I was in class and thinking about other things, this is what happened…
I have not been able to shake the feeling of deep longing.
Where does this come from?
Most Christians including myself want to answer that the deep longing is for Christ.
I do think that this is true, but I think that there is more to the question than the answer
Why is it that though I have Christ, I long?
Why is it that though I am married to a wonderful woman, I still long for her touch?
Why is it that though I am educated, I desire to continue education?
Why is it that though I have all that I need and most of what I want, I still want more?
Why is it that though I really enjoy being in CA, I continue to miss home?
Why is it that though I am sitting in this class, I wish I was sitting somewhere else?
We have been told that we ascend to a belief in Christ through an act of faith.
This act of faith is a mental jump from not believing to believing.
This leaves God as having the hopes to satisfy us mentally, in the hope of our beliefs.
This also leaves us longing for deeper satisfaction.
God satisfies me conceptually. But not relationally, not materially, not sexually, not
in identity, not politically, not socially, not economically, etc.
Should God satisfy us in all the above?
No. and Yes.
No. because the way that we have theologically understood God in the wrong way,
He is not in the business of satisfying he is not in the business of making you new in
the way that we have traditionally thought. What I mean is that we have had the expectation that
God will fulfill all of my desires. Yes he will, but all of the desires that he in his infinite wisdom
understands us as needing and nothing more or less. Further, when we think of God ‘making new’
we seem to understand this as God taking James and at redemption James become John. James
is a new creation, he is John. But don’t we see that this is a fundamentally wrong way of understanding
satisfaction in becoming new. God will satisfy us, deeply, as we are re-worked by his Holy Spirit.
To continue the illustration, God takes James with all of his pains, mis-created parts, and filthy human
characteristics and he begins to shape and re-shape all of that into a new creation. See God does not create man and woman ex nihilo in this life, he only did this once. The way that God creates now is through coming into covenant with us.
Abraham was not a man of faith because he believed God only, but because God covenanted with him.
There are hundreds of thousands of people who have believed in God and have done great acts of faith.
But only one man in human history has made a covenant with God in the way Abraham did. That covenant
that he entered into with God, made abraham a new creation, because Abraham took a whole life paradigm shift.
Post-covenant Abe had a new view of the world, of life, death, love, hatred, justice, grace, family, etc.
Abraham did not just believe he was revolutionized. He became a man of faith. He began to see the world through
the covenant (which was the grace imparted to him), because it was the promise to him that brought to him the grace
and relationship with God. In this covenant, Abraham’s values are shifted, because it is God who invests in Abraham.
God says to Abe, “I know that you have lied and have dominated females around you for your purposes, I know that you are a fallen creation but I am going to invest in you, I am going to get emotionally involved with you and risk all that I have to love you and hope that you will respond to me. If you respond to me you will see the world in ways you could never imagine.”
Yes. God satisfies us when we realize that having faith means having our paradigms of reality revolutionized, once we step into covenant with God. We are satisfied in our deepest longings because I no longer live for self, but for Adonai. What this means is that I die to my own rights, I take the calls from God. I live to do what God has me do (this is upholding my side of the covenant). I no longer seek safety for myself, I look to the Lord to be my shelter. I no longer look for wealth, because I know that God answers the cry, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I no longer need to fight for myself, because I know that there is no cause worth fighting over because “this day is passing away,” I in covenant with God uphold the value of love over my own love of self and rights. I no longer feel the need to hate and take revenge because I know that my God who feels the pains and anger that I feel, will take revenge on his own time and in his own way. I am not worried about reasoning out why I can have rights to any of these areas that my “Americanism” tells me I ought to fight for, because I am covenanted with God. God has invested in me, he fights for me, struggles with me and is emotionally involved with me, therefore I know that he will help to re-create me as I live or die in this world – I know that he is faithful in death and in life. We have been taught that we are to be “spiritual,” but how this has been translated is that we are allowed to believe what we want as long as we assimilate to the accepted American christian norm.
This assimilation, is what keeps us from tasting the deep satisfaction that comes from God. We must reject the ideologies of American Christianity (which is based on enlightenment principles and a Constantinian church/state based ethic) and enter into covenant with God and allow him to change the way we see all of reality, the way we live, the way we love and the way we interact with all humanity. Something I haven’t stated, is that this covenant with Abraham was not for abraham alone, it is not an individualistic salvific message. Rather Abraham is the father, of an entire nation, an entire community was called to enter into this covenant – they became a covenant community.
We cannot imagine living in this covenant lifestyle in our individualism, because this view of redemption depends upon the life of those around us in order to maintain, because this is a call to live in an alternative lifestyle. One cannot live an alternative lifestyle alone, nor would one wish too. Rather we are called to become an alternative covenant community. A community that is the expression of the covenant we have with God, we are the expression of what it means to “have the mind of Christ.” I know that many of us would feel uncomfortable putting our actions and beliefs into the category of being “in the mind of Christ.” Instead of trying to explain that uncomfortability away why don’t we allow God to change us?
So when I find myself longing, I must revisit the covenant I have made with God, and stand to be re-shaped because I need it, I live in a culture and society that is fast, and powerful, deceptive and secretive. It seeks to form me into its own nationalistic, consumeristic form of humanity. I return to the creator and have me put back together. Longing is a sign that something is out of place, it is not a bad thing, just a signal, a back pain.