Without a doubt the person who has entered into the Christian life has embarked on the greatest adventure a mortal can ever experience. This should not surprise us since his perception of reality exceeds by far the one experienced by the unregenerated, for while the latter is predominantly moved by that which relates to materiality, the former is also affected by the spiritual.
I think all of us have ascertained how much adventure the physical actuality can generate. But what about the vivid factuality of the non-atomic world? How many mind-blowing experiences are therein hidden, discoverable only by those who penetrate beyond the veil of the ephemeral?
Referring to this category of experiences the apostle Paul writes: “I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
These are the words of a man who had crossed the boundaries brought about by sin. He saw and heard, and what he perceived left him awestruck.
Beyond the Boundaries
Obviously this sort of experience is not adventure for adventure’s sake; yet it’s an astounding progression leading to glory. And what more could we say of that which yields the substance of adoration, the reverence of the divine, and the captivation of the whole man. For if our bodily senses can occasionally submerge us in spellbinding substancialities, what about the eternal reality able to touch not only the body but also the soul and spirit, and this, at the point of utter fascination.
Several decades ago A.W. Tozer wrote a booklet entitled Worship: The Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church. He therein explains the nature of worship and contends that this exuberant experience has nearly vanished from our evangelical milieus. One can agree or differ with Tozer’s assessment, but one thing seems beyond dispute: when we are left with that which is intrinsically spiritual little fascination is being observed in the majority of our churches. This might explain why so much effort is being invested on the categories of actuality touching the bodily senses. The fashion has reached an unprecedented glamour, and this to such an exaggerated extend, that the unconverted is being moved to rejoicing and appreciation while remaining in his rebellion and sins.
The Moving Life
I am not insinuating that our meetings should be hostile to bodily pleasures such as enjoyable music, or to possible natural fulfillment such as intellectual beauty can offer. But to adorn the spiritual at the point of eclipsing its very nature might prove to be counterproductive. What I am saying is that there exists a Life that can move us to jubilation even in a cold dungeon as Paul and Silas experienced; a Life contrasting with the natural predisposition of the Adamic state. To such a Life the prayer closet becomes a place of adventure and delight. The one to whom it pertains dwells in a state of constant expectation. Even in sleep his heart is awake (Song of Songs 5:2), awaiting with watchfulness the manifestation of what appears imperceptible to the person dwelling on the dusty side of the veil.
Another alarming trend, which should motivate us to reconsider our present spiritual state, is our tendency to select and emphasize that sector of spirituality which can be displayed in a sensational fashion. Whether these manifestations are genuine or not is not the object of my present concern. The object can be expressed rather through such questions as: Why do we stress this specific feature of the Christian life so much? Why is it that Christians, unmoved by the needs of a dying world and little impressed by the heavenly glory, become so enthusiastic at the sight of this externalized spirituality?
Maybe it is time to ask ourselves: What do we gain by accommodating and entertaining cold Christians—and at times sinners as well—as if the goal would be to make them feel good in their lethargic state?
By What Are We Moved?
I published a post a few months ago entitled “By What Are You Moved?” (If you haven’t read it, I invite you to do so.) It points out to the importance of the object(s) moving us. Could it be that there exists a so-called ‘spiritual moving’ having little to do with genuine spirituality? If the people would have been present when Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus, many a witness would have been moved and overwhelmed by the miracle being observed. But as we all know these emotions—triggered by the works of a spiritual Man—would not have proven that the person so moved was experiencing spirituality. Perhaps this is the reason why Jesus left them all out except for Peter, James, and John, and the father and mother of the girl. He surely knew that to entertain people on this side of the veil would have been little productive.
One of the most genuine characteristics marking the life of the adventurer is his willingness to depart from the beaten path.
The smell of challenges and the silhouette of the impossible summon his spirit and inspire his heart. As an eagle, his eyes are set on the objective and little distraction can possibly reach him. It is all or nothing, to win or die, to excel or perish. For him there is no middle zone. “Though none go with me, still I will follow; no turning back, no turning back.” This is not only his song but also his marching beat. So he reaches the object others look upon from across the abyss, and tastes the fare of virgin lands.
The person who adheres to Christianity to find mere adventure and suspense will surely find boredom and disappointment, but the one who bows with sincerity, surrendering to the Ancient of Days in total reverence will surely experience the most thrilling adventure a mortal can ever dream of. Only within the borders of this new Life begins the Christian adventure, and only Jesus can lead us there.