George was not poor. He was a middle class person with a good job. He was not rich. But he had more than enough. He had sufficient but not in a meagre way. With care and modest planning George was capable of enjoying life and making the best of his opportunities to achieve a modicum of joy. But he didn’t. Deep down fear made George define himself as poor when he was not.
George had chosen to define himself as a miser living from an attitude of scarcity. His heart spoke austerity while his body lived in plenty. He lived from a poverty outlook when he was not actually poor. Why live from a mindset of winter’s cold and wear a mental overcoat in the middle of summer when we can go to Bondi or Manly and get fish and chips after surfing?
Winter has gone and summer is here! As C.S. Lewis wrote in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
The end of winter began with the appearance of the Son of God among us as Jesus of Nazareth. Eternal hope and new life was certified when Jesus came from the grave as the firstborn from the dead. The Spring of the new creation came to all when Jesus came into us at Pentecost in the power of Holy Spirit. Winter has ended, spring has come and summer is here.
When we live in the old covenant under the law and from the law, yet espouse the name of Jesus we are living a half-life instead of the fullness of Christ’s eternal summer. Jesus has never been the means of modifying the old covenant and patching it up with ‘god-stuff.’ Jesus the risen Christ is not a means of aiding us to survive winter with warmer clothes, hot soups and supplies of firewood. He is the end of winter and eternal summer Himself.
We are halfway through August in Melbourne. Yesterday we had the first puff of spring. Summer in Australia is a time of increasing warmth and often powerful heat. The joy of summer is the freedom of wearing less, , of having our skin go brown in the light of the sun and the pleasure of many visits to lakes and surf to cavort in the cool of the waters. It’s not surprising that people like to lie almost naked in the sun or swim with minimum attire in the balmy waters. There’s a freedom here that indicates energy and life. Similarly in Christ we live without connivance or religion. We are free from the cold of separation from the Sun of Life and we bask in the presence of God who is with us and in us.
By living in the old covenant we live in the glimmers of spring and in anticipation of the summer to come. But summer is here. It has been since Jesus rose from the dead!
In the old covenant mindset we are misers, living in what has passed yet not leaping into what is already here - the pleasant heat and light in which vegetation flourishes, in which mangoes ripen and which water-melons give out their joy. But this is where we belong and this is what is ours. We belong in the early rising of the sun and our dance is in the parade on the esplanade in the long twilight and the balmy evening air.
This is your new covenant life in the Spirit of Christ and the indwelling of God. Winter has passed. Summer has come. And you are alive forever in His life!