Wednesday, March 04, 2015

More than Meets the Eye

Humanity has always wondered what lies beyond the boundaries of our natural world. Is existence bound to what we can taste, see, smell, touch and hear? Even now, in our increasingly secular and scientifically conscious society, spirituality is exploding. Something inside us wants to break out of the natural realm, to touch and experience and know the transcedence of the spiritual. 

But what lies out there, in the spiritual realm? Jesus and the early apostles were insistent that a spiritual world does exist, and that it does in fact overlap and interact and in many ways shape our natural one. We humans, having a God-given spirit that connects us to that other world, and a body that anchors us soundly in the natural world, find ourselves torn. We are deeply spiritual, and deeply natural, and find ourselves in the midst of a supernatural conflict being played out in our material universe. Look how Paul tries to describe it to the early Ephesian believers:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭6‬:‭12‬ ESV)

We are in a struggle, one in which we often mistake humans for our enemies. But humans are never truly the enemy-they are the image-bearers of God, meant to be redeemed and freed and brought into his eternal kingdom. The evil so evident in our world today is the overflow of a spiritual conflict that we cannot see and certainly don't understand. And yet, somehow, our faith and love play a part in facilitating God's inevitable victory. 

And so we recognize that just as spiritual powers conspired against Jesus, they will conspire against us. Just as they incited ignorant and deceived people to reject him and accuse him, so shall it be for his disciples. And like him, we do not return in kind, we do not carry anger or offense or judgement, but we love in faith that God can redeem all. We pray "Father forgive them, they don't understand what they are doing," even as they mistreat us. We recognize that God's ultimate answer to the evil that has warped his creation is not the destruction of the flood, but the redemption of the cross. 

Such love is painful, and so we must remember that there is another side to the spiritual realm, one that should leave us mouth-opened in wonder and broken-hearted with longing: 

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭16-18‬ ESV)

Oh that we could live in light of such a promise! How different life might look, if in the midst of the muddle and monotony of tasks and duties we held in rememberance that our love, our faith, our little offerings of trust and affection given to God, were being stored like seeds in the spiritual realm, only to be rediscovered as full-grown orchards when we pass beyond the veil of this present life? How freely might we sow, how gracious and forgiving might we be, how courageous and risk taking might we become, if we truly believed that to be our destiny?

This is exactly how Christ invites us to live. This is the promise of the forever Kingdom.  


Blogger Kathy Whitaker said...

Love this. Thank you. May you truly know the blessings which are yours in Him.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Kathy Whitaker said...

Love this. Thank you. May you truly know the blessings which are yours in Him.

3:21 PM  

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