Elihu’s Key by Mal Garvin – short excerpt
Carl Jung said, “To strive for perfection is futile, but we must strive for completion; but the path to completion always goes through the doorway of self acceptance.”
Many Christians last century believed they had to be perfect because of a faulty translation in the authorised version of the Bible. It read, “Be ye perfect as I am perfect.” Sadly, many carried a heavy and unnecessary burden, because the original was actually “become completed as I am complete.” In the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5, it says “Blessed are…” The word blessed literally means being complete in yourself; in other words needing nothing outside of your spirit to make you feel whole.
Ouspenky says, “We are all incompleted people.” If we want to continue the journey to completion we need to be prepared to leave the comfort of our roles and to transcend the neurotic part inside of us that wants equilibrium, status, and significance.
In the words of the apostle Paul, “I push on toward the mark of my high calling.” Like him, we need to be ready to leave things behind to do it, the roles that define us, patterns of thinking that trap us, and the habits of living that give us equilibrium. As Carl Jung reminded us, he had never come across a happy and well adjusted person in middle age who had not come to terms with the spiritual dimension of their existence.
A part of us will all ways struggle with the anxiety that comes along with the unknown in the face of the adventure. This is where the discovery of faith is essential.
Fixing ones gaze on what is unseen
Faith is not crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. It is tuning in to the part of you that can see the invisible. The apostle Paul says in the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verses 13 to 18 that with the “spirit of faith,” he is able to see differently. In verse 18 he says “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen.”
When you look at an apple, what do you see? Cut it sideways and you will see a magical star. In that star you will see seeds that hold the DNA of what could become thousands of apple trees. It is invisible, but it has a latent life that can travel off to the great forever. When in God’s company and with his help we are traveling with him down “the path of life” (Psalm 16:11), we will find we have the resources that bring life to a whole new tomorrow.
Finding our narrative in bringing life for tomorrow
It won’t happen if we cling to the identity that is shaped by our past. The apple seeds have to leave the apple, go into the ground and are apparently dying, before they are transformed. First there is the frail seedling, then the young sapling, and finally a productive tree that can produce more apples, and more seed, to grow thousands more trees.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot (martyred missionary)
Could it be that Job had been so shaped by his status and role in the community that he felt God had to answer to him, not the other way around? Could it be that instead of being a faith pioneer he had become a settler? Sometimes it is the great difficulties and life challenges that force us off our psychic posteriors and get us moving on to pioneer again. Elihu, the fresh young recruit, could see things Job and his erstwhile comforters were blind to. Job’s comforters had probably envied his status and significance and almost enjoyed his fall, while Job was feeling it was not fair for a man in his position to have to cope with what he was going through. He and his comforters were not seeing the situation from the same paradigm.
The Level 4 thinker with faith vision was seeing it differently.
Elihu, the Level 4 thinking outsider was looking at the same situation, but from another framework. He had to remind Job that he was not the centre of the universe,the measure of all things, but that there was another creator; he Job, was simply a creature.
Pride is that mole-like blindness that thinks that what it is seeing is all there is to see. Have you ever noticed how sincere pride is? Sometimes the proud fail to realise that the reason they are so frustrated is that they are being thwarted by an expert – “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”