The Mysterious and Gritty Sides of Faith

Futuristic Fractal and Earth Design
The post after this one will be the last for Hands Full of Christ. I had planned another chapter, but I’m saving it for the final book if it ever gets printed. Most people who recently started visiting this blog probably have no idea they parachuted in to a book in progress. Maybe some of you who knew it forgot over time. Regardless, this project has come to an end. Of course I will continue to blog here on other themes. The book might be done, but Bareknuckle continues.

These last few weeks I’ve been trying to take the idea of commitment to Christ and land it someplace practical. Unless we can define it, the whole thing will sound like a lot of religious bluster—hot air, chest thumping, sold out for Jesus talk, that ends up nowhere on the map.

I think of this like Jacob’s ladder in Genesis chapter 28. One end of it reaches heaven and the other end sits anchored to the ground. Angels go up and down on it, meaning there’s traffic, fellowship going back and forth between these two locations. Whatever is up above comes down. Whatever is down here goes up. The whole picture operates as an ongoing cycle without the things of God getting stuck at either end.

You see, stuff that lingers down here for too long turns into earthy pragmatism. We might give God the recognition for career advancements and successful marriages, but the real credit will actually go to human ingenuity. Nothing spiritual about it—I just learned some techniques from the self-help section.

Alternately, whatever hovers at the other end of the ladder like so much spiritual helium, just seems worthless—philosophy parading around as if it were somehow relevant. I’m thinking of two guys in a room arguing over nuances in dispensational theology, while everybody else rolls their eyes and wishes for a sword to fall on.

I love the way the epistles start from some high point like eternity past, and end up talking about loving your wife and not being too hard on the kids. Sounds like a ladder to me.

Okay then, as you close this book and put the coffee cup in the dishwasher, what should you do?

Give yourself to Christ at the top of the ladder. Don’t wait until you have cancer or a marriage crisis. Don’t wait until you have a drinking problem. Don’t put it off until a train wreck happens. Then, after making that heartfelt determination, throw yourself into His mission and community down here on the ground at the other end of the ladder. Have both the profound and mysterious as well as the gritty and practical.

…And one more thing we’ll cover in the next post.


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