Thursday, April 2, 2009

I am happy.

When Paul received his sight, he received spiritually an insight into the Person of Jesus Christ, and the whole of his subsequent life and preaching was nothing but Jesus Christ - "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." No attraction was ever allowed to hold the mind and soul of Paul save the face of Jesus Christ.

We have to learn to maintain an unimpaired state of character up to the last notch revealed in the vision of Jesus Christ.

The abiding characteristic of a spiritual man is the interpretation of the Lord Jesus Christ to himself, and the interpretation to others of the purposes of God. The one concentrated passion of the life is Jesus Christ. Whenever you meet this note in a man, you feel he is a man after God's own heart.

Never allow anything to deflect you from insight into Jesus Christ. It is the test of whether you are spiritual or not. To be unspiritual means that other things have a growing fascination for you.

"Since mine eyes have looked on Jesus,
I've lost sight of all beside,
So enchained my spirit's vision,
Gazing on the Crucified."

-Oswald Chambers

If I was not a Christian I think I could have been perfectly content being a cop at 18. I would have kicked in doors and locked up 'bad guys' and let hot guys off of speeding tickets, and went home with a satisfied, simple heart. I'm sure days would have been hard, I'm sure I would have gotten jaded, but I also think I would have thought I was making the world a little better.

If I was not a Christian I could have been completely satisfied being a criminal profiler at 20. Hiding myself away in cases and minds- in theories and other peoples stories. Every case I helped solve would strengthen my resolve for the next.

If I was not a Christian, I could have been completely satisfied being a counselor at 21. I could have helped people believe in their own worth, walked them through lies and abuse. I would have been content to see people come alive, and to find myself in that.

If I was not a Christian I could have been perfectly content writing movies at 23. I would have written movies with social justice themes and gone to bed thinking I was doing a good thing.

If I was not a Christian, I would now be perfectly content sewing dresses. I could lose myself in fashion and colors, in seeing something come alive in my hands, and being loved by another person.

But I am a Christian. And so, nothing else satisfies but Christ. And honestly, that kind of sucks.

I cannot be happy without him. His Spirit is heavy in me, in us all, no matter how much we feed our Minds and Hearts over him. Living in/with/through Christ is the only thing that gives my life hope or meaning.

I am the most discontent when I let a person, a job or idea define my life. As hard as I try, I cannot find satisfaction in those things, the spirit will not allow me.

I have to be honest. There are times I wish I did not have the Spirit, and there are times I wish some of my friends didn't. I want to be happy, I want the people I love to be happy. And I know, that I know, that I know we never will be if we have one foot in Christ and one foot in the world.

So let me caveat this by saying that I am by no means a spiritual guru. I have chosen to pursue Christ with both feet because I'm afraid that I will go crazy if I don't. Honestly, I'm not strong enough to do it on my own.

My friends with the spirit: I have it stuck in my head that you will only be content when you are praying and reading and loving and seeing the world through Christs eyes. That is why I bug you with this cheesy christian shit. Cheesy Christian shit like this: You were made for more than a job or a lover or an ideal. You were made to be the fragrance of Christ.

So: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Read Colossians or Phillipians (and as though I need to say it- read it in the message, you can feel things in that text, instead of just reading them) remember your favorite story of God, remember the last time you felt his presence, remember Christ in the garden, try to see people as Christ sees them, and remember how much he loves you, wants to be with you. Put both feet in.

So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. IIt wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Col. 3:1