A Beautiful Life

It is said that we are always longing to give ourselves to something. And I believe that at the core of every human being are two essential needs: to delight (fully and unreservedly) and to be delighted in (fully and unreservedly). This is the essence of what it means to live – to function from the place of desire and being desired – full and free. True freedom is finding a place where we can live from out hearts.

For the human being, this activity must primarily found in a real relationship with the eternal, unchanging, all perfect and wonderful, intimate and lovesick God. It is he who fulfils our deepest desires for acceptance, for affection and love. Vice-versa, our fullest affections and desires find their perfect object in the eternal, perfect and beautiful God. Emotionally and psychologically, this pure ‘two way street’ is the perfect recipe for human flourishing and health.

We must be sure that we are not delighted in for what we can do, or how we look, or our earning potential but who we are – with unreserved acceptance and affection. Without judgement or condemnation.

And no other reality outside of God exists by which we can consistently give to and be given in fullness and in health. The affections we require cannot come from objects and also cannot ultimately come from another human being – the “river” is not nearly pure enough.

So life is simple: to love God and to be loved by him. Here we can see the value of worship. For in worship (in any form) we can love and we are loved in return. Extravagantly.

My final point about this idea is that practically and functionally, this is not in any way a lofty or an ascetic posture for someone to be in. But the beautiful thing is that in this “framework” – we find that all the lesser though important pleasures that would otherwise consume us, suddenly find their rightful places in our hearts. We can enjoy and desire people and things without obsessing over or becoming consumed by them. The caveats are: in reality it is rarely so black and white, and this is in some ways, an untested thesis for me…but it seems to make sense to my heart and mind, so there it is.

What a beautiful God, and what a beautiful life.

 

I’ve written a little piece – a rehash of the ‘old old story’ that works as continuation of the ideas in this post: The Story of the Ages

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A Heart and Mind fully alive

He that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion. (Jonathan Edwards)

Conservative or Charismatic?

In my early days as a Christian in a more conservative expression, emotions and tenderness (in worship for e.g.) to do with God was to be avoided at all costs

More recently, the expression of my faith has shifted to being somewhat more charismatic. And for a time, tenderness and emotion was the bees knees, and there was something wrong with me if I didn’t feel love towards God.

Either positions seem a little unbalanced, and lately I’m finding that in balance, or rather in having a fullness of both, a synergy exists.

Loving God requires loving self in a healthy way

And I think it has to do with a clearer understanding of self and the human heart, in which there is a freedom to not judge itself, or be caught up in itself. It’s a position that seems to be able to stand back from a heart that feels nothing during worship – where the lips and mind might just be on autopilot, and not judge my spirituality or find my identity in that state. Probably more often than not, this is my heart posture, not just in a time of worship, but throughout the day – a cold and dry heart.

And yet understanding and giving my heart the space to be as it is – dry and stony without judgment, brings an incredible peace

For the reality is, while I probably don’t feel it most of the time, the reality – that I know to be true in my mind is that: God loves me, and leads me well and is worthy of all my heart my soul and my mind in worship or otherwise.

I deviate here a bit here but – my observation is that the human heart generally has no pure love to give in and of itself (an observation that comes from looking at the only heart I can – mine). And when you experience the pure and unadulterated love of God that has no agenda (unlike a human’s) you are then able to love yourself in the right way (giving you space to simply be as you are without judgment or shame or guilt or condemnation), which then leads to loving God back and loving others in a similar purer fashion.

A Fullness of Mind and Heart for sustainable faith

And somehow, I am able to use my mind to move my heart into a tender place. Somehow we are able to reboot the operating system of the heart, and in steadfastness and perseverance, grace finds me, and a love finds my heart and suddenly the tenderness flows – not because of the constancy or the depth of my love for God, but rather as a response to who God is, and the depth and constancy of his love. If ever there was a heart-posture that is sustainable – this is it I think.

And we shall see a generation that does not have a faith based on either emotion OR intellect
A faith that is not prone to the ups and downs of emotion
Nor the limitations, shortsightedness and dryness of intellect
But, knowing the failings of both in the human arena,
A faith that is able to operate in a fullness of both
A fullness of truth and rationality and yet a fullness of passion and intimacy.
And we shall see a generation fully alive, in mind and heart, who will love their Saviour and King with all their mind, body, soul and strength.