“True religion is removed from diets and days, from garments and ceremonies, and placed where it belongs–in the union of the spirit of man with the Spirit of God.” AW Tozer, Man: The Dwellling Place of God
This is for the tired and hungry, the dry and thirsty. It’s for the desert dwellers, the valley walkers, and the lonely lepers. It’s for the panting stream seekers. This is for the mountain climbers, the shadow chasers, and the Light embracers. It’s for the wounded and amputated, the displaced and broken. This is for the empty and aching.
It’s for you and me.
There’s no easy way to go deeper into the spiritual life. Instead, there is a letting go, a surrender in the heart, a former stranglehold that gives way to release.
In our young lives, we were encouraged to color within the lines. To train every mark inside the margins.
We can become too comfortable with life, like leaves on a green and supple tree. We turn our stems under the bright spring sun and then bask in summer rays. We think this is what the life amounts too, not much else.
But if we’re pursuing more of God, then our spiritual life enters the seasons. When our first spiritual Fall arrives, like leaves on a tree, we feel our sides curl up. Our once lush photosynthetic surfaces of feeling Godly, browns. We’re fearful that we’ll detach at the slightest breeze. So we grip our frail twig to the sleeping branch, while down below, others have fallen, gathered in a communal of dying to their flesh. But we hold to the last. Little do we know of seasons or death to ourselves in a world of self-built and go-getter’s.
We only knew of life, our promised one way ticket out of Hell. We’d been taught to come forward and receive the everlasting, forever and amen. And Heaven is somewhere at the end. Then we were taught to just do what Jesus would do. So we went and lived the try hard lives. Scripture was closed off to us like an unknown language. Very few verses made sense. Our yoke was heavy and weighed us down ‘til our weakened joints buckled.
There is a hunger for the unknown, the impossible, and the unseen. But we’ve been buried under the world, entombing us in the cares of it.
But if we release and join the decaying pile of gathered leaves, we discover what happens once we go down to death. Darkness greets us for a time. All sense of direction and self are lost. And we faintly smell our own stench rising from the tomb of our old life. We wait, not always patiently either. But we wait. In Christ, we rest assured that new life comes after the seed dies. So our old seed burrows in the fertile soil of God. Once there, we trust the process that our life will sprout with new energy and the vigor of a young shoot.
However, most of us do not release and give way to this life, lightly. Instead, we death-grip every shred of pride and do-it-ourself-itis. If we lived hard for the world, we fall even harder when the time comes. But once we open our hand, once we finally fall, we go out like the song, “I surrender all.” Only this time, we really do.
This is not for the faint of heart. Although we once imagined this spiritual life with many words, “surrender” was not the top of them. And since we’re here, give us the God-honest truth, because there is the real and there is the counterfeit. There is light and there is darkness. There is truth and there is deception.
But then there is the wind.
“The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”Jesus to Nicodemus, John 3:8 HCSB
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