Jesus, the disciples and those who multiply the life of Jesus in a Kingdom way – all left their ‘home, ’ departing from what was familiar, accepted and ‘normal’ to enter a new realm of risk and high demand on their courage. The latter because in many instances they had to do it on their own with no comfort other than the mystery of the companionship of the Spirit and the fellowship of Jesus.
OLD LIFE AND NEW
The familiar life is often a shadow of the real and an intimation of what is available in greater abundance in the realm to come. Then again the present life and the life that is known and familiar can be a mirage. Either it is a partial truth or a strait-out delusion from which must escape – from which we must be liberated. Liberated before we can live our life to the full, know ourselves as we are and know God as who He is.
Some will not leave the former life because of the comfort familiarity affords. Others will not leave it because they refuse to see its conceits. There’s a comfort in deceit and vanity that dulls the senses and paralyses the will. Some draw prestige from a tower that has been built even if it is wobbly and more bent than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They attempt the ruse of living two lives at once – the old mixed with the new. But this does not work because they have not been reborn. They are enshrouded in the death clothes of the old. To enter the kingdom of infinite life we must be born again. As Jesus said about Lazarus and his kin, ‘Take of their grave clothes and let them go!’
‘To put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ Eph 4.24 NIV.
Each of us has a life to lose and a self to gain. But we can never gain this life with one foot in the old covenant or by clinging to the past. As with the old and new covenant a total split is entailed – a way that is new and living because it is not words on rocks or on paper but the Living Word and Living Way manifest as us!
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3.6 NIV. This covenant arises from the real body of Jesus who died on the cross and the real Spirit of the resurrected Son of Man manifest as you.
Richard Rohr writes, “The very first sign of a potential hero's journey is that he or she must leave home, the familiar, which is something that may not always occur to someone in the first half of life … If you have spent many years building your particular tower of success and self-importance—your personal “salvation project," as Thomas Merton called it—or have successfully constructed your own superior ethnic group, religion, or “house,” you won't want to leave it … [But here’s the good part!] Once you can get “out of the house," your “castle" and comfort zone, much of your journey has a life and death of its own. The crucial thing is to get out and about, and into the real and bigger issues.”
‘Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’ John 3.3 NIV. We are born again when the new covenant is our new and living way of being. We are not born again by deciding to live a moral life. We are born again because in Jesus we have died to Adam and Moses and are alive in Jesus.
We can be lovely people and love Jesus. But at the same time our Jesus can be a distorted jesus and our gospel a false gospel that leaves us fare less than we are. In the old covenant we can say ‘Christ is our life’ as much as we want. But He is not. Religion is our life. Having made religion from parts we are never whole and having captured ourselves in the law we are separated from spirit and life. We are not reborn. We have not metamorphosed from the letter into the word. The good news is that infinite life is ahead of us and as close as saying ‘I do’ to His invitation.
‘The ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone … transitory though it was’ 2 Cor 3.7 NIV.
‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain’ Phil 1.21 NIV.
‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ Gal 2.20 NIV.