TO FLOURISH AND SEE
We are clothed in Christ. Jesus is the answer to naked Adam. He removes our n0n-identity but replacing it with Himself. Christ is our life. We can live nakedly in Christ, yet be clothed with His Being. This is the new and living way.
We can live half clothed as a plodder. We can live in partial blindness because we are joined to our own agenda and so partially loyal to Christ. We try to live in this dual loyalty and to some extent are successful – even if our discernment remains small and our sonship diminished. We manage some drops of living water but only because God is gracious.
But if what is what is ours and what we have always believed is our priority, our god and our idol? This separates us from the fullness of God and blurs our spiritual vision. Rick Joyner teaches that a life in the knowledge of good and evil makes us blind and paralysed. This is our state when we are locked into an extra-Jesus identity and we have persuaded ourselves that we can have this man-cantered identity as well as the fullness of the spirit of sonship.
James wrote, ‘That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do’ James 1.7.8 NIV. Such persons do receive something from the Lord. But habitually remain inert to the fullness that could be theirs.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’ Matt 5.8. The double minded will see what they choose to see. Double mindedness is the opposite of purity as in ‘purity of motive.’ As sincere as it may be it is a species of adultery. Don’t imagine we have a Kingdom life while we are hanging on to what is our claim to specialness and attempting to supercharge these old rags with something like the Holy Spirit.
With Christ as our life we have sharp vision and can cut through the words of the flesh. In the old covenant life we are the flesh and have not yet graduated to the Spirit. Our eyes are dull and in a manner of speaking we ‘have no brains at all.’ Near Christ but not one with Him, we see through a glass darkly and spiritual confusion is our norm. We exude drops rather than rivers of life and see our gracing as an endorsement when it is really meant as an encouragement to leave the first half of life behind so we can move into the fullness of our new covenant inheritance.
Richard Rohr writes, ‘Transformation is radically unsettling. We prefer a static, predictable state. To achieve our resting place in “normalcy,” we tend to over identify with one part of ourselves. We reject our weaknesses and we overwork our strengths. We all do. It makes sense. Why do what we are poor at, especially in the first half of life when winning is so important? So we ignore our true character to accommodate to what society names as successful. Then we’re trapped.’(1)
Some of us accommodate truth to the lesser understanding of our limited gospel and the smaller identity that goes with it. We plod along year after year in limitation because we have chosen to accommodate ourselves to what our sub-culture deems successful.
There are many parables of life to be seen in good movies. For example ‘Awakenings’ might be seen as a parable of moving from the old covenant mindset to the new – moving into our new birth out of a comatose mode to the fullness of spirit and life in our Jesus life. For many this would be moving out of our own life with Jesus’ help right into His life as ours.
‘A life that is not ours, as our possession and as the expression of the real us is the real definition of grace.’ Those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God and they are the sons of God because they are alive in the spirit of christ. There are no dead folks walking when we are new covenant sons of God.
DEAD IN YOUR SINS
When we hear the words ‘dead in your sins’ we are not hearing about naughty deeds. We are being warned off the deadness of spirit that cloaks us when Christ is not our life. Life comes from the spirit of Christ himself in us – never from his stuff.
The movie Blind Side is based on a true story of great kindness and the personal seizing of a graciously offered opportunity. It contains an essay by Michael Oher, the main character of the movie that is itself a parable of the life that is always to be found when Christ is our life – found in Him as opposed to the many conceits and humbugs that populate religion.
Michael, a deprived young man, proved to be more perceptive and in tune with the deep issues of life than many realised. The writing of his piece was prompted by his hearing of the poem, Charge of the Light Brigade. I first heard this work read to me as a small boy in Fourth Class. My heart grieved at its tragedy then, even as my spirit was repelled by its folly. Here’s the relevant snippet from the poem, Charge of the Light Brigade.
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
HUMBUG AS VIRTUE
I have never admired doing something stupid even if it is done with courage. Nor have I ever admired committing myself and others to silliness for the sake of pleasing authorities. Particularly is this so when physical lives or the quality of spiritual life to be lived by many is at stake. I’m sad for the soldiers who did this in the 19th century. I live to see people liberated from such vain gory into the daily experience of the fullness of life and revelation that is there in Jesus.
Michael writes, “Courage is a hard thing to figure. You can have courage based on a dumb idea or a mistake, but you’re not supposed to question adults, or your coach, or your teacher because they make the rules. Maybe they know best but maybe they don’t. It all depends on who you are, where you come from.
Michael continues, “Didn’t at least one of the six hundred guys think about giving up and joining with the other side? I mean, Valley of Death, that’s pretty salty stuff. That’s why courage is tricky. Should you always do what others tell you to do? Sometimes you might not even know why you’re doing something. I mean, any fool can have courage.
“But honour, that’s the real reason you either do something or you don’t. It’s who you want to be. If you die trying for something important then you have both honour and courage and that’s pretty good. I think that’s what the writer was saying; that you should try for courage and hope for honour. And maybe even pray that the people telling you what to do have some, too. ”
Michael concludes, “It may be a gamble but it’s not honourable to follow a leader who leads people to nowhere.” Neither is it honourable to promote a gospel that is no gospel at all.”
There’s a lesson here. No matter how sincere we may be, it’s not honourable to commit our lives to spreading a ‘gospel’ that is founded on a fallacy. It could be seen as commendable, but it is misplaced sacrifice and certainly not honourable to spend one’s life as a minister or a missionary spreading a gospel that is no gospel at all. It may show valour. But to come to the end of one’s life without knowing that the beliefs and teachings that one has lived in and promoted are delusional – is a tragedy. Nothing honourable about that.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (p. 161). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.