“All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; all that which destroys it is the evil… If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man… Since life requires a specific course of action, any other course will destroy it… Happiness is the successful state of life, pain is an agent of death. But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims… Man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but he will perish unless he lives as his nature requires…” – John Galt
While not a biblical quote, it seems a bit Bible! God has given us a way to live, a way that Wisdom (the Father, the Son and the Spirit) inspired and placed in our hands to learn about Him and guide us to Life. That quotation is from the novel Atlas Shrugged. While it is not a biblical account of life, some of that book’s interpretations are associated with the nature of the men and women of God’s creation. The quote is a portion of a speech by the novel’s hero, John Galt. (Other biblical phrases seem to fall in place with it: There is a way that seems right to man but the end thereof is death. They loved the Darkness more than Light.) I think the totality of the quotation is: There’s one way that leads us to Life and anything opposite, anything opposed to it, leads to death. Since Adam, the world has chosen the things that work against us, things that bring death and not life, to glorify and hold up as causes and heroes.
Galt speaks of a ‘living death’ that lives within and around us. It’s an existence only; a life without Life, and that’s not what our creation was purposed to be. The Father’s Life is not a survival mode existence but an elevated Life, breathed into our hearts in order to experience Him, to know Him. And, while our leaders pose as scientists and wise men trying to convince us of the opposite, trying to convince us we can live apart from God and deny His existence and still live a perfectly wonderful life, it’s a charade and a mockery of God. It sets us, and especially our children, up for big time failures. We are ‘free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless (we) live as (our) nature requires.’ Our nature requires a relationship with the giver of Life!
Now, you would have thought that Jesus might have come in such a way, talked in such a way, that he would not have been misunderstood. He might have done things, said things that would have removed any doubt about being King of Kings, right? But if you examine the ‘nature’ of the Messiah’s ways they’re a bit upside down. As such, after many of his miracles he either instructed people to go and tell no one, or he himself went away and isolated himself in prayer, away even from his closest followers. Jesus came to his own, and his own did not receive him. He was despised, he was the stone the builders rejected, he was accused of being an illegitimate child, accused of being demon possessed, and by Mark Chapter 3, his own family thinks he’s crazy. Not such a good Messiah strategy it would seem. I know what we would have done had we come to save the world. We would have tried to figure out how to get on Fox, see if Leno was available, checked out Good Morning America. We would have tried to prove that we were the Way, the Truth and the Life. But, that’s not how Jesus approached his incarnation. The Psalm says he would not raise his voice in the streets. (Isa. 42:2) He knew that the lasting part of the Gospel is only going to ‘stick’ if it’s a relationship by the Holy Spirit and not on power or personality. The disciples witnessed so much, saw so much and still did not get it. At the Last Supper he instructed them all to meet Him in Jerusalem after the crucifixion, not one did that. Have you ever noticed at the feeding of the fishes and loaves how Jesus seemed to be reluctant to do that miracle? The disciples practically had to pull it out of him. His first response was to suggest they take all their monies and go buy food, finally giving in and simply telling them to pass around that picnic lunch to 5000. By the time the basket reached the back row, Jesus was going away to pray. Oh, I know what we would have had him do, stand up, take a nice applause, spot light what just happened and encourage people to go and tell everyone what they had seen. Not this Messiah, not this heart of Love. The Wisdom present in Jesus knew that people could not be talked into, or miracled into, believing who he was. The only holding power would be the power created through their self discovery of who he was, not his persuading them to do so. He was not selling the Gospel, he was the Gospel.
Paul calls the Gospel a mystery. It wasn’t a mystery because Jesus didn’t reveal it, but because the people could not receive a Messiah, a King, that didn’t set up a palace and do magic shows. Instead they got a Messiah that was talking of suffering and dying. Remember the great Temptation. You know Jesus could have done each and every thing Satan requested and proven to be Messiah. But, the Wisdom of God knew full well that was not his purpose in coming. His Kingdom was not an earthly one full of political power, but a spiritual one to dominate the earthly. His Kingdom was a different one than what Messiah worshipers were looking for. He resisted those that were always looking for physical signs and embraced that which was unseen. (By the way, did you notice he did every one of the things suggested at the Temptation later in his ministry? He miraculously fed 5000, he placed himself on a cross and ‘fell’ to his death to be caught up and preserved by the Spirit, and having been raised from the dead finally placed at the right hand of God at the throne of God.)
Being the kind of creatures we are, we still want to see Him today, want to have Him appear and confirm our hopes. That would suspend Faith/Trust– good for us, but not so much for the plan of God. In His economy, we’re to see Him as present already, see Him with us, in us, and know the companionship of His Spirit. We’re to know a Kingdom that’s already come, a sphere of His reign already accessible to believers.
The way His plan went down was puzzling to me until something dropped down into my heart a while back: what He wants more than anything is ‘to be a Father to us’. Yes, He’s a King, a Lord, a Savior; but even more, He wants to be our Father! You know what fathers do. They teach us. My dad taught me to mow the lawn, hold a hammer, how to garden, how to drive, how to be (a pretty good I might add) squirrel hunter, taught me to be honest, to be fair, and in his way, to be courageous. My dad did those things by being with me day by day. He taught me what would work for me and what would not work in my life. That’s what dads do, and God loves being a Dad to us. He loves being a Companion, a Comforter, a Prince of our Peace and Joy. He wants a personal relationship with you and me even more than He wants the relationship with a crowd of 5000. The followers wanted to install him as ruler, King of the Jews. Jesus was uncomfortable with that, did not want to be a rock star. He was more interested in Nicodemus at midnight or Phillip in a tree than he was in accumulating fans in a popularity contest.
It’s a mystery only because we have to be looking for, searching for Him. But, He wants to be found. His Wisdom says he who hungers and thirsts will be satisfied. He’s able to meet with us each day. Lead us, guide us, and secure us by the Spirit of God. Our searching keeps us with Him, discovering Him and centered on Him. He’s new every morning. There’s always something fresh He wants to share with us. He constantly transforms, converts, and reveals– that means we will never get done learning of Him. Being with Him now means our Eternal Life has already begun, for He is with us!