What I'd like to talk about today is the struggle of how to think, as a Christian. The kind of perspective with which those who profess Christ must approach life. Living in a spiritual reality, versus what our minds and emotions often tell us is reality in this immediately experienced, physical world. It is so easy to be taken with what we can see, touch, smell, experience in a tactile sense, and then to live accordingly. As opposed to the spiritual, which can at times seem slippery, ethereal, and hard to grasp. It takes discipline, perhaps a lifetime of it, to know how to live and experience life within that spiritual realm and from a spiritual perspective.
I am reminded of the prophet Elisha and the invisible army in 2 Kings. Elisha's servant is distraught when he realizes that he and Elisha are seemingly trapped inside the city of Dothan, with the angry Aramean army surrounding it waiting to capture them. He cries to Elisha in hopelessness and despair, wondering what on earth they are to do in this impossible situation.
Elisha calmly replies, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
Um, huh? I'm sure this servant of Elisha's was thinking, "Excuse me, I know you are a man of the Lord and all, but we are ALL BY OUR LONESOME up in here, and they've got a giant army and chariots and horses about to bust in on us. Sir."
But the man of God knew what true reality is. Again, he calmly speaks, this time in prayer: "'O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' And the Lord opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."
I'm sure all (two or three) of you reading this post would be 100 % Elisha on this, but I'm gonna go ahead and stand up and say I'm much more inclined to have the servant's response. Complete and total freakout.
What is difficult about all this though, when you drop down from the cerebral contemplation of the issue to the nitty gritty of life, is the juxtaposition and the tension between the physical and the spiritual. It is not by any means easy to just set aside what we experience in this very physical world to experience things only spiritually. Our physical bodies are not entirely separate from our spirit. The scriptures tell us that our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit who dwells in us (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19). It tells us that our bodies will be resurrected and glorified on that awesome homegoing day (Phil. 3:21). Jesus instructs us to care for the physical needs of others. He recognizes those things as important and worthy of attention.
So those earthly, emotional, and physical desires we have are simply put, important. They are not divorced from our spirit. Herein, so often, lies our trouble. How can we experience and view life from the spiritual perspective when we are so constantly bombarded by what is immediate? Grief or sadness over a broken relationship, pain from a lost child, physical afflictions, feelings of resentment, jealousy, insecurity, you name it. These things can threaten to overwhelm and overtake us, rendering us practically useless. Or at least feeling that way. Instead, we should allow them to drive us to our knees in prayer, which will instill and produce in us a real and deep humility that is grounded in the reality of our sin and the fullness of what a holy God has done for us.
We are hopeless. Broken. Seemingly unfixable.
But those in Christ are redeemed. Covered. Adopted. Made new, forever. And in this mystery He promises, if we let him, to "open the eyes of our hearts", causing the scales to fall away, until we can truly see. See what is real, and not just what is immediate. We can spend a lifetime learning this. Until one day we will be raised with him and live in that true reality with him--the sorrows of this life far behind us.
I watched the movie Joyful Noise this weekend. Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, and a gospel choir? Um yes please, for this girl anyway. Queen Latifah's character, at her lowest point in the movie, goes to the church house all by herself, sits down at the piano and sings from the depth of her soul a simple yet beautiful song--Fix Me, Jesus.
Here is the link to it. (I would imbed it but I ain't that fancy. I'll figure out how to do that soon!)
This sweet song sums it up. The depth of our human unworthiness is matched and covered only by the depth of love from a perfect, sinless Savior. Who can fix us, if we will only ask and follow Him.