I laid in bed staring at the ceiling – contemplating my current life and what was to come. I was a senior in high school and the though of crossing the threshold of “real life” scared me. Soon I would have to get a job and live on my own. But beyond the fears of my future I also thought about my purpose going forward. Surely a life was created to be wasted on things that didn’t hold long term meaning. What if I lived my life to make as much money as possible? After I have died will it matter? So far, my 18 years had been spent living from one selfish desire to next and a perpetuation of this lifestyle would only leave me wanting more. That’s when a question was spoken in my head: “Who are you living life for?” The answer was obvious: myself. This question set of a chain reaction of related thoughts and questions in my head: And when I have died and my flesh is melting away with time what will I leave behind? What is my legacy? What other ways can I live my life? What would life be like if I lived for God? This proposition was scary.
Thinking back on it, I was right to be scared. C.S. Lewis expresses fear in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” when the children ask if Aslan was “safe?” The reply was:
“Safe?…Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
A life lived for God is anything but safe. Your approach towards others changes. You’re no longer trying to figure out ways of taking others; You become concerned about giving to them. But then you have to be on your guard. You will become a target – as someone that can taken advantage of. You will also be treated as an outsider. You will feel “in the world, but not of it.” You’ll see things and situations for what they really are. You’ll overhear conversations and derive deep spiritual depravity in the speakers. You’ll watch others love-seeking actions conclude in failure and feel their pain. It’s just like Neo in “The Matrix.” You start to see the zeros and ones that compose the world around you and Agent Smith (who could be anyone at any given time) recognizes you as an abnormality that needs to be expelled. So given the choice of the red pill or the blue pill which would you take? “You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
I chose the red pill because I wanted my life to count for something. I wanted to live for a purpose that mattered – one that would have a lasting effect long after I died. This is why I chose to become a Christian – a believer in the one true God. That night I prayed in my ignorance and desperation God-given wisdom – “God, I want to live my life for You. I give up control of my life to you.” The words I said don’t really convey the interaction that occurred in that moment. The best way to describe it would be an understanding between me and God. God knew I was His and He was mine. Just as a bride and groom are two separate entities that unite and become one in the knowledge that they belong to each other.
In that moment I received God’s spirit and was spiritually made alive for the first time. Alternately, to the world I was now dead. The world does not want me – just as the Matrix didn’t want Neo after he took the red pill. Similarly, the world didn’t want Jesus (even know that’s what the world needed).
Jesus was perfect solution to a complex problem. The problem was two-fold:
Problem #1) Sin. Adam and Eve sinned when they didn’t trust God and decided to disobey him by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This one sin had profound effect of the rest of humanity.
Problem #2) Absence of God’s Spirit or being Spiritually Dead. We were created with God’s Spirit inside of us. That line in Genisis where it says “He breathed His breath of life” inside Adam – that is a description of when were made truly alive with God’s Spirit. God and sin cannot coexist, so the consequence of sin is the departure of God’s Spirit. It’s also important to note that we were created to have God’s Spirit inside of us, so if we are operating without a central component to our lives, it’s easy to see why someone would feel incomplete.
So how do we go about solving such a problem? Well, we can’t. The solution had to come from God himself. And the solution had to come in a unique order to solve both problems.
Solution #1) First, God forgave all of our sins (past, present, and future) FOREVER. Let’s say God had just forgiven the sins that we had committed in the past and going forward we were going to try not to sin. Well, after our first sin we would be right back to where we started – spiritually dead because our sin would cause God’s Spirit to leave again.
Solution #2) God’s Spirit returns to us and will never leave – making us spiritually alive forever.
That’s what happened to me that night, many years ago. I ask for God to make me spiritually alive and He did. I now approach the world around me with a unique, God-given perspective. I now realize that in order for my life to have eternal meaning – relationships are the only thing that are long lasting and eternal.