How often do you think of the word “reverence?” When you do think of it, what is it in reference to? A lot of people I know would answer that "reverence" refers to the sensation they feel when they worship God, or when they know they are in His presence.
I would agree. However, what if I would tell you that another way to think about the word “reverence,” is this: we are to “Reverence the integrity of Self.” What do you suppose that might mean? The phrase comes from the writings of a monk of the Episcopal Order of the Holy Cross. Fr. Bonnell Spencer, in an attempt to define what monks mean by taking a vow of obedience, wrote that it means to “Reverence the integrity of Self.”
When I first read that, I thought, “How can reverencing myself be the same thing as obeying God? Then I read on. Clarification happened: Fr. Spencer said that when we seek to reverence in every way possible, the integrity of the creature that God made us to be, we will be in obedience to God.
That is, we will desire with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength to become the person our loving Creator intended us to be. We will live into a grace-filled intentionality in all our decisions and actions that will cause us to be that person. In the process, the Holy Spirit will enlighten us as to who we are in God’s sight: the REAL person beyond all the masks that we many times hide behind. The Holy Spirit will give us discernment concerning our God-given purpose in life. Reverence the integrity of that Self.
I don’t know about you, but I find all that incredibly wonderful and enlightening in and of itself. It brings peace to my restive spirit, and I begin (again) to rest in God, knowing that He knows my REAL Self better than anyone, including me. And that if I ask Him to be my partner in how to grow into that person, He will say throughout the Universe a resounding and loving “Yes, I will!”
By the way, I use the phrase growing into my “Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ” throughout this website. This blog post explains one way of looking at what that means. Wouldn’t you like to know what your Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ is? And to know that living into that, is exactly what the Lord wants? And to know that the journey is one of “reverencing the integrity of your Self – in the Lord.
Perhaps all this is the reason that spiritual abuse is so damaging. That reverence has been obliterated.
Next week’s blog will be a discussion of how to treat others in this same Godly manner. And the horrors that not doing that can unleash.
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