Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Living in a fog

I was driving into work this morning and it was foggy in several places along the way. It was not a very thick fog, so I was able to see for about 100 yards. Several things occurred to me while I was driving. One is that, while driving in the fog, my attention to details that were visible through the fog was sharper than during a sunny day. I was noticing things that I didn’t normally notice during a bright sunny day.

On a sunny day, when you can see for miles, you pay more attention to details that are far off and less attention to details that may be right in front of your face. If the fog is very dense, then all of your attention is drawn to details that are close at hand…because that is all you can see.

I think that this has an analogy to the Christian walk. A lot of Christians live their lives in bright sunshine. I am not talking in standard terms of bright sunshine equals good, and dark and gloomy equals bad, but in terms of where you are focused. When you are in bright sunshine, figuratively speaking, Jesus is close at hand and His closeness never changes. Yet, your focus is drawn to all of the other things you can see, your current troubles, your past that shouldn’t have been or could have been, and things you imagine that the future will bring or not bring.

Jesus is right in front of you, but your attention is drawn by all of the other things you see. I think that when Christians mature, God uses things in our life to cause a fog to descend over us. As the fog grows denser, the less you can see of the things around you; your circumstances, your past, or your imagined future that brings you so much anxiety. The fog finally grows so dense that the only thing you can see is Jesus. Your circumstances haven’t changed, your past still remains, and the future is yet to be. The only thing that is changed is your focus.

When your focus is on Jesus and you are completely surrendered to His will and His working in your life, He becomes the only thing that is important. This is the life that He has called Christians to live. A life where the only thing that matters is Him and He provides the power to live in the present, no matter what your circumstances are, or what you did in the past, or what your future will bring.

There are many Christians that have come to Christ for eternal life, but have never trusted Christ as their life. They have never surrendered their life completely to God and placed their faith in the fact that Jesus died on the cross not only to forgive their sins, but to live His life in them and through them. This is one of my favorite non-Bible quotes:

There are those who sincerely try to live a life they do not have, substituting religion for God, Christianity for Christ, and their own noble endeavors for the energy, joy, and power of the Holy Spirit. In the absence of reality, they can only grasp at rituals, stubbornly defending the latter in the absence of the former, lest they be found with neither!

There are those who have a life they never live. They have come to Christ and thanked Him only for what He did, but do not live in the power of who He is. Between the Jesus who "was" and the Jesus who "will be" they live in a spiritual vacuum, trying with no little zeal to live for Christ a life that only He can live in and through them, perpetually begging for what in Him they already have!
Major Ian Thomas

There is a song we sing in church that has the line, “When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be…” The song speaks about the time when we see Jesus in heaven and how everyone will be rejoicing. As Major Thomas stated, there is a vacuum in the lives of many Christians. They will go to heaven to see someone that they don’t really know because they have only seen Him once…when they were saved. There are others who will go to heaven to see an old friend face-to-face…what a day of rejoicing that will be.