When I was a pilot in the Navy we had to undergo regular training to be familiar with the physiological effects of flying high performance jet aircraft. We called it, guess what, physiology training. One of the exercises was to get in the pressure chamber and take a ride to an altitude of 25,000 ft (that is pretty high). We would “ride up” with our oxygen mask on. (Really it is just a chamber that they lower the pressure and oxygen content to simulate high altitude.) When we got to 25,000 ft we were instructed to take off our oxygen masks. You might remember a scene in the movie TOPGUN where they do this. Without the necessary oxygen, stuff starts to happen, you get hypoxia. For some they get anxious. For others they feel numbness in their fingers. For others you get euphoric. For everyone you will pass out after enough time without oxygen. That would be bad if you were flying the aircraft especially if there was no one else to fly it. This training is important so you can recognize the symptoms of hypoxia and take action. You could be on a flight at altitude and have a slow leak and lose cabin pressure. You could have a failure of your oxygen generating system or have a contaminated oxygen supply. In the end the result is essentially the same, you pass out and die either by crashing or lack of oxygen.
Now imagine the same kind of thing while deep-sea diving. Say you are in one of those suits with an oxygen hose attached for long duration dives. If the hose was kinked or blocked or disconnected I bet you would notice right away. I bet you would find a way to get some air pretty quick. That is very different from the hypoxia thing. For the diver it is sudden and attention-getting. For the flyer it is subtle but still deadly.
I believe we are like the diver and the pilot. I believe our source of air, our very life force, our very breath, our sustenance is God Himself.
There are many diseases that are tied to “something missing” like a chromosome, or an enzyme, or a chemical, or something else. For those with these kinds of deficiencies they are often kept alive by supplementing what they are missing. For example if you have a particular type of Diabetes you must have supplemental insulin. I am not a doctor so I don’t know all the particulars but I think you understand the point.
I believe God made us with a “something missing”. I believe God made us deficient. I believe apart from Him we are like the hypoxic pilot and the oxygen starved diver. The kicker is the enemy has deceived us into believing the opposite. We have made western Christianity into a “good behavior club.” We have pews full of hypoxic people. We have “living dead” in our midst. We have people who know how to “look” like Christians but have no idea what it means to be living. We have eternal life available to us and are not tapped into the source. Remember the law could not change a person from the inside out. Only Grace can change a person from the inside out. Only the Spirit of Christ can change a person. Only the Holy Spirit can bring us new life. Only the death of Jesus can give us His life. Unless we are born again we have no life, we are dead.
So how can we continue to live apart from Him? I believe we have been so inundated by lies about the Holy Spirit that we are living a false oxygen-starved life. When we are born again all the plumbing is re-installed. We have everything we need to be back in a relationship with Him. I don’t mean a rule provider. I mean a life-giver. You talk to Him and He talks to you. You share your heart and He shares His heart. He shows you how to love. He demonstrates His love towards you. He empowers you how to demonstrate His love to others. The alternative is someone who believes in Jesus but never gets to know Him. The alternative is a person who can read his Bible and debate but never knows the heart of the author.
Imagine yourself diagnosed with a “something missing” condition that is life threatening. Wouldn’t you take your medicine? (Actually wouldn’t you pray for healing first?) If you were a diver and your oxygen hose just got kinked I bet you would find a way to fix it fast. But most of us are like the pilot. We live in a constant state of hypoxia only to get a little whiff of oxygen once a week or so. Really!?!?
I pray we all see our disconnected state as desperate. I pray we see our lifeline as life-giving. We have to stop seeing independence as a plausible or tolerable option to life. Even as a believer if I haven’t stepped into this understanding, if I haven’t surrendered to this truth, if I haven’t desperately sucked on the air hose, I am just living independent with good but impossible-to-achieve intentions. It is a lie. It is a facade. The inside of me is not changed even though the connection is restored while the outside is trying to comply. That is law-living which is death-giving. When you surrender to dependence and hold on with all your effort to the source of life you know God and he knows you. Regardless of our right believing about Jesus on the cross if we haven’t realized our desperate need for Him, if we are living independent from Him, if we are living without connection to Him, does this verse apply?
Matthew 7:21-23 ESV “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Notice that the ones “He never knew” were the ones “doing the works.” I contend that the one who “does the will of my Father” is hearing the will of the Father (not reading rules on paper). I contend that the one that does the will of the Father has seen the Father doing it like Jesus. I contend that the one who sees and hears the will of the Father is inhabited by and connected to the Father through the Holy Spirit. I contend that the Kingdom of Heaven is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. I contend that the person who enters the Kingdom has been living from there all the time in Christ. I contend that this person has found the “something missing” and is no longer deficient but whole in Jesus.
Come on that is a good word.