“Aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know they breed quarrels!”
“If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it!” Yes, that photo is of a cloudless sky. Over the years, I have used that phrase many times in counseling situations. If someone is wondering what to do with their life and is aiming at nothing, they will surely end up hitting nothing, just like aiming at a cloudless sky. If that same person can have an attainable 5-year goal and aim at the steps they must begin to move in, they are going to hit something.
Another adage I might use in the same conversation is: “You can’t steer a parked car!” When people begin moving in a direction, it allows them to be steered by the Lord. The important thing is to take “aim” and begin to move in that direction.
St. Paul is encouraging all of us to take “aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace.” What things should I be doing to become more righteous in my life, to increase my faith, to better love the people I encounter daily, to have more peace in my heart and mind? Those “who call upon the Lord from a pure heart” have taken aim at these things and we are invited to join them on this journey. Wow, that just hit me in a wonderful way.
St. Paul warns us that there are “rabbit trails” we can end up on that will take us away from our goals. He doesn’t sugar coat it at all. He states very plainly: “Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies!” Such controversies are raging in our world right now. We would do well to completely avoid them. We can recognize them by their fruit: “They breed quarrels!” One doesn’t have to search these out, they seem to find us. Senseless discussions about things we cannot honestly know, yet we can become vehement about our side. The quarrels will never end. They simply keep us occupied with matters that are not leading us toward “righteousness, faith, love, and peace.”
If we can recognize it, then St. Paul exhorts us to have nothing to do with such things. It is time to get off that rabbit trail and back on our journey toward where it is we truly want to go. May the Lord help us in our quest to become people who call on Him with a pure heart and ever onward toward Theosis (becoming more and more like the Lord).
With you in that journey…Fr. Stephen