An excerpt from a project I am working on…
I have been a born again
Christian since I was 5 years old. At least according to my mother although I
don’t really have remembrance of the specific moment I surrendered myself over
to the life of Christ. At the age of 15 I sensed an intense call to serve the
Lord through the activity of preaching His Gospel. I preached my first sermon
when I was 17 and by the time I was 20 years old I was in the vocation of
preaching, leading people and ministry in the Body of Christ. For the duration
of that time and until recent years, I strived to be a better person. I have
strained to be a “better Christian”. I have attended conferences, read books,
listened to audios of great leaders all with the end goal of becoming a better
version of me. Immersing myself fully into a life of self-perfection, I sought
out every guru and model that could possibly empower me to become what I hoped
I was capable of becoming. You likely have similar
intentions in mind.
We have a perpetual craving to be better. We have access to
all of our personal inadequacies. We are all too familiar with our places of
weakness and the true motives of our heart. We are intimately acquainted with
every flaw and frailty. Therefore, we expend our finances, our time and energy
trying to modify said imperfections. If only we can diminish this habit…maybe
if we cultivate a new system of operating…possibly if we establish some
rigidity to our daily schedule we can will ourselves to a greater dimension of
efficiency, morality and success. If we can just make ourselves better, we will
be happy, fulfilled and at peace as our head rests upon the pillow at night. On
the surface this sounds like a noble endeavor but what if it isn’t? What if
that longing and searching is derived not from a place of healthy personal
development but instead from a region of the soul that has a lack of revelation
of the beauty and splendor of our God?
The challenge I have
encountered is that a high percentage of the leadership and personal development material I have read, concentrates on self. They are structured on the premise that if I can get my act
together sufficiently I will be of greater use to society, attain higher
degrees of success and find satisfaction in my body of work. The problem with a
self-help curriculum is the over reliance on self to attain that which can only
truly be imparted via the divine. What if the key to the door of true inward
freedom and peace is not found in my ability to self-discipline and refine my
skills? What if there is a key of David which opens doors no man can close and
closes doors no man can open? What if my ever-present frustration is actually
being fed and watered by my straining? What if my real problem is I am
constantly trying to be better? In the process my eyes remain fixed on the
mirror. I look at the mirror observing every blemish and concocting strategies
to eradicate them. Yet, my eyes are still on me, in the mirror. What happens
when we cease our efforts to be a better person and instead increase our
knowledge of a divine Father?
I will tell you quite simply what happens, our
eyes get redirected from an earth ravaged being to an eternal entity. We no
longer seek contentment and satisfaction in the faulty systems of a fading
world. We find in a heavenly Father all we have ever needed and hoped for.
We shift from a pursuit of happiness to an impartation of joy. We transition
from being accepted among our peers to being loved immeasurably. We maneuver
from the fickle approval of people to the unwavering validation of a
time-tested redeemer. My hope, as you read, is that your heart
would be freed from the confinements of shame, your mind would be redeemed from
the processes of this world and your soul would finally be synced with the
Spirit of God the way Jesus intended when he gasped his last on the cross and
resumed his breathing in the tomb. You were born again to be free to the full.
It is for freedom that he set you free!
will be moments without concrete answers. There will be questions posed. There
will be opportunities to enter new gates of understanding. I am learning, if
all the answers are placed blatantly before us then the necessity of seeking
ceases. Our relationship with the Divine One is not as much about answers as it
is seeking, pursuing, and discovering. If we are not careful, in our pursuit of
clarity and answers we will miss Jesus who has been, is and will always be THE
answer. If we always allow others to spoon feed us pat, cliched answers we will continue living with the unsatisfactory gnawing of “that’s not enough”.
Answers can be
more dangerous than ignorance if they cause us to cease our exploration.
answers cause us to set up camp we have missed the greater purpose of following
Jesus …following…which has no destination. And I must be completely honest, I
don’t have all of the answers. To hack away at my laptop with the arrogant notion I have your life figured out is an affront to the loving God who uniquely
designed you and is far more familiar with your circumstances than I. I am a
fellow follower of Jesus who is asking the same questions. Yet, I do so with
the understanding that answers and convenient solutions fail to quench the
thirst in my soul. Each life scenario and crossroad of questioning is an
invitation to come a little closer and deeper into the One. Answers are not
notches in the belt waved high as an emblem of us having conquered. It is the
design of the Spirit to usher us through new gates of understanding and new
dimensions of intimacy with the One who loves us most. I do not presume this book will fill in every blank. Therefore, throughout there is a
verse which will be subtly pervasive and relied upon heavily.
But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within
you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches
you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true–it is not a lie.
So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.(1 John 2:27)
You have been equipped with the
greatest teacher in the universe. My prayer is that as I talk to you through
this ink on paper, Holy Spirit will speak deeply and pen the ways of His
Kingdom in your soul.