Have you ever felt so happy that if you couldn’t somehow express it you would explode? Like your body is wrapped up in a pressure so light it almost tickles, but so strong it almost hurts? How do you describe it? Like your finger tips are tingling with tiny vibrations of excitement that grow into stronger waves of thrill sweeping back and forth across your body rocking your heart in a smooth and treacherous motion. The expression requires dramatic terms to understand, but is so peaceful and perfect that you could stay forever in the moment.
In perfect calm, you feel like you have the power to do anything. Every motion exaggerates the pleasure of feeling in the same way that a broken bone shoots pain throughout the body. Probing for the core of this painful pleasure leads to the heart, which is bouncing like a rubber ball on a trampoline. Its smile does not know where it will land and its future is always bright. Free falling with no fear and no end into an ever-growing spectrum of color and sound. Complete freedom. Absolute trust.
There is no end. The feeling lingers like the raindrops on a rose petal that slowly absorb into its color. The touch of warmth melting into your skin from an early summer sun, the smell of southern breezes at the end of winter, the quiet of a fresh snowfall, and the crisp anticipation of autumn blend together into a golden kiss that makes you tremble with excitement. You are perfectly satisfied, but cannot soak in the experience. You can never get enough, but want nothing more. It is as if your ability to experience has reached its limit. You have never known how to feel before now. There is nothing good that you have yet to know. All your desires melt into the moment and nothing else matters. In the drunken stupor it produces, the only thought is “more.”
You laugh because you don’t know what else to do. You dance because movement itself is pleasure. You sit still because even dancing cannot express what you feel. You sing because the laughter is not enough, and you laugh some more because you cannot find the words to sing. If you knew how to laugh with your whole body you would, but sometimes the surge of excitement can only be expressed with a contended sigh, a bowed head, and a soothing breath. It is a moment of heaven. It is the full expression of love. It is the purest form of life. It is the peaceful excitement of joy. It is nothing less than the perfect realization of humanness; the reconnection between the creature and its creator; the meeting of the sacred and the broken – of God and man. How can you leave unchanged? Everything is completely different.
In the Kingdom of heaven, everything is upside down. The servant is the greatest. The greatest is the least. Going down is going up. Letting go is receiving. Jumping off a cliff is beginning to fly.
In the daytime my experience was the brilliant stupor described above, but in the nighttime, I began to fly. Soaring like an eagle with no effort at all, I tested my wings. In the safety of my dreams, I began to fly. Unable to explain what had happened, I felt like a little child who had just entered the world for the first time. Attempting to understand my experience, I wrote the following.
I don’t yet know what to make of this new life. I feel like a baby Christian with an incredible hunger to know my Lord. Probably because He is all I have left. As a new man, I don’t understand how this will affect the rest of my life. So far, it has made everything else irrelevant and is totally ruining my GPA. But for the first time in my life, I don’t care. I have found something better than life itself.
While I don’t understand now and probably never will, I know enough to trust my soul, life, and strength to it. No longer is Christ simply the one who saved me from death, but the guide and Lord who alone I can look to in my journey of life.
It is strange to me how the big things in life make sense and I don’t have to worry about the little things. This is so much easier than trying to work everything out by myself. Right now I don’t know, and I don’t care. All I need to know is that I sit at the feet of Jesus a brand new person. Maybe this is salvation. Am I a Christian for the first time? If so, it is the most wonderful thing in the world. To fully trust not just my soul, but also my everything. This great thing God has done. Sola Deo Gloria
Could this be the salvation I have heard and known so much about? When one is finally freed from slavery to himself and the desire to sin? Not that the human nature is gone, but I have no desire to experience it for I have found something better.
One could compare it to two lovers gazing stupidly into each other’s eyes oblivious to the world around them. So entranced in the beauty of the moment, nothing else matters.
My Bible is ever open, for I desire to read it – to know it all. Not for the knowledge and truth it offers, but for a glimpse of my Lord and of the promises concerning this life I now live. Prayer is not done…it is never stopped for why should I wish to do anything if it is not in the will of God?
I can remember many times in my past when I longed for this type of surrender: to knowingly and fully let go of my life in order to know true life. I am excited to see what God will do.
Christianity is a belief system. Jesus is a whole new life.
Oh the wonder of it all. What joy and peace. Glory be to God.
I don’t really know where to begin with describing my thoughts of late. God is moving again! Before, my Christianity fit in with my life very conveniently. Now my life seems to be inconsistent with my faith. I fear and welcome a shift in worldview, but do not have the power to open my own eyes. May His will be done.
Once again, it seems there is a clash of faith and reason. I have begun to question the lifestyle I have become comfortable in. I think the world and the church have got it wrong. But I don’t know what ‘it’ is, or how to fix it.
My friend Jonathan and I are working through this question together, but don’t know if we can find the answer. Reason and logic may be enemies in this fight to discover truth, but I don’t think it is wise to discard them entirely. Mostly, I think it is important to keep an open mind to crazy ideas and a soft heart toward the Holy Spirit.
I am somewhat scared to pursue this topic further as its implications reach into the most sacred (if not all) areas of my life. For example, my summer plans of an internship in China may be totally wasted. Additionally, I may have to refocus most of my social life. Thus, I think it unwise to make a rash or hasty decision. However, I recognize that (like before) I may need to view this in the same way as I did the cross: reason can only lead me to the truth. I can only see and embrace it by faith.
By faith, Jesus said, his followers could move mountains and see Him work (Matthew 17:10). What a thrilling idea! I may be on the verge of participation in the Kingdom of God. What this will mean or how it plays out may be very interesting.
My ongoing prayer for humility (begun fall 09) is being answered in ways I never imagined. I am at the foot of the cross, a baby Christian, ready to learn and grow, terrified and excited, trusting that God will finish what He has begun. Praise Him!
Because Christianity is a relationship rather than a set of principles, the language used to describe it borders on obsessively romantic. Even the Bible refers to God’s relationship with His people in the intimate example of husband and bride. Thus, those moments of encounter with truth resemble and can only be described with the language of passion and romance.
The words above were my attempt to describe the feeling of change from a person who had to be God, to a person who would eventually learn to worship God. I knew I had begun a relationship of faith with Someone instead of searching for an idea to trust my life to. However, I began a struggle to understand just how this relationship with God was supposed to look in practical everyday life.
Was I supposed to spend all my time in Church? Is the only appropriate career for a Christian that of an evangelist, missionary, or pastor? Are people who pursue careers in business, education, entertainment, or customer service doing something wrong? What about the people who are in ‘Kingdom Careers’ (working directly with the church) …do they get some kind of special reward or gratification from God for doing the right thing? Are the rest of the people not really serving God’s Kingdom?
On the other hand, there are people who spend all their time doing these things but whose heart really isn’t in it. The evangelists who are so good at what they do that anybody will pray a prayer for them may appear to be doing the work of the Kingdom, but is their work really any different than that of the business-card printer? Jesus says that not everyone who does things in His name will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
So it appears that serving the Kingdom of Heaven is not about doing certain things. If it was just about actions, the Pharisees should have been Jesus’ best friends.
Following this line of thought led me in search of the ideal Christian. Once again, I set out looking for the truth. Only this time, the truth I sought was practical, not ideological. This revealed a problem, though. The ideal Christian I wanted to be was definitely not the person I actually was. Even though I now had a relationship with God through faith, I did not understand how the freedom I enjoyed in that could translate into the way I lived my life.
In order to be a better Christian, I tried to spend more time doing religious activities, but realized that to actually achieve a truly Christian life, I would either have to become a monk, a missionary, or a pastor. If that was true, most Christians were actually disobeying God with the way they lived their lives.
I prayed, I searched the Bible, I talked to important Christian leaders, and I thought long and hard, but nobody had the answer to how I should live my life as a Christian. They said I would know. Well, how was that supposed to happen? I didn’t know and nobody could tell me.
In my attempt to accomplish something for God, I began to pursue a model lifestyle that looked like every other moral person in the world who was just trying to get by. There was no real difference between my life and the life of a member of most other major religious systems.
It took about a year for me to comprehend that my objective of a good life was impossible to achieve. During this time, I discovered the commitment required by my faith and eventually the foundation I would need for a successful life.
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