Dreamers of the Day

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible." -T.E. Lawrence, "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Recently, the topic of a life devoted to Christ has occupied my mind. The reason is a desire to have a faith that is not emotional (as it can easily be), but a faith that surpasses emotions. I do not desire to be externally pure, good and holy, but I desire a pure heart. This search for the answer to the question, “What does a Christian life look like?” has brought me to the passage in Luke time and time again. Jesus says in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
I don’t know about you, but carrying a cross would look pretty dumb. Talk about a social faux-pas! Carrying a cross into every building I went to would generate stares as well as comments. What a ridiculous thing! In fact, as I pondered this passage, even Jesus, the person who said this, did not do that. Why would He require that of those who desire to follow Him? Did He not realize the size of a cross? Or maybe He was mistaken and He meant wear a necklace to remind you, but don’t carry the actual cross. Or, maybe He meant we should think about carrying one and meditates on the way, weight; difficulty and humility carrying a cross would do to us. What could this possibly mean?
As I continued to study this passage, one fact is quite clear—Jesus is requiring something in order to follow Him. This something is not an easy something, but a hard something. A cross was a form of execution then, so the modern day equivalent would be an electric chair. Now, in this electric chair, we are to place “ourselves.” Yes, you read right. We are to kill ourselves in order to follow Christ.
This “killing” must take place while we are alive and thus the confusion begins. Now, let us look at the meaning of “ourselves.” As I ponder this, I cannot help but think of my identity. I see two types of identity within me; the one that everyone sees (my external) and the one that everyone cannot see, but is revealed through my external (my internal). Both identities relate to who I am. Both communicate my self worth, my characteristics, my attitudes, qualities, problems, etc. There is the internal and the external.
With the external, it is very easy to begin to build an image. I know what I am doing and saying. I can see the action and reaction. I begin to live for the reaction to my image. A great deal of my time in life is spent portraying an image. I know that certain people are impressed with knowledge, so I will try to become a deep thinker and convey my knowledge to gain approval. I know that everyone likes a person who is well dressed, bathes frequently and has good breath. Therefore, I will live to those requirements, use Old Spice Endurance because the smell is supposed to last longer and chew chewing gum indefinitely. I know the “rules” of a Christian and will uphold them by going to church, not cussing (or at least all the time), not talking to “dirty”, reading my Bible, saying good prayers with the group and singing loud on Sunday mornings so Yancy can be impressed with my singing.
What happens when this self, your external self, is killed? I am not talking about the body that performs these external actions, but the external actions themselves. If you are to cease from bathing, talking or going to church, would you still be the same person? If did not refrain from speaking dirty language or gossiping, but let it go, what would you really be like? How much of your “Christianity” is simply on your sleeve as an external action?
The band Eve 6 sang a song that I remembered while growing up. Here is part of the first verse of the song, Inside Out:

I would swallow my pride
I would choke on the rhine
But the lack thereof would leave me empty inside

What would happen if you swallowed your pride? What would happen if your self-image, your actions (I am talking externally now) actually died? Would you be empty inside? Would you know what to do with yourself?
I cannot understand the height, the depth and the breath of God’s love for me. I have tried to comprehend it, but it still escapes my grasp. And thus it still does in this topic. Jesus knows our heart and is not fooled by our external actions. He sees right through and loves us as we truly are--as we truly exist. We do not have to continue to “do” to get His attention, His love or His Spirit. All we have to do is receive it, believe it and trust it. Do not miss the point of His life in you. You are not a Christian because you are a good person. You are a Christian because you know you are in need of cleansing and He can clean you. You are a Christian because you need to be loved and there is nothing or no-one that will love you like Jesus.


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