Whom Do You Serve?

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments - Jn. 14:15

In this life, we make every choice for a reason.  Almost every single action, great and small, is inspired by a mindset or religious or philosophical principle.

When we wake in the morning, when we get ready for the kind of day that we know awaits us, and when we face the tasks and burdens that greet us, the response we give is inspired by what we believe.

When life gives me sudden suffering, what do I really think, in the depths of my soul, that this sudden suffering indicates about the meaning of life and reality?  Does the way that I respond clearly reveal that I believe in God's perpetual and complete Providence?  If so, perhaps, while acknowledging that there is pain, I will allow it to enter my life and then patiently maneuver around it or with it. 

When this sudden suffering arrives, do I mutter some complaint like, "Of course! Of course this is how my day's going to go!"?  Or, "Of course this would happen to me!"?  If so, is it not quite clear that I believe God is not providing for each and every moment of my day, both in what is good and in what is difficult?  This sort of response seems to manifest the belief that I am actually abandoned, unprotected, without a Shepherd, or even cursed.

Suffering, of course, is not the only aspect of life in which our responses indicate what we really believe.  When things go well, how do we respond?  Our boss gives us a sudden promotion, the company gives a bonus and a raise, the kids get potty-trained or finally start being responsible in the home - what sort of reaction do we give?  If we exclaim, "Finally, things are going smoothly!" or "Finally, we have enough money!" or "Finally, I can get some peace and quiet around here!" - it would seem that these reactions manifest a belief that mere Fate and Chance and Luck rule the world, as if there is no Divine Person overseeing all things, in particular a Divine Person who actually loves us.

Further, when we seek things in this life, what are they?  Are we seeking to acquire perfect security through a large house, high-paying job, small number of manageable children, and enduring pacification from endless technological entertainment?  If so, perhaps we actually do not believe there is any sort of God involved in our lives at all - for, why else would we think the task of obtaining our security and material providence falls completely to us?  If God is Divine Providence, why do we feel we need to build a kingdom all on our own?  Do we not, through Baptism, already live in a Kingdom, one of Light, Truth, and Grace?

We can see, then, that it is our attitudes and our reactions that manifest what we really believe in our heart of hearts, deep down in our souls. 
Does God really care for me and seek to provide for me? 
Do I really intend to fully respond to Our Lord's offer to become one of His disciples? 
Am I ready and intent on serving Jesus Christ as my Lord and Master, conforming my life to His Commands and His example?  

The Dreaded Answer

Further still, we must consider:  do my actions reveal that I actually serve a different God than Jesus Christ?  When I am tempted to sin, how much do I care whether or not I fall into that sin?  Do I care that my sin breaks the commandments of Jesus Christ?  Do I take delight in those things that are explicitly condemned by Him, against which He has clearly issued grave warnings and consequences?
Here, we must take account for many things which we modern men and women are tempted by, and which reveal that, in these moments, our allegiance does not lie with Jesus Christ...but with another.  Do we hold bitterness or hatred in our hearts towards another?  Do we wish harm upon someone?  Do we desire to get revenge upon another person?  Do we support others in their pursuit of grave evils, like abortion or adultery or pornography or foul language or skipping Mass?  Do we do these things ourselves?

In these moments, we must stop and hear the voice:  "Whom do you serve?"  Let it echo, deeply, and sound against our disordered mind and will.  In those moments, when our wills are set on what is evil, which god is encouraging us to make these choices?  Which god is pleased when we do these things?  With whom, in these moments, are we aligning our wills and serving?  What Kingdom, in these moments, are we helping to establish?

Further still, if we seek to dabble in what is dark and occult, if we seek to summon powers of the earth and the air, powers which God has clearly warned are dangerous and unfriendly, lying spirits masquerading as benevolent friends, or place our hands upon a board or token or symbol meant to express our openness and interest in tapping into the energies which these forbidden realms promise to impart - which god has led us hence?  Have we not, then, formally expressed our deep desire to allow such forbidden powers to enter into us, and, at the same time, formally expressed our desire that Jesus Christ depart from us?

There's Still Time
Do I really love Jesus Christ?  If so, I would keep His Commandments at all times; I would trust and surrender to Him, "morning, noon, and night"; I would "seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness," knowing that, if I do, God will then provide all things that I need; and I would not run from, but embrace, the suffering that might come to me in this life, for that is the example of the Son of God, who calls me to follow after Him.

Thus, we must all hear the question - "Whom do you serve?" and face the answer that our actions are giving.  Is our God and Master a Provident Father?  an Aloof Creator?  a Merciless Tyrant? a Shadowy Energy of the Earth?

If we do not like the answer that our actions reveal, then we must work to give a new one.

Perpetually Starting Over

Christians are gifted, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, with the ability to perpetually regenerate, so to speak.  The mercy of Our Lord is constantly available to us, ready to reach out as soon as we call upon Him, and cleanse us of our sins when we lay them before Him.  This work in our souls is never finished but is always occurring in those who place their trust in God.

This is how God forms saints - He never departs from His place beside us.  Even when we are in mortal sin, He is ready, at the reform of our will and desires, to enter back into our souls.  When we turn away from Him, He beckons us to look again.  He knows we often serve many masters, but He pursues us for our love nonetheless, seeking to fix our hearts on Him alone, that, finally undivided in our longings and loyalty, we may follow Him, our true Master, into eternal rewards.

Brought to you by the author of Slaying Dragons: What Exorcists See & What We Should Know, the popular spiritual warfare book based on the wisdom of exorcists and the great Saints.  Also the author of Swords and Shadows: Navigating Youth Amidst the Wiles of Satan, a spiritual warfare guide for teenagers and young adults, and their parents.

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