When I was young, I admit, I was a little different. Of course like other boys I enjoyed all kinds of activities (sports, games, etc.), but there was a deep part of me that wanted to know the meaning of life. As an adult I have discovered that most kids are not so reflective - I on the other hand was very reflective, so much so, that my dad constantly reminded me that I was "too serious." I would think and think and think. Fortunately, I grew up in a Christian home and most of the time (not all the time - kids will be kids) I listened in church. That means I got bits and pieces - a lesson from Sunday School here - a lesson from a sermon there. What did I hear? I heard the truth . . . most of the time. Nevertheless, "the truth" I heard (not necessarily the truth that those godly people were attempting to communicate) was primarily a shallow truth. I do not mean by "shallow truth" that it wasn't intellectually challenging. For a boy, it was very challenging. Rather, what I primarily heard was this: the primary purpose of the Christian life is to get to heaven.
This may be difficult for you to grasp at first, but "getting to heaven," as the primary message and primary purpose of the Christian faith is a confusion of means and ends. So many of us think that the end we are looking for is a location (heaven), but that kind of thinking misses the point. The end is not a location. Rather the end is a person - Jesus Christ. Listen carefully to the Apostle Paul's words:
Colossians 3,1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
In these words the final location seems to be centrally important, but a careful reading of Colossians 3:1-3 reveals something different. Why is heaven so great? Why are we to "seek the things that are above?' Answer: because Jesus, and our lives - our very selves, is revealed in the place where Jesus lives, and of course, there will be a day when we shall see Him with our very eyes.
Stop and think about that answer for a minute. As Jesus is revealed, so our lives are revealed. This principle is true on earth for all those who are in Jesus Christ. This principle is true in the here and now. God’s truth is not meant to be shallow. It is not meant to enter only one level of your life and redeem you skin (obviously an image of the gospel barely sinking into you). So many of us have only let Jesus heal and redeem the slightest part of us. We have even prayed, “Lord, I’m hurting. Lord, I’m crying. Would you please help me?” What’s the problem? We have not learned how to listen in our deepest parts.
That dream of mine? It has something to do with my deepest part, but . . . let’s see . . . you most likely need to get back to work, and someone in my congregation needs some attention. So . . .
My Dream – Part 4 will be here tomorrow. Patience is oh so virtuous.