Oct 26, 2011

Transcendent Life

If, by some divine decree, I were given the opportunity to give to the whole world one awareness, I think it might surprise some what that would be. The truth that I would want the world to know is this: "This life is not really about this life." The idea being, of course, that our physical life should never be thought of as an end in itself. It is not.

Certainly, the drama of this physical life is an important one. And it demands a certain level of participation from all of us. And the impact of that participation has up close and personal consequences and blessings, every day. But what we sometimes do not understand is that the greatest import of this life actually overflows the physical dimension.

In fact, this life is but an increment of a much larger, a transcendent life. This physical life serves most importantly as what might be understood as an "incubation period" for our spiritual transformation.

That is why Jesus would make this statement. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? ... 

Therefore do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

In considering the "non-normal" approach to life which Jesus advocates above, it certainly helps to understand the divine purposes for this physical life.  Those purposes actually have quite a logical order.   

First, God's ultimate purpose is to renew the broken relationship between God and Man.  Second, in order to do this, a shared values system must be established as the basis for that renewed friendship.  And third, in order to convey these renewing heart values, God has designed that we should ultimately experience a personal Spiritual merger with the Living Christ so that our renewed relationship is established in His power and sufficiency.  So, these are the foundational purposes which give real and enduring value to the activities and involvements of this physical life.

Thus, it should not be that this life becomes an end in itself. And yet, often it does. We become so enamored with climbing the corporate ladder, or achieving some personal goal, or pursuing some intense interest, etc. that those pursuits become a purpose in and of themselves. We simply disconnect them from the overarching redemptive purposes which God intended that such things would serve.

Thus, what God wants to use in the redemptive process to shape, and define, and renew us  becomes unavailable for those purposes. Instead, life's pursuits become something we chase merely for their immediate, intrinsic value.

And certainly, the pursuits of this life do have an innate attraction of their own. That is why we become so carried away with them at times. But, what they do not have, in and of themselves, is enduring value. Their usefulness is always short lived when disconnected from God's larger uses.

So, we may get to the top of that corporate or political ladder, etc. We may achieve some great personal aspiration. But usually, by the time we do, most of this brief life is behind us. And, even in the best case scenario, the glory of physical / material achievements are still very soon relinquished to death, and usually, long before that, to the ravages of age.

So, the offerings of this physical existence remain seductive; but obviously, the simple variable is how long the "fun" will last. Will it be only for the brief decades that the physical life affords us. Or, will it be for a transcendent lifetime.

That latter choice is truly empowered by the clear awareness that, indeed, this life is not really about this life. So, I would love for the world to simply understand that the life-scene which we are all presently viewing is only one brief act of a much larger Redemptive Drama.  And really, we should never subtract it from that bigger picture.