“Somewhere on the journey”
“Life is a journey, a voyage, a quest, a pilgrimage, a personal odyssey, and we’re all at some point between the beginning and the end of it,” writes Os Guinness is his book Long Journey Home. We have chosen the metaphor of a journey here at CBC to describe the acts of fellow believers concerning the course their lives take, individually and corporately, to fulfill our longing to be mature and complete in Christ during this life. As with any journey, we might encounter—“…dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from countrymen, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea…sleepless nights, hunger and thirst…in cold and exposure…(Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:26-29).”
So what is Paul trying to say, except that the journey through this life is not an easy walk in the park, soaking up sunshine and smelling the flowers? (Parenthetically, there is nothing wrong with soaking up sun rays and stopping long enough to breathe in the sweet aroma of some of God’s most fragrant creations—it’s just not an accurate reflection of the totality of one’s life). There are certain dangers, difficulties, challenges, and potential obstacles standing in the way of our final destination. Quite frankly, we really wouldn’t want it any other way—pressure and resistance produces strength not ease and comfort…just saying!
What makes for joy on this journey? What is essential for experiencing a life that is truly fulfilling in all matters? I again quote Os Guinness—the three essentials for a fulfilling life are, “a clear sense of personal identity, a strong sense of purpose and mission, and a deep sense of faith and meaning.” The first two flow out of the last. What that tells me is that I must invest a great amount of time and energy securing the deep sense of faith and meaning if I am ever going to experience the clear sense of my identity or a strong sense of purpose and mission. What remains then is the “how” of pursuing that deep sense of faith and mission.
I offer just a couple of ideas: first, be absorbed in the love of God. Experience it subjectively. Bask in the reality of God’s love for you. Believe it, receive it, live it in. God’s love for you is so vast an unending. That is why the Apostle Paul prayed concerning the Ephesian believers—that you may know how wide and long, how high and deep is the love of God. He wanted them to be bathed so completely in God’s love for them. Then and only then may we experience the love of God objectively, expressing that love to one another and the world as Jesus did us. This is how the world knows we are truly Christ’s followers, by the love we have for others.
Second, step out in faith to be a person of action. Nowhere in the Bible do I read that faith and action are separate entities in the life of a believer. In fact, it is quite the opposite. James writes: faith without works is dead. You show me your faith without any action and I will show you real faith by my action. They cannot be separated—your faith must be demonstrative. There must be an evidentiary element to faith accomplished through mission. But here’s the thing—it’s not my mission that I select for God, but it is God’s mission that he has selected for me. And as I have discovered, it is often bigger than you would have ever dreamed, harder than you could have possibly imagined, and really only the smaller portion of what God is doing in and around you. Sounds crazy. But that is what a life of faith entails.
I challenge you to take up your mat and walk in this direction. Your journey is your own, uniquely intertwined with others in the community of faith to reveal the life of God in our midst. There the sun indeed shines bright and the flowers are poetically pungent.
Enjoy the journey my fellow travelers! Pastor Dewayne