We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

home

Coming Home

The only way we can experience the life God has for us is to give up trying to acquire it on our own. We must surrender ourselves completely to God. This is not merely a matter of believing that our attempts to acquire worth and significance (some of the ways that we do this were discussed in yesterday’s post) are idolatrous and unsatisfying. We can easily believe this and yet fail to relinquish our idols and surrender to God. We enter into the life of God only when our false gods have in fact been relinquished and only when God is in fact reigning over our life.

To the extent that our identity is rooted in what the New Testament calls the “flesh”—giving up our false gods will feel like a kind of death. In fact, it is a kind of death, for the “old self” that relies on idols to feel worthwhile and significant is being killed. This is why Jesus said that we must lose our life to find it (Matt 16:25).

Still, as scary and as difficult as dying to this false way of living may initially be, nothing could be more liberating. Living with perpetual hunger, spending most of our mental life in the past and future, chasing after pathetic false gods, is complete bondage. When we cling to things that we know we will eventually lose, we inevitably find ourselves in a state of worry, anger, jealousy, envy, frustration, strife, violence, and despair—things Paul referred to as the “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19). To die to the flesh is the greatest liberation possible.

As we are freed from the grand illusion that we can meet our own needs, our built-in homing device begins to work correctly. We’re on our way home. And we don’t have to strive to find it. On the contrary, the instant we relinquish the world of idols and turn to God, he is there. In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). There is nowhere we can run and hide from his presence (Ps 139:8).

The moment we surrender, we are home. In fact, the moment we stop chasing and clinging we discover that we never really left home. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we wake up from a dream and discover that all we’ve been looking for surrounds us at every moment. When we stop looking at the world as though God is not with us and we have to make it on our own, we find we are surrounded each and every moment with a love that infuses our life with a value that couldn’t possibly be improved on.

Coming home is simply waking up from the illusion that you aren’t already there.

—Adapted from Present Perfect, pages 52-54

Photo credit: Eugene Quek via Unsplash

Related Reading

True Life Now

Whether we want to admit it or not, experience teaches us that life is a perpetual, relentless process of decay, one that we know inevitably leads toward death. And this fills many of us with a certain amount of angst. Some try to relieve their dread by immersing themselves in mind-numbing entertainment or chemical substances.…

The “Kingdom Now”: Reflections on Magical American Christianity

One major problem American Christians face is that we tend to embrace a magical view of the Christian faith. We assume that if a person “prays the sinners prayer,” “surrenders their life to Christ,” and “accepts Jesus as Lord of their life,” this somehow magically “saves” them and will sooner or later magically transform them…

A Restless Heart

What is the “good news” of the Gospel? How can we find rest in Jesus? Here’s another video from The Work of the People that examines these questions.

God’s Goal for the World

 Helga Weber via Compfight In a world that is all about doom and gloom… In a time when we never seem to have enough… In the midst of messages that tell us that we don’t measure up… In an age when we are more interested in whether or not we can own automatic weapons than…

The Cosmic Scope of Spiritual Warfare

Yesterday’s post briefly introduced the reality that we live in the midst of spiritual warfare. This is the reality of being a part of creation where Satan prowls like a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8-9). The Scriptures make it clear that all of creation is in need of redemption. While most Christians assume that the…

Memorial Day

For Memorial Day, we thought we would repost Greg’s thoughts from 2007. In this post, Greg expresses his conflicted feelings over this holiday and gives a brief defense of Christian pacifism.  *** Hope you all had a happy Memorial Day. (Isn’t that something of a misnomer — a happy time remembering people killed in war?) Memorial Day…