Who Am I?

An unintended consequence of getting older is attending an increasing number of funerals for acquaintances and business associates.  It reminds one of the fragility and fleeting nature of our lives.  One minute a close friend is vital and present, and the next minute he’s gone.  Unless you really concentrate, it’s hard to even remember what he looked like.  The shock and grief of unexpected death fades into a wispy memory, as though the person never existed.  This starkly realistic view of life is reflected in James 4:14, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Indifference Is Not An Option

When it comes to “the hereafter,” most ordinarily responsible people inexplicably morph into hazy-eyed players in a high-stakes game of spiritual roulette that can only be explained as “the triumph of hope over experience.”  We plan, analyze, and strive to secure “our futures,” all the way up to our last breath, and without a thought to its blinding inconsistency, leave the rest to chance; and we do so in the face of the fragility and uncertainty of life all around us.

We seem to be afflicted with a form of “spiritual schizophrenia,” focusing our days upon comparatively trivial pursuits, while indefinitely deferring those looming thoughts about death, eternity, loss of existence, and “meeting our maker.”  We agonize over a job loss or financial reversal, or spend weeks researching what kind of automobile to buy, while turning a blind eye to the inevitability that our lives will terminate without notice in a blinding flash one day soon.

Blaisé Pascal (1623-1662 in Paris, France) wrote of this human paradox with great frustration,

Nothing is so important to man as his own state, nothing is so formidable to him as eternity; and thus it is not natural that there should be men indifferent to the loss of their existence, and to the perils of everlasting suffering. They are quite different with regard to all other things. They are afraid of mere trifles; they foresee them; they feel them. And this same man who spends so many days and nights in rage and despair for the loss of office, or for some imaginary insult to his honor, is the very one who knows without anxiety and without emotion that he will lose all by death. It is a monstrous thing to see in the same heart and at the same time this sensibility to trifles and this strange insensibility to the greatest objects. It is an incomprehensible enchantment, and a supernatural slumber, which indicates as its cause an all-powerful force. [1]

Strangely, instead of honestly facing these “inconvenient truths,” we tend to retreat into creature comforts, endless entertainment or for many, drugs and alcohol which serve as temporary sedatives; but then the morning-after announces, like a jarring gong, that reality has returned.

Now and then, a few courageous souls articulate what is going on inside them.  Consider this bleak assessment of life by a famous celebrity, Woody Allen:

My relationship with death remains the same. I am very strongly against it…Everyone needs their own little fictions to cope with the harshness of life.  I do feel that it’s a grim, pitiful, nightmarish, meaningless experience. The only way that you can be happy is if you tell yourself some lies and deceive yourself, and I’m not the first person to say this or the most articulate person on it. It was said by Nietzsche, it was said by Freud, it was said by Eugene O’Neill. One must have one’s delusions to live. You look at life too honestly and clearly, life does become unbearable, because it’s a pretty grim enterprise, you must admit. [2]

In their search for meaning, some thoughtful people adopt a secular humanistic world view, relying on science, culture, and/or academia to explain “it all,” often discarding the notion of a higher creator-power in the process.  Others embrace one or another “flavor” of religion, seeking refuge among the rituals, “holy” teachings, submission to leaders, and their faith community.  Still others abandon the search for meaning and plant their feet firmly in thin air for the remainder of their lives.  The words of a popular song of yesteryear captures the gnawing emptiness of human life detached from spiritual meaning:

Is This All There Is?

“I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire. I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up in his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement. I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames. And when it was all over I said to myself, “Is that all there is to a fire”

Is that all there is, is that all there is.  If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.  Let’s break out the booze and have a ball.  If that’s all there is.

And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth. There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears. And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads. And so I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle. I had the feeling that something was missing. I don’t know what, but when it was over, I said to myself, “is that all there is to a circus?”

Is that all there is, is that all there is If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.  Let’s break out the booze and have a ball.  If that’s all there is.

Then I fell in love, head over heels in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world. We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other’s eyes. We were so very much in love. Then one day he went away and I thought I’d die, but I didn’t, and when I didn’t I said to myself, “is that all there is to love?”

Is that all there is, is that all there is.  If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.

I know what you must be saying to yourselves, if that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all? Oh, no, not me. I’m in no hurry for that final disappointment, for I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you, when that final moment comes and I’m breathing my last breath, I’ll be saying to myself…

Is that all there is, is that all there is.  If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing. Let’s break out the booze and have a ball.  If that’s all there is.”  Peggy Lee, Capital Records 1969

An Invitation Upward

Meantime, right under our noses, the most remarkable communication in human history calls out from the realm of the supernatural and beckons us upward into the very mind of God.  At first the bible appears to be a jumble of ancient writings, speaking of long-forgotten people, during times that hardly seem relevant to our lives today.  Yet strangely, perhaps miraculously, those few who take the time to study its pages, are rewarded with a glimpse “behind the scenes” into the eternal workings of an invisible kingdom.  And at its heart, this kingdom is centered not upon some “force” or omnipotent “thing,” but upon a Person.  A Person with whom we share many divinely-implanted characteristics which make it possible for us to know him, communicate with him, and to love Him.  And best of all, He has been speaking to us from the very beginning of time if we are willing to stop long enough to listen. Here is how one bible scholar put it…

“A certain copy of the Constitution of the United States was once executed in superb penmanship by the hand of an artist.  In some places the words are all cramped together, while in others they are spaced far apart.  Looking at the manuscript closely, there seems to be little reason for such a spacing of the words.  Standing back, however, and looking at the production from a distance, the artist’s purpose becomes clear.  He not only wrote out the Constitution but also portrayed the face of George Washington, his cramped and spaced-out words forming lights and shadows on the page.”

“Thus it is with the bible.  The creation of the stars is covered in Genesis 1 in five short words, “He made the stars also.”  Yet the story of the tabernacle is spread over some fifty chapters of the bible.  All we know of the life of Jesus between His birth and His baptism is covered in a single page of scripture.  Yet page after page is devoted to genealogies which perhaps appear endless and pointless to us.  We ask, “Why such an uneven choice of subject matter?”  The answer becomes clear when we take a survey look at the bible.  Woven into all the scripture is the perfect portrait of God’s beloved Son “ (Phillips, 1970).

Bottom line, the bible reveals a Person who at last makes sense of life, death, and the hereafter.  This is not a detached, sterile set of principles, or rules to live by.  This is a flesh-and-blood personal revelation of a divinely winsome Lover that grabs us by the heart and sweeps us into his arms.  Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”  He meant it.

That ancient Bible promises men eternal life, strength to face life’s challenges, peace and joy here and unimaginable bliss in the hereafter.  It boldly states that God exists, God has spoken, and the Bible is his message system.  And most importantly, God assures us that we are not powerless pawns that have been set loose like a bobbing cork on a boiling sea of meaninglessness.  Quite the contrary, we are told that we have been created for a divine purpose and are encouraged to unleash the most potent force ever invested in a created being, that of exercising our personal free will and choose for or against our Creator’s plans for us.

It Really Is Up To Us

C. S. Lewis wrote,

“the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare….there are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

We are much more in charge of our destiny than we ever imagined.  In our power to choose, and specifically, in our power to choose what to believe about ourselves, we act in a way most like God.  As He breathed His very life into that first handful of dust in Genesis, He endowed this highest and most noble of creatures with a fearful, terrible power—the ability to choose our destiny.

Every child of Adam and Eve is the product of his or her own decisions, the most momentous of which is “who will be my god?”  Do I choose to live my life conscious of His presence, or live it out as though He does not exist?  It is in that singular choice that my destiny and life purpose is cast.  Socrates instructed that “The unexamined life is not worth living for man.”  Dallas Willard, in his book “Renovation of the Heart,” challenged us with this,

“One should seriously inquire if to live in a world permeated with God and the knowledge of God is something they themselves truly desire.  If not, they can be assured that God will excuse them from his presence…they have become people so locked into their own self-worship and denial of God that they cannot want God.” (Willard, 2002)

We arrive at defining moments in our lives, preceded by piercing self-examination, and in that moment decide that we are either hapless victims of unknown forces, or children of the most high God.  Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ unapologetically called to men everywhere to, in effect, write their own life story by embarking on a road “less traveled” when he instructed, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” [3]

It has been said, “He is a fool whose plans end at the grave.”  The bible bids us higher than the temporal limits of our seventy plus years on earth.   But sadly, the means of connecting with God, the “pearl of great price,” has been hidden amid the clutter of religious paraphernalia, great stone houses, stained glass windows and ecclesiastical squabbling.  It is sad that so many honest seekers are presented with a religious blindfold, spun around on their chairs, and told to “pin the tail on the donkey” when it comes to the all important subject of salvation.

It is the objective of this website to cut through the murkiness of denominational religious distinctions and wrong-headed doctrine and get to the heart of the Christian message.  We are not inventing anything, or uncovering secret codes.  We are just setting forth the no-frills truth with denomination-neutral instructions on how you can take that narrow road for yourself and connect with God to achieve your true life purpose.

[1] Blaise Pascal, PENSEES, (Paris, France, 1660), translated by W. F. Trotter.

[2] http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/05/15/wisdom-woody-allen-talks-love-death-cannes-tall-dark-stranger/

[3] Matthew 7:13-14 (New International Version, ©2010)

3 thoughts on “Who Am I?

Leave a Reply to cheap monster beats by Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>