We have talked about the Hidden Life where we hide from others in our sin and refuse to come toward God. We refuse to come toward God because we think He is angry with us. Satan has deceptively confused us that God hates us when in reality Satan hates us (and God).
We have talked about the Double Life where we are a full participant in fellowship with God’s people but we continue to hide significant weaknesses, wounds, sins or shame from our faith community (and possibly, we think, from God). We refuse to come fully into the Light via confession because we think others will judge or condemn us. Satan has deceptively created fear in us that others will despise and reject us if they really know our frailties. Satan wants to keep us hiding out; living in fear and secrecy. In this place, he can confuse us and leave us feeling lost and hopeless.
There is a third way: the path into Christ’s light; into the Circle of Light. This is the New Path by which we exit Double Life Highway and enter true, honest, authentic, safe fellowship with other Christ followers who desire to genuinely know, love, serve, and follow Christ. This is the path of the Disciple.
To live out the path of Disciple, however, we need additional prescriptions. As I close this series on human brokenness, we will explore two final prescriptions that enhance the spiritual health of eternal spirit beings.
The first addresses our hesitancy to take the action step recommended in Part 9: to come into the light, the Circle of Light, via confession or sharing of one’s secret burdens, struggles, wounds or sins. If it seems that I keep pressing into this deeper and deeper, it is only because Satan will whisper louder and louder that this is an unnecessary step to take. I meet many people who are convinced that they need to take this step toward the Disclosed Life. Yet as our time together draws to a close, I sometimes see a person retreating back into their Double Life. Already, they are hearing voices that say, Maybe I’ll give it one more try by myself.
So if you feel I am obsessing over this point, it is only because this point is everything: without this step, there is no progress; there is no freedom; there is no increased joy; there is no release from the anxiety that is eating us alive; and there is no escape from our hurts or our addictions. Without this step of confession, our bones will continue to waste away and we will continue to groan from inner anxiety.
We need God’s Salvation and God’s Strength. We need to live by God’s Spirit and we need to take seriously Spiritual Warfare. We also need Safe Community that invites us into confession. But if we lack the courage to take this last dose of spiritual medicine, then we’re going to need another prescription. Guess what? We ALL end up needing this next prescription!
The Sixth Prescription
God’s sixth prescription for our spiritual well-being is Whole-Life Surrender. This is not a casual action step. Surrender brings us to a new place of dependency upon our Savior. We know we are unable to do what He requires; and what is best for our own well-being. We know we cannot do it. With surrender, we personally bring all of our anxieties, fears, doubts, hesitations, complaints and worries and we throw them all down on the ground at the Cross before Jesus. We literally tell God everything that is on our heart and on our mind and why we are resisting letting go of our life. We talk to HIM about all this and we sit at the Cross and one by one, we take each thought captive…each worry captive…each fear captive…each anxiety captive…and we simply hand each one of these thoughts or emotions over to Jesus.
Do you remember early in this series how I invited you to enter into a meditation or holy imagination of what it was like the moment Adam and Eve were escorted from the Garden and thus separated from such deep, rich intimacy with God? Now, I invite you to enter into another holy imagination: this time, however, we are going to spiritually look into what re-connecting to God looks like. We’re going to imagine coming into His presence in our attempt to enter into Whole-Life Surrender.
My friends, I invite you to join me on your knees. I invite you to quiet your heart and mind. Lord, I ask YOU to be present in this moment. I ask YOU to anoint this space. Make it safe. Make it authentic. Overcome our duplicity. Drive away the voices that tempt us to run from YOU. Comfort us from the voices that threaten to judge or condemn us. We invite YOU to come into our hearts and show us how to let go – to surrender our whole hearts and lives to YOU. Help us to trust that YOU love us and that YOU are inviting us to ‘come’ to YOU. Melt our hard hearts. Soften our many resistances. Come, Lord, and have YOUR way in us.
On our knees, we realize that the ground at the foot at the Cross is flat. There is no one left to look down upon and no one can look down upon us in this place. ALL have fallen short. ALL have sinned. ALL are broken. ALL of us are just a bunch of dirty sheep. Some of us may want to look all white and pretty, but the reality is that we all like sheep have gone astray. We all have dirty spots and stains. The ground is flat.
On our knees, we realize that we cannot exalt ourselves or put down another. In fact, there is only one to look up to: His name is Jesus. When we dare to look up at the Cross, we realize that all eyes are only upon the One who overcame death and sin on the Cross. All eyes are upon Jesus. Our eyes are upon Jesus. Do you see Him? As you look up at the Cross, do you see Jesus?
His head is down. He is sweating and bleeding. But then, He lifts His head and looks into our eyes. But unlike anyone who has ever stared at us, Jesus pierces His gaze into our eyes and His all-knowingness invades us. We cannot hide: every aspect of our life is exposed. We cannot even try to resist Him by hiding for He absorbs, overcomes and melts away our ever resistance. There is no resistance that can withstand His gaze that pierces to the depth of our souls. He sees us as we are and He does NOT condemn us: He invites us to release everything – all that we are – to Him. His joy and peace invade the depth of our being and we know – we finally know – that we are HIS. How can we turn away from HIM? He is holding us fast and tight and secure.
On our knees, we realize that the Cross is not a place of death but a place of life. Yes, there is death but there is life that overcomes the death. There is a loss of the life we have always known and resisted losing, but now we see a glimpse of new life: it is so precious that it is worth losing our lives in order to gain the life God has always hoped for us. The Cross is not a dead-end, but a doorway onto a New Path. Up ahead, we see lush green pastures and still blue waters. The peace that exudes from this place is indelible. Living Waters flow up from inside our hearts and we see glimpses of Heaven.
On our knees, we realize that we are re-connected to God. He once rushed us out of the Garden to protect us from eating of the Tree of Life and living forever separated from Him. But now, down the New Path a ways we see God’s Tree of Life. Jesus waves us toward this astoundingly beautiful tree. It’s trunk is wide; it’s branches extend endlessly; and it’s fruit is dripping with sweet-smelling flavor; a taste you can only imagine as more delicious than anything you’ve ever eaten. The New Path through the Cross of Christ leads right to the Tree of Life.
What God once banished us from to protect us from eternal separation from Him, He now invites us to come re-connect with Him and enter the New Path that leads to this Tree of Life. God’s work to redeem and restore eternal salvation to HIS people is finished. Christ finished this work on the Cross. Now, beyond Christ’s Cross, we can see that God has this awesome bountiful Tree of Life awaiting us. As Jesus called out before he took his last breathe on the Cross, It is finished.
In this holy imagination, we take our eyes off the future…we surrender all worries about tomorrow…and we, on our knees, join all the other eyes looking up at Jesus. We turn our eyes upward toward the Savior. We look into His eyes. We cry out…
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His glory and grace.
My friends, this is no imagination. This is Jesus you are looking at. It is His eyes that are looking into yours. His eyes penetrate past our eyes and gaze into the depth of our soul. In this place of Whole-Life Surrender, He sees it all. Any fear we have to try to hide or conceal…He simply overcomes and melts away such fears. Any worries about confession…He simply washes all our worries, fears, doubts and anxieties away. Finally, in this place, we are not just broken…we are sweetly broken.
As Jeremy Riddle powerfully sings in Sweetly Broken:
At the cross YOU beckon me.
YOU draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered.
This is Jesus and He is our Savior. He’s looking at me. He’s looking at you. He’s looking through me and you. He sees it all. And instantly He melts away all our resistance and we come tumbling down to the ground as we finally, completely, wholly let go. We surrender everything to HIM.
We are now ready to move forward into the confession that is needed – no matter what the consequences may be. We know this is the narrow path that leads to the Tree of Life. Our Savior is waving HIS hands inviting us, Come! Come! The path forward is safe and clear. I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Until the end, I will be with you. Come Disciple, come…
Coming to the Cross in salvation is a one-time experience but we need to come to Christ – to this holy imagination – daily or else we can easily find ourselves tempted back down many sinful paths. We need to understand that Whole-Life Surrender is a way of living daily in Christ. We will need to take this prescription for the rest of our lives. Whole-Life Surrender is a critical Christian discipline; it is what makes us a Disciple…
As a Disciple of Christ, we need prayer. We need God’s Word. We need wise counsel. We need rest. We also need one last prescription! We have God’s Salvation. We have God’s Strength. We are living by God’s Spirit. We are taking seriously Spiritual Warfare. We are committed to confession in Safe Community. We accept the Christian discipline of Whole-Life Surrender. Now we need a God-sized vision of our Father’s work to redeem His creation and how we play a role in the forceful coming of God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
The Seventh Prescription
God’s seventh prescription for our spiritual well-being is Service and Mission. God created us to worship Him and to serve Him. He said that those who are greatest on earth are those who take the role of servant for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus was the ultimate suffering servant who made Himself nothing in order to win our redemption.
Jesus now calls us to follow Him, listen to His voice, do what He is doing, and go where He is going. My friends, He is going about the work of expanding His Kingdom from a mustard seed into Eternal Life. He is inviting us to join HIM in inviting others to come to this great feast called Eternal Life. He also invites us to reclaim justice for those who suffer and are persecuted. He calls us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, visit the prisoner, heal the wounded, give hope to the hopeless. He calls us to care for the widow and the fatherless. He calls us to be peacemakers in a world of violent philosophies. He invites us to re-enter God’s Economy – to live our lives according to His ways, not our own.
We will experience no greater joy than to join Christ in service and mission to bring His Gospel to those who do not yet know HIM as their Savior. We will exposure no greater sense of significance than to reach out to the fatherless in HIS name knowing we are ministering to HIM every time we care for the least of the least. The Service and Mission we are called to is NOT about us…it’s about God and the coming of His Kingdom on earth…it’s about HIS redemptive plan to invite ALL peoples to come to the Cross of Christ so that ALL peoples might one day eat of the Tree of Life.
In joining God in His great mission in our world, we are freshly inspired to know Him and His great love for us and ALL of His creation. We, as Americans in particular, need to venture beyond our material, fleshly, nationalistic, political, and militaristic boxes of “Human Economy” strength to discover just how much suffering there is in this world. It may well be that we discover more about our true selves when we lose our life for the sake of the Gospel by entering into the sufferings of others just as Christ entered into our sufferings in order to bring us to the New Path.
Seven Prescriptions for Eternal Spirit Beings
As eternal spirit beings, we need seven prescriptions from the Great Physician to enhance our spiritual health. As we close this series, let’s review them once more. We need:
(1) God’s Salvation
(2) God’s Strength
(3) God’s Spirit
(4) Spiritual Warfare
(5) Safe Community
(6) Whole-Life Surrender
(7) Service and Mission
Friends, you and I are broken. That is what this series has been about – our human brokenness. But if all we ever do is look at the reality of our brokenness, we’ll continue to operate in our brokenness and we won’t experience the abundant life God promises. But if we bring our whole lives to our Creator who stamped HIS image into our inner being since the beginning of time and knit us together in our mother’s womb and knows us by name since the foundations of this world, we can be assured that HE will help us recover to live victoriously by the Spirit and overcome the pull of our sinful nature (our flesh).
We cannot always magically escape the broken areas of our lives. Our drives are distorted. Our identities are misplaced. Our desires are often immoral. Our proclivities are strong forces. Our wounds are painful. Our sins are pleasurable. Our weaknesses leave us frail. Despite all this, we don’t have to live enslaved to our brokenness. Through HIM, we can walk the New Path of Disciple by taking these seven prescriptions freely offered by the Great Physician. We cannot fix ourselves; but He can! If we simply know and follow HIM in the fellowship of other believers, I am sure that He will take care of the rest…
Special Note: Check out Outro for additional details about what a recovery program can provide for you. This concludes the Brokenness series. If you need someone to pray with you about the seven prescriptions God is offering us, simply call us at (978) 212-9630. Thank you for joining me throughout this series. May God bless you…