Quick, Cheap grabs at Life

20 01 2009

thimble3Human being are terribly thirsty creatures.  And not just physically thirsty but also spiritually thirsty.  We thirst for life, and we leak the life we find.  Life drains out of us and we need to be filled back up.  So how can we satiate ourselves?  How can we stop ourselves from the desperation that results from hitting empty?

We discover thimbles of water.  We live a thimble life.  We are like a man in the desert running through the relentless dry and blazing heat finding these thimbles of water.  Just enough water to wet the surface of our mouth but not nearly enough to quench our thirst.  So we keep running.  We keep reaching out for life in places that cannot satisfy.

What are your thimbles of life?  Can you name them?  Will you name them?  I have many, even hundreds and I work to discover more.  It would appear at times that my life’s goal is line up so many thimbles that maybe, someday, I’ll stop experiencing thirst all together.

And I hear the words of the prophet – “Be appalled at this, O heavens”

I’ve offended the Lord.

“shudder with great horror”water

He looks at my life in disbelief.

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water”

I’m lining up these thimbles in plain site of a living spring

“and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water”

Why would we do such a thing?  Why wouldn’t we go first and only to the living spring?

We live in a thimble culture, where the quick, cheap grab at life is natural and native to us all.  It will take a 180 degree change (repentence) and a process of retraining (discipleship) to learn a new way of life.


Making God my ONLY Source of Life

2 11 2008

Lately I’ve been working on listing all of my sources of life and they are many.  These are the things that make me feel OK about my life or give me comfort or excitement.  They fall into two main categories.

Things that comfort me when I’m drained like:  a good movie, a video game, a snack, a drink, a good work of fiction, a youtube video, an encouraging email (these recharge my battery).

Things that give me a charge of excitement or hope like:  a potential client, a growing disciple, an insightful book, a new purchase etc (these give me a charge forward).

I’ve been cataloging these things because they are the very things that compete with God as a source of life for me.  The whole process of learning to walk with God, worship him and keep in step with the Spirit is learning to steadily and systematically ween oneself off of these broken life support systems and onto God alone.  He should be our ONLY source of life (“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory”. Col. 3:4)

12 Be appalled at this, O heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the LORD.

13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jer. 2)

I see this as one of main purposes of fasting.  Food is the most common source of life across all cultures and all times but we should fast for a period from whatever is giving us life except for God and learn to go to God instead of those other things.  This is the way of developing a holy obsession with God alone.  Once a man can draw life from God alone he has learned the way of Enoch and has discovered a life hidden in God which nothing can match (“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”)

We are thirsty people and we continually need a drink.  Where do you go to find the water of life?

37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7)

Toward one Holy Obsession

29 08 2008

I’ve discovered that one reason I’ve struggled in my walk with God was the habit I’ve had of putting it in the wrong category.  I’ve learned that just as the “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” but not the end (the end is love and fear is merely a part of the foundation) so the discipline of spending time with God is the beginning of a walk with him but not the end.  The end is not discipline but the development of a holy obsession – worship.  Discipline is merely the foundation.  Let me make this practical.

Someone in your community became a Christian and confessed Lordship last night.  So tonight you’re training him on how to walk with God.  The first thing you teach him is that he must order his entire life around the discipline of spending time with the Father.  He cannot treat this as a side thing but he must truly believe that it is the most important part of his day.  Once he has re-architected his daily rhythm to reflect this top priority and is consistently spending time with the Father as a discipline you immediately build on that foundation and move from discipline to connection.

Spending time with the Father should never be a checklist of disciplined activities.  It has to quickly become a relational connection.  Interaction between a father and son.  So you ask questions like – do you feel deeply connected to your Father through the time you spent with him today?  Did the two of you interact?  Is a close bond developing through your time with Him?  Is He teaching you?  Is He comforting you?  Is He extorting you?  What activities would you do if you were merely trying to connect and interact?  Is that what you’re doing with your time with the Father?  I’ve found that the category of discipline for my time with the Father is a good foundation but its a horrible place to stop.  It’s like the discipline of dating your spouse.  Yah, its good to have that disciplined one night per week set aside to spend time with her but if it feels like a discipline when you actually go out on that date and you are both satisfied with zero connection, zero bonding, zero interaction because you can check off that you fulfilled your discipline, what kind of relationship is that?  But that’s the way I treated my time with God for YEARS and no one was able to explain to me that it shouldn’t remain a discipline but it must move to connection and interaction, that it must become a Father/son relationship.  But once you are deeply and regularly connecting with God you build on this second foundation a third thing.

Our daily connection with the Father must become our chief obsession.  The essence of the 1st commandment (you shall have no other gods before me) is that God himself is the one holy obsession of our lives.  We were made to worship and be obsessed and every human being will either worship an idol, medicate their lack of worship through addictions, or worship God.  Worship is the reflection that we’re imbalanced and obsessed.  And we were made to worship.  But how many Christians have made other things their ultimate things – work, hobbies, even ministry, and then show up once a week to “worship God” as a discipline.  How strange is that?  We can’t be satisfied with that.  When we gather to worship it must be as a group of people who have been God-entranced all week, through our discipline that led to a deep connection, that leads to continual worship and adoration.  That is how you walk with God.

So as we train others (and ourselves) we need to help people understand how these categories work.  We move from:

  • Apathy to Discipline
  • Discipline to Connection
  • Connection to Obsession

And as our obsession grows and takes over more and more of our thoughts, feelings, time and focus our walk with God deepens until the most natural thing in the world is for us to go home and be with our Father saying with Paul, “for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”