Receptive Spirituality: Receptive Piety (Part 4)

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"We quite readily imagine that we are actors performing before God to gain His applause rather than beggars receiving His gifts.  Nothing excites us more than the desire to do something great, achieve something extraordinary.  Of course, we don't do this for ourselves but only for God!  Since we secretly admire those who seem to be spiritual superheroes, devotional high-fliers, we focus on our spiritual performance and our religious achievements.  We use God's gifts to gain spiritual kingship, power, and glory for ourselves, though we say we use them for God and the growth of the Church!  We therefore become blind to the depths of our sin and the extent of God's grace.  All too quickly our spirituality becomes an exercise in blatant self-deception and glossy self-promotion.  We cover up before God and advertise ourselves as our own creation.  We want the glory without the cross.  We avoid full exposure to the scrutiny of God's Law; we belittle the call to repentance; we protect the old self from demolition and reconstruction by Christ.  And all this because, like the Pharisees, we want to be seen to be holy, approved, admired and praised by those around us, rather than by God."

"Jesus maintains that the true goal of our piety is for us to be seen by God, open to His searching and yet gracious scrutiny, known and appreciated by Him...  No progress can be made unless we are honest with ourselves before God the Father...  We are justified by God's grace and approved by Him.  That's given!  Our justification does not depend on our piety and our spiritual performance but on Christ and His performance.  We can therefore face up to our recurring failure to live as His holy people and people of prayer.  In fact, our failure is meant to teach us to ask for what we lack and receive everything from Christ.  With that request for help comes an end to our playacting before the imagined audience of God and the people around us.  We also receive relief from the intolerable pressure to demonstrate how much spiritual progress we have made and to show how spiritually mature we have become."

John Kleinig quotes from above are take from: