For those trekking deepest into the journey with Christ, a final stage of holiness begins to appear, a stage striking the trekker as odd as “…God has to atrophy them” in order for the final stages of holiness to take place. The them, much like the snare of usefulness, are not typically detrimental; to the contrary, they have been allies in your quest after the Serving King. But these ‘affinities’, “…right, good, noble affinities’, draw your attention away from God, as you begin to delight in the ‘rightness’ of life taking shape around you, as your being and doing spontaneously produces affinities so sought after by the community of the many around you.
The affinities, lovely as they are, justice, mercy, compassion, etc…, begin to manifest in all that you do, as holiness of being and doing takes shape; but be not surprised when you find yourself increasingly concerned with the affinities of holiness, the fruit of your being and doing, usurping your interest away from God. Many trekkers find their love of the culture of holiness beginning to overshadow the primary essence of holiness, a vital relationship with the Living God. Community and culture, filled with the affinities of holiness, begin to reign in the concerns of the trekker, unintentionally distracting from the essence of holiness.
And in that moment, when the culture of holiness becomes more important than the very presence of God, God moves to atrophy them, rendering your affinities void of transformative power and presence. Your being and doing, robbed of the power of God, atrophies, rendering your efforts moot and unproductive. Working to be and do ever harder, the transformative power of God now gone, renders your efforts exhausting and unproductive.
Spent, having nowhere else to turn, you return to the essence of holiness, the very presence of God who graciously restores that which has atrophied. It is the final stage of holiness, that moment in which the fruit of being and doing matter not. Your only concern, like the Serving King, is faithfulness to the call of God who beckons. Fear not, these affinities will have their fulfillment, but only when it matters not, when obedience to the King is all that really matters.