Anyone desiring to adopt the healthiest of attitudes towards the spirit of our age (with demonic evil forever lurking all around us) need look no further than the Apostle Paul. Having long died to self, he consistently turned to his happiness in Christ and ceased to worry about the question of eternity. In truth, he was already partaking of its glory and was only awaiting God’s finishing touches when he stood before Nero. In his walk with the Deity, Paul understood without equivocation what C.S. Lewis was later to write with such clarity in The Grand Miracle and Other Selected Essays:

C.S. Lewis 2 Aug 2016...

We are to be remade. All the rabbit in us is to disappear – the worried conscientious ethical rabbit as well as the cowardly and sensual rabbit. We shall bleed and squeal as the handfuls of fur come out; and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy … Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

Every one of us on the planet needs to understand that our very existence is by the grace of God. Lewis in effect, is summarizing what the Bible teaches about our Christian life, now and in the hereafter. Why then are we Christians such wimpy rabbits in this life. Why do we act like we’re potted plants?

Perhaps we’re not giving up enough of our own strength and self-energized human wisdom, to gain the strength and Holy Spirit-energized, godly wisdom of Christ. It’s kind of like that proverbial glass of water. If you have a glass full of dirty water, you’re going to have to pour it out to make room for pure water. We’re all simply glasses of water born in sin – dirty water. But if we refuse to pour out the dirty water, we’ll never ever get to the pure water. Hence, we remain polluted and weak and, unfortunately at times, cowardly. Like potted plants that never develop into their intended purpose.

Paul and 1-Corinthians-2-4-5... Aug 2016...

Even as Christians, we need to change our “hearing” so that we will hear more of the higher, heavenly things and less of the lower, carnal things our ears are always itching to hear 24/7. Paul talked often about those who had itching ears, that is, those who only want to hear the happy-go-lucky message that promises nothing but the good life, riches, prosperity, and comfort; the kind of people who are never going to grow into spiritual fortitude, unyielding strength and the kind of courage that can stand in the face of anything, anytime, anywhere.

The stark contrast between materialism and spirituality provides a profound dilemma at its core. The materialist strives for Utopia here on earth while the Spiritualist understands that the only chance of living in Utopia is that if there is a God and they earn the opportunity in this life to join Him in eternity.

This line of thought was present with the Ancient Greeks, not that they believed in Salvation, but that they strove to be renowned as heroes or historians so that they enjoyed some semblance of eternity and were remembered well. Socrates is one of the most famous of Greek philosophers as he strove to force men to think about truth, knowledge and virtue. His greatness stemmed from his understanding that “he knew he knew not.”

I do believe the fault lies within our own hearts rather than it being a failing of God, who is after all, forever willing. We may not be of a mind at times to bend to what is needed to nourish us and make us strong oak trees instead of wimpy, little potted plants. But if we are “willing to be made willing” to receive and live by those spiritual disciplines and laws of Christ’s life and teachings (as hard, painful, and difficult as some of them can be at times) then I believe the real transformation can be successfully implemented in all of what God has designed us to be before Him.

If my people who are called...

Experiencing the sense of both very materialistic and very spiritual people among family members, the onset of death provides an interesting forum in observing life. To the materialists, the emphasis seems to be on who has the nicest BMW in the Procession, how fancy the lunch venue and whose house is a showplace when invited back for a drink. To the spiritualist, it is the packed Church Service, the overflowing Funeral Parlor and the truly loving words of your loved one whose hearts they had touched during their stay on this earth.

To get a sense of what I’m attempting to express in my introduction, just spend a few minutes with Glenn Fairman and his exquisite piece on life, death, service, and eternity. You will not be disappointed.

A female on my running team spent the last few months caring for a father who had been a peripheral character throughout her entire life. By every measure of earthly justice, she should have turned her back on him — as her sisters eventually did. Nevertheless, every day before work she would arrive at the nursing home and prepare his oatmeal (because the staff did not do it right), and every evening she would sit with him so that he would not die alone. During his final days, I sincerely do not know whether the old man had that epiphany that Hollywood loves to sugarcoat death with — that “Come to Jesus” moment where a selfish and bastardly life is transformed with a quivering lip and a palsied grasp of the hand. For many who pass out of being, the strings do not crescendo as the camera pans away and the screen fades to black.

“Exits and Advents” continues to completion in Stubborn Things…

See also C.S. Lewis and The Grand Miracle and Other Selected Essays

Soli Deo Gloria!