There is a group of us men…well-seasoned baby-boomers, to put it politely…who meet in our Men’s Bible Study once a week. There are about 8-10 of us in total who, after sitting on couches I’m convinced were purposely designed by the devil, low to the ground in an attempt to discourage us from coming back because it always takes two to three catapult-thrusts to propel ourselves back to our feet after two hours of sitting. Anyway, after a few minutes of comparing aches, pains, titanium hips, reconstructed knees and bad backs, I half-jokingly said to my Pastor, “I feel like I am compensating up here (pointing to my head) for the rest of me that’s slowly wearing out and falling apart.” This was not a new revelation for me but, thinking about it afterwards, what I really intuit and meant to say, is that God is purposely weakening my earthly vessel…while simultaneously nourishing, strengthening, and preparing me for “the separation” and life in the new home. I am living the joyful consequence of praying James 4:8 for the past two and a half years…and meaning it! I am not saying I’m preparing to die tomorrow…I am saying that I am intentionally freeing myself of the ties (old habits) that bind me here, and replacing them with new ones.
I liken the “mind of this” transition to a young woman who comes to my gym. I watch (study) everyone and everything. That’s who I am, and what I do. I see everyone (including myself) come every day to “work” out. I see her come to play and have fun. The irony? She works harder and gets more done than most all of us. There is a child-like letting go in her that is a joy to behold. Think of all the energy in this world that wants to work us, suck us in, contain us, alarm, enrage, and frighten us into or away from one thing or another. To many of us, it becomes a little like quicksand. If we’re not careful, it will contain us, own us, and completely define us…leaving us spiritually homeless. I can’t begin to tell you how many of you have expressed the feeling of being trapped and hopeless to me over the past year…especially now that I am back on Facebook. Talk about a Dead Sea…
There is a reason, I’m now understanding, why Eldredge places Lover after Warrior and before King in our natural development as men. The reason is really quite simple; there is no greater love than the one we would give up ourselves for. This is the heart of Jesus’ Luke 14:26 teaching…the ultimate separation, right? Who are we more tied and bound to in this world than our own parents, families, and selves? He is not telling us to hate them…in essence, He is teaching us the opposite…to love them above our own attachment to them, as He himself did by His own example on Calvary. The voice of our modern world is calling us in the opposite direction, is it not? An entire “selfie” generation gazing into its own Narcissi-Smart-Phone reflection…missing the true “Cantare, amantis est” (Lover’s song) in so doing.
True Love has to come before the King…“Only the Lover Sings”
The 12th Psalm reads: “I shall sing to the Lord, who has granted good things to me.”
- The language of love affirms that “It is good that you exist.”
- The language of friendship adds that it is “good that we both exist knowing one another.”
- The language of truth states: “It is true that you exist.”
- The language of creation affirms that “You and I both exist even if we need not exist.”
- The language within the Trinity speaks “eternal life.”
I wrote Inclined Towards Love last week, tapping into the wisdom of King Solomon and Ecclesiastes 10:2…days before one of my favorite TCT writers posted his two cents on today’s Left/Right paradigm. Definitely worth the read! What struck me even more powerfully than the words of David Warren, which takes some doing, was the image of God selected by Brad Miner who matches most all of the artwork with the TCT writers. Tell me what you see…
I see God expressing Love to His right, in both His expression and His Right hand. And I see him expressing what seems to be disapproval, displeasure, and a warning to His left with His left hand and His looking away. Is this what you saw? Pray James 4:8 and you will…I promise you. In the meanwhile, start to turn from the songs of the earth…so clever and pleasing to the ear…and sing the song, I am in the world not of it, and know it to be true…and pleasing to God.