by Alexei Laushkin
Today, if you hear my voice do not harden your hearts, as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert (Hebrews 3:7-8)
You meet many a Christian today who aspire to fullness of life in God, but they know something is a miss. Many earnest Christians hoping to see a change that never comes.
If only I could do x better he or she says then I could be a better Christian.
I was talking to somebody yesterday and they told me, “If only I was better organized, I could get so much more accomplished.” Now this person wasn’t a slacker. They worked hard to do as much as they could do within their limits, but yet the persistent idea was if only I did more, everything would be ok.
We all have a similar approach to God. If only I prayed more, if only I had more time for the poor, if only I studied scripture diligently, if only I had the right sort of relationships, then I too would be a more fully alive Christian. This tendency is made worse by too many of our leaders. Leaders who strive and strive and strive for the heights of success, yet whose earthly relationships show very little of the love and depth and breath of the kingdom of God. We may not think that we are prone to this sort of thinking, but we inevitably let this sort of thinking creep in, in other ways. If only I had more time for fellowship, if only I was more diligent in attending bible study then my life would be richer.
Many contemporary American Christians are relationally poor. I know many Christians who are very involved in church who do not yet feel that full sense of community, honesty, and presence of others in their lives. They hunger for it, and yet are content (myself included) with the extra bits of people’s time. It’s like watching people being constantly satisfied with a meal of appetizers. It’s fine for what it is, but when will the main course arrive?
You do not have because you do not ask God. (James 4:2)
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:3)
Our hearts are wayward and our lives are not filled and yet we do not ask for things to change as we ought. Do we desire the things of the Kingdom of God? Do we know the timing? Can he equip us with wisdom and strategies and doors that open?
If we believe that the kingdom is more than just talk but about action and lived reality then we can ask. We can ask for the right ordered desires for real community. We can expect a more vibrant relationship with God. We can seek for the things of heaven on earth. And we can learn the many facets of the kingdom.
The Way is not easy. The transformation that is needed from the old man to the new man is drastic. The change will take time as God meets our every desire and need.
The Orthodox have a very insightful saying. Inside each man or woman is a universe of understanding. Who knows us, but God himself? When we look at our inward hearts and desires, there is almost too much to bear, yet Jesus. Jesus came to save us, and he came to transform our present realities into the kingdom ones. Let us set our sights on Him.
May he give us the double portion, the full meal, when it comes to the kingdom. Let us be bold in asking.