Waking the Dead - Chapter 1 - Arm Yourselves
Author: John Eldredge
John Eldredge challenges the believers of Christ to trust absolutely in the will of God and to live following the true and deep heart of love of God within them. The image to follow is that of Christ who gave everything He had and shined with the love of God. Eldridge shares about living by the spirit and heart and revealing the great love God has poured down on us. With that image, God’s love will infectiously overflow through the hearts of many fellow Christians like fire. Here, readers will be guided in how to lead a life that is “fully alive” for God.
Here is a short excerpt from Chapter 1 – Arm Yourselves:
[THE OFFER IS LIFE
The glory of God is man fully alive. (Saint Irenaeus)
When I first stumbled across this quote, my initial reaction was . . . You’re kidding me. Really? I mean, is that what you’ve been told? That the purpose of God—the very thing he’s staked his reputation on—is your coming fully alive? Huh. Well, that’s a different take on things. It made me wonder, What are God’s intentions toward me? What is it I’ve come to believe about that? Yes, we’ve been told any number of times that God does care, and there are some pretty glowing promises given to us in Scripture along those lines. But on the other hand, we have the days of our lives, and they have a way of casting a rather long shadow over our hearts when it comes to God’s intentions toward us in particular. I read the quote again, “The glory of God is man fully alive,” and something began to stir in me. Could it be?
I turned to the New Testament to have another look, read for myself what Jesus said he offers. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Wow. That’s different from saying, “I have come to forgive you. Period.” Forgiveness is awesome, but Jesus says here he came to give us life. Hmmm. Sounds like ol’ Irenaeus might be on to something. “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48). “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38). The more I looked, the more this whole theme of life jumped off the pages. I mean, it’s everywhere.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Prov. 4:23)
You have made known to me the path of life. (Ps. 16:11)
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (John 1:4)
Come to me to have life. (John 5:40)
Tell the people the full message of this new life. (Acts 5:20)
I began to get the feeling of a man who’s been robbed. I’m well aware that it’s life I need, and it’s life I’m looking for. But the offer has gotten “interpreted” by well-meaning people to say, “Oh, well. Yes, of course . . . God intends life for you. But that is eternal life, meaning, because of the death of Jesus Christ you can go to heaven when you die.” And that’s true . . . in a way. But it’s like saying getting married means, “Because I’ve given you this ring, you will be taken care of in your retirement.” And in the meantime? Isn’t there a whole lot more to the relationship in the meantime? (It’s in the meantime that we’re living out our days, by the way.) Are we just lost at sea? What did Jesus mean when he promised us life? I go back to the source, and what I find is just astounding.
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (Ps. 27:13)
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:29–30)
Jesus doesn’t locate his offer to us only in some distant future after we’ve slogged our way through our days here on earth. He talks about a life available to us in this age. So does Paul: “Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:8). Our present life and the next. When we hear the words eternal life, most of us tend to interpret that as “a life that waits for us in eternity.” But eternal means “unending,” not “later.” The Scriptures use the term to mean we can never lose it. It’s a life that can’t be taken from us. The offer is life, and that life starts now.
Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (Rom. 6:4 NLT, emphasis added)
The glory of God is man fully alive? Now? Hope unbidden rose at the thought that God’s intentions toward me might be better than I’d thought. His happiness and my happiness are tied together? My coming fully alive is what he’s committed to? That’s the offer of Christianity? Wow! I mean, it would make no small difference if we knew—and I mean really knew—that down-deep-in-your-toes kind of knowing that no one and nothing can talk you out of—if we knew that our lives and God’s glory were bound together. Things would start looking up. It would feel promising, like making friends on the first day of school with the biggest kid in class.
The offer is life. Make no mistake about that. So then . . . where is that life? Why is it so rare?]
Take this path in discovery of a greater spirit of life and love.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Pub. Date: July 2003