I enjoy life. Like my daughter I am able to say that I enjoy being myself. I get much satisfaction from simple things like the weather, the glory of the seasons, walking around our suburban block looking at the trees and gardens and being in the Australian bush. As well for me each day is an adventure in life. Life is an adventure to me, particularly in the spiritual sphere, as Jesus leads us onwards to cast aside old myths and veils and advance into the fullness of Himself and the excitement of His creation. In Jesus we really are ‘new every morning.’
Richard Rohr writes, ‘To acknowledge oneself as a beginner is to open ourselves to transformation.’ It is indeed. Particularly when the normal we have been conditioned to be from our assumptions - is considerably less than who we are!
Personal catastrophes can open the door to new beginnings in which one can start a new life because one has been born again. Sometimes we have no choice but to be born again by circumstance, because a failure to do so is to perish – in one’s soul at least.
Yet we are fortunate if we maintain this attitude; if we embrace the putting to death of things that are lifeless. When we permit ourselves to be put to death often by events or by choice to rise with Jesus into His life. We have entered the realm of continual re-birth. Death to self not only becomes a door. It awakens our better self. It becomes a way of life, a path that leads our spirit and soul to continuous growth and ever increasing banqueting on life itself.
A lady had a vision of herself and the Lord. Jesus and Julia sat at a table of infinite length laden with food and drink of all kinds. ‘My daughter,’ Jesus said. ‘With me there is always more than enough.’ Yet we can be passive enough to make do with what we have and have always understood. Like cattle we can graze in normality without ever coming to live in our glory.
There are opportunities begin again. Like every morning. Passivity and unwillingness to start over leads to dead ends and stagnation. People make a religion from it. I was shocked once when talking to Alice who had come into the Spirit. Shocked not only because she had made some progress in this direction, but appalled because she had not abandoned the ignorance and superstition that was the culture of her spiritual upbringing. We may sing like a canary when the door of our cage is left ajar. But if we never leave the cage the open door has no bearing on our growing into glory. If what we believed and were joined to was essentially un-life because it was false, even a life in charisma will not end well. Here we may start off with a bang but it will all end with a whimper.
Adding a form of life to a culture of death is a poor substitute for transformation and advancement from glory to glory. Hanging on to old paradigms; to the old wineskin of law and old covenant, makes a mockery of life in the Spirit. Why? Life in the Spirit is sourced in nothing of the old. It is rooted neither in the law or the old covenant and certainly in nothing of the knowledge of good and evil. Its root is directly in the heart of God and the life-fire of the trinity. We can have union with the law or union with God but not both.
‘The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children’ Gal 4.24,25 NIV.
We can be ignited with spirit and life or anaesthetised by a body of death. Good people spend their lives as a phantom of who they are when they insist on bolting some insight, some fragment of truth like being ‘Spirit-filled’ onto the old covenant. One can no more grow the Kingdom of God in the saucer and wet cotton-wool of the law than we can grow a wheat crop in a bottle. But more to the point, one cannot see the veils that distort our lives and separate us from God.
Unless we are prepared to lay all that we are at the cross of Christ, all that we have assumed to be true, all that we thought gave us an identity; unless we can lay this at the cross without condition, we will receive little of His fullness and never be ourselves. While all the time walking in the illusion of His blessing.
Sure, we might stumble on with a ministry that we conduct from the wheelchair of our veils, but we will access only droplets of spirit and life. We will deny ourselves the rivers of living water to release to a thirsty world. ‘To acknowledge oneself as a beginner is to open ourselves to transformation.’
What we have always believed - our formulation of truth - can be mildly bent. It can consist of some confused impressions of God. Or it can be doctrinal system of lies and delusions. Christ’s burden is easy and light. He bids us lay down the impositions and distortions we have hawked about as truth and enter into a fresh dimension of His fullness.
Robert Rohr puts it exactly, ‘The last experience of God is frequently the greatest obstacle to the next experience of God. We make an absolute of it and .. then of course nothing more happens. That's why Jesus repeats the admonition to conversion. We need to be converted again and again. We aren't born again. We are born again and again and again. Accepting and acting upon that principle takes a lot of letting go. If we aren't willing to move out of our comfort zone, it won't happen. All great spirituality is about letting go.’
‘Anyone who loves [the ideas 0f] their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it’ Matt 10.3, 38 NIV.