He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” — Revelation 21:5
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! — 2 Corinthians 5:17
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. — John 10:10
Before the awakening I was doped up, anesthetitized — all senses numb to the world around me. Half-dead, like someone in a deep depression. Confused about what’s real, what’s not, who I am. The world, really my gross misconceptions of it, consisted of all that related to me — all that I deemed important. I believed reality corresponded to my own deadened perceptions.
I was near-sighted. The world, mostly black and white, laced with grays. I saw shadows, but not the things themselves. Colors — I lacked the sheer joy of seeing and experiencing their brilliant tones, their finely distinguished hues. I didn’t notice inimitable details in a flower or in a painting or in a face. I didn’t see particular shapes and trees and lives. On walks, I was concerned only with starting and finishing; I didn’t observe the distinctive playfulness, personality, and face of the dogs exploring the world. All ran together. All blended into a glob of gray.
I had only heard about the goodness, love, incomprehensibility, mercy, grace, immanence, transcendence, salvation, and glory of God. I hadn’t tasted it. I’d get excited to taste test some new experience and found all I tasted to be dull — bland, bland, bland. Unsatisfactory. In the end, meaningless — no richness or lingering taste in my mouth. Many times it was bitter, yet sometimes it was honey to my lips and poison to my system. Nothing was as tasty as it was made out to be.
What I touched had no texture. If it did, I didn’t really feel it. Jagged edges, the furry, and the fluffy, hot or cold, soft and rigid — all pretty much the same. No fine distinctions. The touch of the Divine Presence upon me, upon the earth? His glory was muted. Yes, I thought the touch of the Almighty Presence was muted throughout the world, in some places non-existent. I smelled stale, polluted air. Coughing racked my lungs. Where was the pure fresh air?
But ever since Christ set me free from hellish captivity he has given me, as Henry Drummond writes, “the liberty to stop sinning, to leave the prison of my passions, and shake off the fetters of my past.” Ever since, I have been redeemed from the prison, saved, forgiven, I have been made and continue to be made fully alive, new. He has awakened me from the dead. Life, the world, is no longer about my interests. But he’s not doing that for me alone. He does that for all who allow him and for creation. The book of Romans tells us that animals, plants — all life forms groan for that redemption too. He is making all things new. He is redeeming me. He wants to redeem you — to show you what it is like to be human, the way he intended you to be. And he is redeeming creation. I see reality for what it is: it is about his motivation, his interests, his Kingdom — others. He is in the process of making all things new — people and this earth. I was blind, but now I see.
Now, I am continually silenced by the glory of God. My mouth hangs open in gaping wonder as the Great Almighty Presence, the one true God, through Christ, haunts my every waking moment. He clings to each of my thoughts. Holy Spirit Wind, Pneuma, kisses my face, rustles through my hair and I see evidences of the Spirit blowing through, touching the lives of peoples and institutions and creation. God, in the Spirit of Christ, calls me to love my neighbors, all those around, and he wants to redeem peoples and earth through me and through those in the kingdom.
Ah! I inhale, I breathe pure Holy Spirit air. My lungs are made strong. I see colors, particularities, details, God seeping through all things — he’s not the same as his creation, but his fingerprint is everywhere. He captures me, vivifies me with his presence. I’ve tasted his love and goodness and transcendence, and immanence, and salvation. God’s pleasures and sorrows are mine.
So now what? He hasn’t called me to live for myself, but for his pleasure and sorrow. I have an assignment in the kingdom. And so do you. He wants to make you fully alive. He wants you live for his motivations, interests, pleasures and pains. In short, he wants to make you like Christ. This is the God of the universe, who calls you to have life in Christ. This is the God who calls you to love him, enjoy him, and enjoy all that emanates from him forever. He has your best in mind. Too many Christians and those who know little about him see him as stingy and harsh and overbearing — not as the God he claims to be. See him for who he is. See reality for what it is. Live in him — be fully alive.