(Firstly, thanks and apologies to Midnight Oil for the title of this post. I thought up the title myself but I then realised that it is very much like the title of their 1980s hit, ‘The Power and the Passion.’)
Yesterday we asked what our passion is. For me it is something that has to provide ultimate meaning in my life and in the life of the world. I need to be a part of something that is contributing to a greater cause than me. But how do we do this in real life? The sentiments are fine, but how do we get the power to live out our deepest passions? As has been said by many people, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and fine resolve. How do we find where the rubber hits that road and we turn around and start walking the uphill journey to the life we are meant to live?
Human beings are flawed. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work that out. Our biggest problem in life is that we so often don’t live what we believe. We need to start living ‘as is.’ What I mean by that is that we need to start living by what we say we believe. If we believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, then we need to live that out. Many people call this ‘acting as if,’ meaning to live as if it really is true that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. But as someone pointed out to me not long ago, it is really living ‘as is,’ not ‘as if.’ If Jesus really is true, we need to start living that truth – living it because it is true. We are not being true to who we really are if we don’t.
So how to do it? When we try to live this life and consistently fall short, what can keep us going, keep us motivated to keep moving forward toward this goal? This is again where the 12 Steppers have it right. First, we need to admit that our current way of life is not working, that it is in fact preventing us from being the person God intends us to be. Richard Rohr has said that until we see that our current way of life isn’t working, we are never going to change. The problem we have though is that our hearts are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah), and so we can’t often see ourselves that what we are doing is destructive. This is where outside help comes in.
Only a life committed to growth is one that will change. But commitment to growth is only the start. For me, that commitment comes out of a desire to be more Christlike. As I commit myself to this I will gradually see how far short of Jesus’ life I fall. And I find out about Jesus’ life through the written Word. So now we have two things: commitment to growth and the Bible.
But often – especially in our Western ways of living – our Bible reading is done in solitude. This is where we need the people of God. We need to get with some other people who are also committed to becoming more like Christ, and over time allow them into our lives to get to know us to the point that they are able to speak words of life to us, and us to them. This is part of the outside help that we need.
Come back tomorrow for part 2 of this post.