The Bible has a very strange way of drawing people to itself.
It teases you with the promise of eternal life, before it reveals that you must die to yourself. It tempts you with the plans that God has for you, but wants you to trust your desires to His purpose.
It lures you in with the assurance of God’s favour, but refuses to spare you the bitter pill of pain. It flatters you with the promise that God loves you the way you are, but stubbornly refuses to leave you the way you are.
There is no life in the Bible without dying to yourself.
It begins with the assumption that there is a kind of living which leads to a kind of death, and a kind of dying which leads to the life that is truly life.
There is a living that banks on people and things to make us happy. It’s a pursuit of happiness that looks to work, money, sex, power and love to give it life.
It often works because those are good things that God gave us in His pleasure. We can be happy enough with them alone, without ever feeling the need for God. But the Bible hangs on the conviction that happiness isn’t enough.
We weren’t made to be happy. We were made to be whole.
To be whole is to live in the likeness of God. The world doesn’t need more people who are happy. It needs more people in the likeness of God—just, gracious, loving, truth-tellers and peacemakers.
Once we were in His likeness. Once we were made in the image of God.
We were trusted as caretakers of the world, to rule over it in His likeness, with justice, peace, love and truth. But we’ve not only forgotten who we are, we’ve forgotten how to rule, so much so that ‘rule‘ is a tarnished word.
It’s now related to unjust, self-seeking, corrupt, power-hungry people who exalt themselves by exploiting others. But it’s a word that was robbed from God and He wants it back.
For that reason, he wants to kill the self-seeking person that lives in us, so that a God-fearing child can be born, who does not need to pursue happiness because it is drawn to him with an unstoppable force.
For that reason, the Bible calls us to trade our lives for His life, to die so that we can live, to give up what we cannot keep so that we can gain what we cannot lose, to empty ourselves completely so we can be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God.
Then perhaps we might know that His dying is the cure for death and our living is a threat to life. Then perhaps we will find the life that we have lost in living. Then perhaps we will know the life that is truly life.
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Image Credit: Olivier Noirhomme