I feel the tension. The rationalization of Christianity presses in on me from all sides. Work ethic, frugality, modesty, morality, rigidness, conservatism, theology, old fashioned puritanism, all conspiring with one another to hold back my faith instead of letting it go. My spiritual life longs for the heart but remains a captive of the mind. Better to keep me living practical and level headed than allowing me to fall into the unpredictable, irrational, ridiculous, unrealistic, unreasonable, unsound mysteries of the unknown mystery of God.
Today’s Christianity offers God with definable edges, the bible a text-book on spiritual physics. One-size fits all formulas for living. Spitting out answers to questions we aren’t even asking. Live within the boundaries of the definable God, we are told, and all of life will go well. Safety instead of vulnerability, certainty over risk, the known rather than the unknown, logic dictates that your spiritual life act reasonable and balanced.
You may talk about living with an outsized faith, as long as you remain disciplined enough in life to never need to. Faith exists way beyond the spiritual boundaries you’ve been given to live between. It contradicts the current Christian mindset of believing only when the facts say you can. From inside the Christian beltway, faith is seen as a last resort for people failing to live obediently.
A few years ago, my wife, Tina, and I went snorkeling off the coast of the Bahamas. Our guide took as to what’s called the tongue of the ocean. Here, the ocean’s floor dramatically drops off, 6,000 feet. On one side, the ocean water takes on the turquoise color you’re accustomed to seeing just off the sandy beach. But on the drop off side, the color comes across as midnight black.
Safe and shallow or fully exposed in the infinite; which waters do you live in? Which do you want to live in?
Today’s Christianity cautions you to swim only in the shallow waters, where God’s light readily shines. Live in what you can study and know. Try to increase your spiritual IQ. Do anything to keep Christianity locked up between your ears, intellectualizing the relationship with God. What you understand, you can control. And that’s what modern Christianity offers many times, a way to control the events of life through a better understanding of God and the behaviors He wants to see in your life. Anyway, a life diving into the deep, darkness of unknown waters lives too recklessly and out of control. Better to live without the possibility of ever needing grace.
But somewhere in your unbounded place, where spirit and soul divide, you want recklessness. You want out of control. You want grace. You want to dive deeply into the unknowable essence of God, an adventure into the mystery of the mysterious.
But if you want the adventure that comes with knowing more of Him, you’ll have to leave behind the shallow waters already penetrated by His light and swim off into the darkness.
Without any light, not knowing what waits, or where it all ends.
God never shines His light into the mysterious.
If you want to see into God badly enough, then you’ll have to come looking for Him in faith.
Faith won’t work in the light. It only sees in the darkness. Yet, much of what you’ve learned about relating with God keeps you well within the light of the definable boundaries of a safe Christianity. You don’t need faith to live.
- Read your bible
- Avoid R rated movies
- Call Halloween a Fall Festival
- Never use the word holiday instead of Christmas
- Vote conservatively
- Homeschool your kids if you can
Yet, play it safe in what passes for Christianity, live within the pre-set boundaries, and you’ll miss the adventure.
God created your soul for heaven. An eternity with Him cannot be confined. Why, then, would God want you living spiritually confined on this Earth? Why not leave behind the definable way of relating with Him for the undefined?
Faith looks in places that the legalists dare not look. It refuses to settle for a connect-the-dot Christianity. Faith wants to color outside the lines, explore and experience the contrasts in which God reveals Himself. Faith wants the unrestrained freedom to go find God.
Somewhere beneath the layers of an intellectualized Christianity, a life of adventure awaits you. I dare not even attempt at guessing what you might experience along the journey. But I do know where you’re going. You’re heading toward the same place I am, as well as the place all those who have answered the spiritual call to an adventure of faith have gone to before us: Deeper into the mysterious of the mystery called God.
This type of life requires an entirely different way of relating with God than what you’ve previously experienced. Education and learning may have brought you a lot of knowledge about God, but only to the extent your spiritual intellect allowed.
But to know Him, instead of just knowing about Him, God chooses to bypass your spiritual intellect altogether. Your abilities and spiritually high IQ are of no value. To know God intimately simply requires that He make Himself known. And He makes Himself know by way of revelation and discovery.
Intimacy with God was never your responsibility. You cannot have intimacy through the ability to understand and live within a safe set of boundaries. Intimacy with God falls at the mercy of His revelation. Yet the more He reveals of the mystery, the more of the mystery you want revealed. With His revelation comes the desire for more.
Isn’t this the Christian life you’ve always wanted, a life that desires God? Haven’t you grown tired of being boxed in by all the spiritual constraints? Don’t you want to trade in your spiritual life of boredom for something more adventurous?
Quit hugging the line, then, and fall off into the deep. Just quiet down your intellect, open your mouth, and speak from the depth of your soul. Your soul knows what to say. Let your deep call out to God’s deep.
Away you go…