How to Start a Revolution: What it Means to be Alive, Part 3
Did you take the time to hear it? Did you pick your thoughts up by their tails and hold them close to listen to what they’re really saying? Once you’ve heard how much your own thoughts join the chorus of this world to say “ Not Enough,” you’ll wake up from the wanting as if from anesthesia. You’ll open your eyes and see the numbing IV tapped right into your arm.
Drip … “Your shopping cart is ready and waiting.”
Drip … “Be more relevant to fulfill your rock-star potential.”
Drip … “A large reach means greater impact. Set your podium higher.”
Drip … “Work more mind-numbing hours and then you’ll have enough.”
When you wake up and see your own paralysis, how you’re plugged in to the sickness, you’ll reach over, and you’ll rip that IV right out. It will be like stepping out of an old body, pulling cords out of the wall, pulling hangers out of the closet. Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe. Every No you say will be a clearer perspective of how the kingdom of this world had controlled you. Rip it out.
This is only the surface resistance, but that doesn’t make it easy. It will feel good to clean out your drawers, to give a garage sale for orphans, but you’ll have to live in the resistance to reap the deeper benefits.
When you wake up to your wanting, you’ll have to resist it at every turn, and it will be like taking a walk with the Devil in the dessert. At first you’ll feel hungry. It ain’t easy. Once you’ve begun to peel back the surface-level wanting, you’ll see your options with the perspective of one standing on the edge of a mountain.
Look down from here at that kingdom below. See the palaces and positions? What I really mean is this: imagine your glory. Imagine if you make partner. Imagine if you get that book deal, and they all read it. Imagine that your children never screw up. Imagine if you rise to the top, and you make so much money, gain the influence, drive the car, and live in the most eco-friendly house. Imagine if your church becomes the biggest in town or if you’re associated with world changers. Imagine even your god-sized dream come true. Now ask yourself. Will that glory sustain you? You will have to make an outright choice. Do you want your earthly kingdom, or do you want the kingdom of heaven?
Do not be afraid. It was the Spirit of God that led Jesus into this wilderness.
St Cyr is a big man, and his voice booms like thunder. When I met him, I thought well of course, the church grew there in Haiti. He’s a commanding and charismatic leader, yet when I asked him how he came to be a leader, he told me that Christ alone is the leader. He is only a servant. “Only a Servant.” I wonder if someone has used that as a tagline. To him, it was nothing to write down as I am here. To him, it was the dirty, day-in-and-out truth.
He told me the story of his upbringing and all his opportunities to stay in the States to make money, but instead he knew the Lord was telling him to move back to Haiti. This is when I asked him the question: “Do you feel like you chose to be poor?”
Once it came out of my mouth, I realized my perspective was a bit off. He put his hands to the table and leaned his body back. “Let me explain something to you,” he said. That’s when I knew I’d better buckle up.
He explained to me the riches of our faith. It was profound. If God lives in you by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and you’re not distracted and pacified by your own wanting, then your life is so full of fruit, a deep satisfaction, that you would never call that poor in worldly terms. But in the spirit, yes, the poor in spirit are the very ones who inherit the kingdom of Heaven. He told me how faith acts itself out in willingness to work and give, because it is satisfied. A believer knows where her help comes from. He described to me a satisfied church that exists today, not only the Kingdom of Heaven that we’ll see when we cross the finish line, but the Kingdom of Heaven that we are to ask to come on this earth.
Stand on the mountain. See your options. What is the kingdom you seek? Will it satisfy?
The fruit of Spirit are the invisible traits that will change the world. These are the traits of the personality of Christ. These are in the Spirit alone.
We are brimming with more life than all the riches in the world could buy. The spirit clothes us, every one, in power to be a healer and a jail-breaker.
The question is not whether or not you can be satisfied in church. If that is your question, let me save you some time. You, indeed, will never be satisfied by church.
Now let’s get back to that walk in the desert with the Devil. Notice he doesn’t ask you to look down and see the rat race. He doesn’t tell you to look down and see yourself addicted and exhausted. Look over the edge and see it for what it is, the powers at play.
Now hear the other invitation.
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
Are you listening?
If you want to start a revolution ask yourself what it means to be alive.
Tomorrow I’ll post one of the strangest things I’ve ever written. Then this series will be back on Friday to talk about what this means in church (your local church and the broader American church), and until then I hope to see you in the wilderness. Until then I’m going to keep pulling the pacifiers out of my own mouth in exchange for food.