November 3, 2016

I exist

Have you ever stopped and considered the fact that you exist as a person, and yet have no control over this existence?  Some might argue that you do, because you can choose to end your life, but ultimately, you didn't bring about your life, and you don't know when it will end.

All of that seems high and philosophical, but it is really an every day thought.  And it reminds me of what Paul said in Acts 17

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.  For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

(Acts 17:24-28; emphasis added)

Since my existence is dependent upon God, a Being outside of myself, what does this mean for how I live?  Well, it should mean that I spend every waking hour serving Him, and advancing His mission on earth "letting His kingdom come...."  This is harder than it should be, because my selfish heart comes in and steals the joy of this service, replacing its focus on this earthly life with all of its difficulties (or perceived difficulties), pain and labor, and our gaze is shifted from our Good and Loving God, to the dirty dishes sitting in the sink from last night, or the growing pile of unfolded laundry, the unpaid bills, and unmet expectations, and the daily grind of living here.

So how do we look up from what we call life, to see all of the goodness and provision given to us by God?

The author of Hebrews puts it quite simply when he writes:

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(Hebrews 12:2)

How do we "fix our eyes..."?

Through gratitude, through prayer, through daily immersing our minds, hearts, and actions in God's word, which requires time, attention, attention of the heart.  To step away and be with God is something we must make time for, otherwise we lose our focus and believe lies, which effects our very existence.

Ann Voskamp reminds us that our existence, our longing for the 'Other' can only be completed in giving thanks to God, and in feasting upon Him:

"Eucharisteo, remembering with thanks, this is the bread.  We take the moments as bread and give thanks and the thanks itself becomes bread.  The thanks itself nourishes.  Thanks feeds our trust." 
And Jesus is that nourishment,
Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died.  But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

(John 6: 47-51)

Jesus Christ makes it plain from this text that His body, His word (since He is the WORD), is what gives life.  Why would I want to go one second without this nourishment?  How foolish and arrogant of me to think that I can exist apart from this Life source, and yet does my life match up with seeking it out?  Do I truly "hunger and thirst for righteousness" or is my hunger and thirst "satisfied" with mere earthly morsels, which are soon consumed and discarded?

Too often the later is what I settle for in my pursuit of life.  Ironic, because while I am seeking life, if I am not going to Jesus, the only True Life Source, I am settling for cheap and useless substitutes.  No wonder my heart yearns for something more, no wonder there is a deep, burning hunger inside my bones.  Because, until I am thoroughly convinced (and life accordingly) that JESUS is enough, I will keep going to broken cisterns, and man made wells which CANNOT ever satisfy my soul.

Oh Jesus, may I hunger and thirst for You alone.  You have promised to satisfy my soul need, indeed you have done so initially, help me to be faithful in feeding on You, and not looking to faulty and sinful substitutes which will never quench this craving of my heart.  Please forgive my wavering, roving heart that is on the prowl for some idol to worship, when You are the true and living God!  I look to You, and thank You for being faithful despite my wandering heart.  I love You, but perfect my love so that it is what You desire.  Make my life a worthy sacrifice, fit for Your altar.  Amen.