The greatest sin one could possibly commit in todays culture is the failure of self-fulfillment. The message of today is pursue your dream, follow your heart, do what makes you happy, don’t settle for less. The individual rules. Each self must determine what is right for them. Stories abound of floundering souls “finding” themselves. In days past, I also carried this mission. It had many days of lordship and its message still echoes in the recesses of my being. It happened gradually over time, through the connecting of dots and the humbling of circumstances for me to see the abyss of the self. To journey along this highway was not just a dead end but was an endless dark spiral into small-minded madness. What torment it is to turn circles in an ever shrinking room. For in ever looking inward, the inward was collapsing upon me. And though I called out “Lord, Lord”, my lord was myself and the water bitter to taste.
Whenever suffering would knock on my door, it became ever more apparent, this smallness of self. I remembered after learning of my pregnancy with my first child I said to myself “Your life is not your own.” And even though my head knew this, the message never broke through to my whole being. My patterns of thought and action betrayed me. Bonhoeffer accused me of treating the grace of God as “cheap grace” and his words struck true. Yet I still had no renewing of my mind. I was a stubborn and stiff-necked creature, bent on my own destruction. My eyes could not see, my ears would not hear, I could not turn and be saved.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3.8) And so it was. I cannot explain it nor give you a date or a time. The Spirit came upon me like the flowing of the tide, he healed my ears, and opened my eyes, he declared to my heart “Be flesh!” and it was. What my vision became once my eyes became open was like that of Ezekiel.
“So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37.7-14)
I mirrored the god I worshiped. Therefore when I worshiped myself I remained dead, like the men without breath, cut off, though my bones walked around covered in flesh. Yet when I worship the Lord, I am remade in His image. With a fullness of breath. When I worshiped myself I saw and thought small, as I am small. What I desired was an insult to the Creator of heaven and earth. When He gave me new eyes, I saw the scope of His vision and I fell to my knees, in awe of its splendour. When I worshiped myself my ears heard “Peace, peace” when there was no peace. (Ezekiel 13.16) My new ears hear “”Come” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Revelation 22.17)
Now when I read the Psalmist say “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37.4) I know that only when Christ reigns can the desires of my heart match the purpose for which I am made, a purpose I see only vaguely but I know is beyond this age.