I don’t watch much TV, but I do occasionally watch Man vs. Wild and Survivorman. I’m simultaneously fascinated by their ingenuity, but haunted by my own inner question: Could I survive in the wild? I know I’d rather eat tree bark than a bug. But I can’t decide, if I had to choose only one, whether I’d rather have a knife, a pack of matches, a rope, or a container of water to survive.
When it comes to religion or Supreme Truth, it’s a jungle out there. In Christianity alone, there are so many theological debates that we’re often lost trying to navigate through many sets of God’s truths. We’re adrift on a sea of doctrines that seemingly don’t relate much to the life we’re living now on this earth.
So if I had to gel all of God’s truths and come away with only one, it would be the certainty that the power to change and improve our lives is available to us in partnership with God. You and I can become the optimized versions of ourselves that God designed.
The key word is partnership. Call it friendship, fellowship, union, or yoking with Jesus, the life of blessed well-being that God offers is accessible. That’s what entering the kingdom of heaven at hand, or “new life from above”, is about. Whether we live on Wall St. or Main St., on Easy St. or Skid Row, it’s about living a kingdom life that counts for something good in the here and now, and to carry that with us into the hereafter. Christian faith is the difference between full-on thriving and merely surviving.
Perhaps you’ve heard that you’re a no-good sinner and will always be a no-good sinner. While the first part may be true, the second part is only rumor. The great thing about God’s vision for the world is that it offers three keys: hope, faith, and knowledge. Hope means possibility; faith means certainty. Once those two are “seen”, or realized, they become knowledge; and biblically, knowledge means experience.
For example, to “know” God means to experience God. Mary, when told she would bear the Christ-child, asked how it was possible since she had never “known” a man.
The great faith passage in Heb. 11 is about acting from possibility, behaving as if something were certain and true, and experiencing the anticipated outcome. With Christ’s guiding assistance, it’s possible for no-good sinners to become righteous and good, whole and complete, fulfilled and perfect (in Greek, teleois). Not flawless, simply free of the sinful nature’s domination. “Be therefore perfect [complete], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mat. 5:48)
The idea is to continually turn hopes into certainties into experienced outcomes, then discover new possibilities to start the cycle again in a living adventure with God. This is “walking” with Jesus, “growing in the Lord”, and the secret truth he shared with the world—secret in the sense of great intimacy.
“Then your Father, who sees what’s done in secret, will reward you” (Mat. 6:4, 6, 18) today, tomorrow, and all your immortal life with Him.