Monday, October 18, 2010


Today I felt a familiar sting in Paul's letter to Timothy: Do not be enamored by the present world. It stings because I know I'm guilty of it. I am enamored with this world. I cling to it...I hold on to it....and the thought of leaving it scares me to death (almost).

But my attachment to this world is not about material I expect many interpret Paul's warning. I mean sure I love technology and gadgets as much as the next guy (I could go on and on about my iPad), and I don't pretend that I wouldn't throw a mild tantrum if for some reason I had to give away my iPad or flatscreen TV or car. But I honestly think I could do it if necessary. I mean as cool as all this stuff is...I recognize it's really of little significance in the grand scheme (as I think George Carlin brilliantly (if irreverently) demonstrated). And the same goes for money. I appreciate money...I like having it...I try to be a good steward of it...but I don't think about it too much. I certainly don't worry about it (though obviously much of that is because of the goodness and blessings God has bestowed on me and my family).

No...I am attached to this world...or "enamored" with it at a deeper, and I think more serious, level. I think I see it most clearly when I think about dying. The simple truth is...I don't want to die. I mean I am sure most people don't WANT to die, but as a Christian, shouldn't I be looking forward to (maybe even longing) for the day when I am united with Jesus in Heaven...when I leave this broken world and return home? But if I'm honest, I have to admit I'm really not looking forward to that at all. (Forgive me, Jesus.)

And it's not that I don't want to have an intimate relationship with my Savior...I do...and hopefully I am pursuing that every day. It's also not that I am concerned with how I am going to die...or that I am worried about whether I will get to go to Heaven when I do die.'s really more about when am I going to die...and I guess partly...what happens after we die. [Just thinking about this last issue brings me to the brink of what I imagine would be a panic attack if I let chest hurts...its hard to heart is racing...]

I realized awhile ago (because I've been dealing with this for a long time)...that this desperate attachment I have to this my rooted in my unwillingness to let go of this life. I don't want to die because I have plans. I have things I want to do. There are people here that I believe need me...and they need me here.

When I really think about it, I see that at some place below the surface of my soul, I am unwilling to accept and believe with my heart (not just my mind) that my plans are nothing compared to God's plans...and that I can't begin to realize the first part of any plan without God's help....and that despite how important I like to think I am, there is no need that anyone has (including those of my wife and daughter), that God can not meet either with or without me, and certainly infinitely better than I can. And when I look at it that way, my "love" of this world is really just pride and arrogance.

But it isn't just that, because I also worry about what Heaven will be like. What will we do all "day?" What will we be? To be honest, some of the images of Heaven and eternity that are out there are a bit...unsettling. Is eternity all about harps and church services all day? Are we absorbed into God in such a way that we lose who we are as individuals? Or is it more the way C.S. Lewis describes it...a world not unlike our current one, but more real. (Oh how I hope it is the latter.)

And still if I push further, all of this...all of my pride and fear boil down to me being worried about me. Despite all my failings, all my sinfulness, all my issues...I don't want to lose "me." And that, I'm afraid, is maybe the more dangerous kind of world-enamor, because at the core of loving this world...of worrying about not believing or trusting God.

So here I am...all self-analyzed with he curtain of my soul pulled back. And once again I am confronted with the simplicity of the fix.

If I just believe (not just intellectually, but emotionally and spiritually believe) that God is in control, that He does love me, that He made me, that His Son rose from the dead, that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for me...if I believe all these things (and all the other promises in the Bible)...and I mean really believe them...then I can live life with open hands...letting God put in them whatever He wants me to have and also letting Him take whatever He knows I no longer need. If I really just believed all the things Christ died to tell me, then I would be enamored with Him instead of this world. And if I really was enamored with Him...then my eternal life would begin right now...and Heaven would be here on Earth.

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