] 1t would be best to see no wisdom in you but that of grace, which leads faithful souls in the sure way when they do not yield to temper, passions or self-will, or any merely natural impulse. To such faithful souls, all that the world calls talent, taste, and good reasoning is as nothing, nothing.

Let me repeat: Beware of your intellectual gifts and those of others; judge no one according to them. God, the only wise Judge, takes a very different approach: He prefers children and the childlike mind.[2] Therefore, read nothing out of mere curiosity or to confirm your opinions. Rather, read with a view to foster a robust spirit of humility and submission.

Be as frank as a child toward those who counsel you. Make no list at all of your revelations or spiritual gifts. Instead, abide in simple faith, content in obedience to God’s commandments. Act on whatever God may make known to you through others, and humbly accept whatever may seem unique to you.

Self-forgetfulness should take the shape of crushing our self-will, not neglecting the watchfulness that is essential to the absolute love of God. As the great preacher of the First Covenant stated: “Don’t try to be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself?”[3] There’s nothing more upsetting than a conceited Christian.

The greater your love, the more jealously you will watch over yourself so that nothing unworthy of that love may creep in.[4]

Archbishop François Fénelon

 (1651-1725)


[1] 1 Corinthians 4:10

[2] Matthew 18:3

[3] Ecclesiastes 7:16

[4] Fénelon, François: Paraclete Giants, The Complete Fénelon, Translated and Edited by Robert J. Edmonson, Paraclete Press, Brewster, Massachusetts, 2008, p. 53; Vocabulary and grammar redacted by Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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