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Renunciation - The Path of Freedom and Simplicity




3/3/2024

Ezekiel 18:21

But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

 

One of the commands we are given is to repent of certain thoughts and behaviors, to change our thinking about things that are unproductive, harmful, and anti-God. Repentance is part of the virtue I want to discuss this week – renunciation.

 

Many of us hear this word and we think of various religious ascetics, monks, nuns, and people who choose to live a life of sparsity and extreme austerity. Some are deemed renunciants because of their acute self-denial. 

 

Being a renunciant is not necessarily a virtue. I personally believe God wants us to enjoy the abundance of the world that He has created. However, renunciation is a powerful virtue. In the Old Testament there are many verses that implore us not to forsake God the Father and to renounce our gods to whom we bow down and to all things that enslave our attention.

 

"I do not bow down to any other god," we scoff. "I don't worship Baal But if we closely examine our lives, we must admit that there are times when we give deference to things other than our God. We value some things even more than God at times.  Here are just some of those ‘gods.’

 

There is the God of Ego. It whispers, “Me first,” and leads us to selfishness. The God of Ego commands the demigods of materialism, social media, and work, all of whom demand our time, attention, and commitment.

 

The God of Pride guides us to seek recognition, superiority, and self-importance. There is the God of Respect. Some of us seek approval of others beyond anything else in life. We sacrifice our authenticity, who we really are, for the respect of others.

 

Then there is the God of Lust, which fuels are craving for carnal pleasure and self-destructive choices. Who has not bowed to the God of Comfort, which encourages us to avoid challenges and anything that makes us feel the least little bit uncomfortable. This is the same god that drives us to worship money over God and considers possessions greater than people.

 

There is also the God of Distraction. This is another powerful worldly god that demands our attention with screens, phones, entertainment, and constant busyness that prevents us from deep reflection and spiritual connection. The God of Law encourages us to replace genuine faith and compassion with legalism and rigid adherence to rules and protocol.

 

Similarly, the God of Religion tells us that protocols, rituals, and traditions are more important than a genuine connection with the Divine One. The God of Bitterness combines efforts with the God of Ego so that we hold grudges and feed resentment to block God’s love and light. We cannot forget that we often bow down to the God of Fear and Anxiety. This deity duo steals our trust and peace and keeps us in perpetual worry.

 

We may not build an idol to these worldly gods, but they gain more of our attention than they deserve or is healthy for us. Today, it is these gods that our beloved Creator asks that we renounce.  None of these activities are inherently bad or evil. They are sinister because of the time and attention they demand. They steal our focus and confound the Divine Order of ‘God first’.

 

Renunciation is a profound practice that involves releasing attachments and desires, ultimately leading to inner freedom and a deepening relationship with Spirit. When we can renounce blame and anger and embrace love, it makes sense why we are asked to forgive others. By releasing fear and doubt, we are no longer burdened by their emotional weight.

 

When we can observe the causes for dissatisfaction in our lives, we can let them go. Alcohol, gossip, anger, the desire to control others, unrealistic expectations of others, these can all lead to unwanted situations and thoughts. Being aware of them gives us choices.

 

Superficial pleasures and unhealthy attachments can lead us into dark places. When we use relationships, objects, or even our jobs to define our sense of worth, we become overly attached to the world. These are areas where renunciation can free us from their control. Our self-worth is not dependent upon being smarter, richer, cooler, or more successful than anyone else. That is an unhealthy bond that we can renounce. Our self-worth is based on who we are inside, not outside. We can release our needy behavior, sense of victimhood, codependency, jealousy, fear of abandonment, and need for constant reassurance.

 

As a child of God, we are whole, complete, and powerful just as we are. It is the worldly gods who tell us otherwise. These worldly gods tell us that we are weak, incapable, unable and unworthy of expressing our emotions without fear.  When we renounce these worldly influences, and call these gods on their lies, and decline their control, we are restored to God’s perfection. As a child of God, we do not have to fear intimacy or emotional closeness. We are strong and adept yet can still humbly accept help, support, and love from others. We know it is not a weakness to need others and connect with others.

 

To conclude, God wants us to renounce how the world tells us to behave and react. We are not broken; the world, as our ego sees it, is lying to us. Spirit wants us to know that we are loving, forgiving, free, fearless, and at peace in our body, mind, heart, and life. Christ gently and lovingly guides us to accept and acknowledge that God’s Light is within us, and we are beacons of that Light for others. God is our Source of all Love, Life, Light, and Joy.  

 

Renunciation is a path to freedom and simplicity. It allows us to detach from the material distractions of the world and focus clearly on our spiritual growth. Renunciation is not deprivation or asceticism. It is choosing freedom over bondage and simplicity over complication. It is my prayer that we use the power of renunciation and order to clear our minds, hearts, and lives of all the clutter that clouds our connection with our One Source.

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