Fixed On You
"Just as teenagers can live in the same house as their parents, yet choose not to live “close” to them in partnership, so we can choose to be children of God, yet live very distant from God in our hearts. On the other hand, we can choose to have the closest partnership with Him, in which we know what He thinks, believes, and acts and what is important to Him. In this place of intimacy, we also discover just how close He wants to be with us."
T H E R E S A D E D M O N
Let me start by saying that Christians are amazing people. They have the life of Christ in them and a pure heart that wants more than anything to please God. So when they sin, it's obviously because they are living in their sinful flesh, but also, I believe, because they are falling into deception. They are misunderstanding something. They are falling for an illusion and failing to see reality AS IT IS.
So I would like to clarify something that I think we as Christians can confuse. We live in a physical, material world and we have to have jobs and lives. But as Christians, our true life is hidden with Christ on high (Colossians 3:3) and our true job is building/advancing His kingdom in hearts. It's almost like our existence is happening on two different, parallel planes, one physical, one spiritual--but that isn't a true example because it's nothing like that at all.
We just misunderstand it to be.
God enjoys examples and He gave us the perfect one to illustrate this concept. Our spirit is housed in a physical body and they are interdependent. However, the spirit is what gives life to the body and you could say that the body is a slave to it. So it's not that one is better than the other, but one rules the other. The spirit governs the body.
In the same way, our spiritual life should rule our physical one. We can't have "real life" as one parallel line, never intersecting with our "walk with Christ." They are interconnected, interdependent. One should be our center, and should give life to and influence the other. Our physical, "real life" should serve our spiritual life. That means everything we do should ultimately be pointed towards glorifying God, growing our closeness to Him, and advancing His kingdom. Likewise, our spiritual life, our walk with Christ, should govern our decisions and the actual physical realities of life on this Earth. Our walk with Christ should be welded to our jobs, our free time, our going to college and marrying and having of children and retiring. Our eating, our working out, our entertaining ourselves. So welded, that they cannot well be separated.
How can eating a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast glorify God, grow our closeness to Him, and advance His kingdom? It's not my idea.1 Corinthians 10:31 commands "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Put simply, I don't think we should or even can rationalize every move we make and determine how it advances God's kingdom. Sure, I can sit there and think about how putting food in my body gives me energy to go to work and my putting in good work benefits society and makes Christians look good which in turn glorifies God. But I think the real point of the passage is a different one. Like always, it comes down to the heart.
This has not been an easy question for me to answer. But ultimately, I believe that doing "all to the glory of God" starts with a heart trained on God. By trained I mean fixed, focused. The Bible speaks of continual prayer and we say that it is too hard to stay focused on God constantly. And yes, that's true. Imagine being with your significant other in the room and thinking of nothing but him or her. That's debilitating. But now imagine being with your significant other in the room and being so focused on something else that you are unaware of his or her presence.
That's a sad picture of many of us. The truth is, that we are focused on something or other at all times. And just as constantly, God's presence and attention surround us. It would be fitting for us to focus out and notice Him, every once in awhile. Besides this, on a deeper level, there is usually something that is driving us. Whether it's looking forward to our next vacation, some life goal we are trying to reach, expecting a child, waiting for retirement. These deeper drives shift and change as we achieve them. We make it through the everyday grind by fixing our hearts on these far-off hopes, and that's not wrong, necessarily. On an even deeper level, we are focused on accomplishing something, proving something. That we are valuable. Worth admiration. Able to accomplish. Worthy of love. These things drive us.
On the deepest level, our hope should be Christ. Our drive should be to bring Him glory. What I'm trying to say is that this drive should be continually growing and sifting up and out into our daily lives. Our thoughts should wander and end up thinking about Him. Our daily schedule should be set and yet in our down moments our hearts should linger on Him. Even in the midst of busy moments, of stressful situations, of tiring, boring work, there should be sparks. I'm doing this for Him. In joyful situations, in the midst of pleasurable things--a good day, a good meal, good friends, the overflow of that should be "This comes from Him. Nothing is better than Him. One day I'll be with Him."
Instead, it seems, our hearts get tangled in the now and we do our work and we do this "real life" but the essential motivation, the deep inner drive to glorify Him is missing or stagnant or sleeping. That can happen, to a real Christian. And it's always a great loss. I know that because He is the only great gain. So let's ask ourselves, are we doing it for Him? Whatever it is. Church on Sundays or volleyball in the park or taking out a loan. Is He at the center, is He the heart of our heart? The thing is that a Christian living life for His glory and a Christian who has let this drive stagnate can look very much the same. Not many of us are called to be missionaries and pastors. We're most of us going to college and getting married and having kids and going grocery shopping and working out and buying houses and working jobs, etc. And only God can see the heart.
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."
I S A I A H 2 6 : 3
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