Do you ever struggle under the weight of obedience? We're all obedient to something - society, culture, religion, politics. Obedience is like faith. Everyone has it. Human life doesn't exist without it. Our faith, and our obedience, can be life alteringly different, but we all have faith in, and obedience to, something. I am as fiercely obedient to Jesus as one broken person can be. And it's cost me everything, friends.
I have stood on very holy ground and let go of every speck of hope. I have relinquished and bolstered myself against opinions, accusations, fear and loneliness. I have brushed off the grime of my own expectations and allowed my life to become something frighteningly beautiful. I get sick sometimes because I'm so alone. My heart aches and strains from its deepest spaces. I cry out to Jesus without words, and sometimes, without anything more than the sensation of my soul spiraling. I often pray like a man falling down stairs, "Shit."
Last night I taught a Holy Yoga class. Reluctantly. Mostly because the weight of my grief had piled up on top of me and I knew I needed to find a soft place to land before I crashed hard. Turns out, speaking from my mat WAS the soft place.
I 100% did not have a message for that class. I was too wrapped up in everything else. I showed up, opened up my Bible app and taught on the first thing that came up. Really, I was taught by the first thing that came up.
John 1, friends. John starts his story, his own memoir of his time with Jesus, in a really significant way. He paints a picture that weaves its way through the first story. He says this, "The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one. Everything was created through him; nothing - not one thing! - came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out."
If you've ever read Genesis 1 you know what John is talking about. In the very beginning God spoke. The words of God wove everything into being, called everything into existence. He created, formed and painted with words. The artist in God was The Word. Nothing found its shape without him. Nothing. What came out of that spectacular, miraculous mystery was Life. The Life-Light. God did something else with his words. He separated the light from the dark. He sent one in one direction, one in another. There is no darkness in light. In fact the darkness runs from light.
We get that too, don't we? We know the thrill of a hero standing up to great and opposing darkness. Something inside of us rises up and cheers for the victory of a small light standing against a looming darkness.
Now here's the thing, here's what soothed my restless heart last night. This Life-Light - that is what lives and moves and has its home on the throne of our hearts. In the holy of holies, the deepest parts of God's temple, our hearts, is the creative, darkness conquering Life-Light. Jesus.
As we lay on our mats last night, finding our Victorious Breath, we visualized the Light of Jesus pressing out of our hearts in every direction, in every inhale, pushing back the darkness. On the exhale, we found rest. Every inhale pushed the darkness back father and farther. Every exhale gave us respite. Throughout class, I kept seeing it, sensing it. The darkness comes for us all, doesn't it? Lies about our bodies, our marriages, our parenting, our success our communities, our destinies. Fear about our future, shame over our past. Desperation. Depression. Loneliness. Uncertainty. Insecurity. It comes for all of us.
But, here on the very throne of our existence, is the conquering Light that spoke those words, who IS The Word. At the very beginning of time, the Being that created us, formed us and breathed His own life into us, started something. He flung the darkness and the light away from one another. They became opposing forces. They are wildly unreconciled.
Which made me think of The Vision by Pete Greig, and this part in particular:
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday. They wouldn't even notice. They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the west was won. They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations. They need no passport.. People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence. They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying. What is the vision ? The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes. It makes children laugh and adults angry. It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars. It scorns the good and strains for the best. It is dangerously pure.
Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation. It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games. This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause. A million times a day its soldiers choose to lose that they might one day win the great 'Well done' of faithful sons and daughters.
Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don't need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: "COME ON!"
I can't tell you how much every single inch of my existence leans into those words. My obedience has cost my everything. Not just once, but every single day. I have to choose to follow through on what He's asked of me every moment of every day. Do you know why I do it? Because there is Light sitting on the throne of my life. I am rooted and have my being in Him. I am sustained by The Word in ways I can't explain. I am bolstered and propelled forward by the hope I have in His faithfulness to me. To be rebellious to Jesus would mean denying my own self. I would have to turn my back on every moment of healing, every time he has comforted me when there was no one else, every second of being Sustained by a force that I could never define. He is more, friends. Always more. If he seems small to you, try being obedient in a way that will cost you everything you have. Strip away your small perspective and maybe you'll find him to be the very Source that put everything in its place.
As you settle into your own day, full of conversations, decisions and expectations, remember Who sits on the throne of your life. Remember who dwells in the depths of your soul. Remember whose you are. Whether today is a caviar kind of day, or a bread crust kind of day, nothing significant has changed. You. Are. His.
And He is the Life Light.