Free Your Mind

The above clip is from the 1999 movie “The Matrix.” This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Many people do not know this, but the films original storyboard was based on a loose interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think this film has tons of spiritual implications, but we will only discuss one of them today.

Question:

Do you ever hope that there is more to this life?

I do, all the time! I hope that God exists; I hope that God’s plans are sovereign; I hope that God’s plans are good; I hope that my life has a distinct plan; etc. The list goes on.

I wonder a lot about the future- what it will look like, how I will look, etc. I believe that we learn from our pasts, but our futures shape our hearts. What I mean is this: we learn from our past. We learn what to do, what not to do, what we are good at, and what we are not good at. But the future is where our hope lies. We long to know what’s next, who will be there with us, and how long it will take to get there. I believe that it is in those longings, we become who we were meant to be. I believe that it is in those longings God reveals Himself.

Faith

In Hebrews chapters 10 and 11, the significance of faith is revealed to us. Chapter 11 verses 1-2 gives us the definition: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people of old earned a good reputation.” NLT

The author, then, continues by leaving us an extensive list of the OT patriarchs and the example of their faith.

Back to the clip

In the clip, Morpheus told Neo that he would have to free his mind in order to leap from one building to the next. As we saw from the clip, Neo didn’t make the jump, but fell to the street.

I can’t help but wonder if this concept is what the Bible is hinting at in its discussion of faith. The “people of old” apparently had great faith and because of that great faith they were able to accomplish some amazing tasks, such as: be taken into heaven without death, start a new nation, have a child when the womb is barren, lead hundreds of people out of the captivity of Egypt, split the Red Sea, and to destroy a city with only marching and horns.

As seen in Hebrews, faith grants God’s people the ability to accomplish amazing tasks.

But there’s a down side to it: No faith=no action. I believe that the author of Hebrews intentionally leaves out the countless stories of people who didn’t have faith for a reason- that reason being they don’t add too much to the grand story of the Bible. I mean, who wants to read about a bunch of people who did the average thing? Who wants to follow in the footsteps of the person who did only mediocre? I know I don’t!

The society we live in tells us that things can only be accomplished by measurable statistics or scientific norms. I can’t seem to give in so easily to this idea. I can’t do so, because my life has been filled with the opposite of the norm.

I have experienced countless moments of doubt on the behalf of others. I have been told time and time again that I “can’t do that.” But every time, God has made a way through. If statistics are always correct then I am the abnormality. If the statistics were correct in my life, I should be a lot farther down the social ladder than I am. To put it another way, my nurturing should have produced different.

I believe that this is because of faith. Faith is what drives my longings for the future. Faith is what gives me hope for the future. Faith is what gives my life purpose in the present. Faith is what gives me strength to carry on in the hard times. And, I am where I am here and now, because I have faith in someone who is not seen and that someOne has given me the strength to do the impossible.

But as you noticed from the clip, “no one makes the first jump.” My faith has been rocked on more than a couple of times. I’ve stepped out into the unknown with the hopes that God would provide and ended up at a dead-end; only to turn back around and go right back to where I didn’t want to go. Those moments have left me with questions, but not doubt.

Questions prevent us from doing stupid things, doubt cripples us from doing anything. I’ve acquired quite a few questions along the way, but so far I haven’t been crippled.

Final Thought

Faith is freeing your mind to the things unseen. Believing that the impossible is possible through means that are outside of yourself.

When you find that place of faith, you’ll be able to leap the largest gap, fight the strongest villain, and find the purest of loves.

Reckless Abandonment

Standing atop a rock deep in the woods. The sounds of birds chirping in the distance. A light breeze blowing across my face. I stand there, arms spread wide and red cape (Mom’s new red towel) flapping in the wind. “I am Superman!” I cry out. I close my eyes, lean forward, and jump!

Then it happens… the most amazing thing happens… Reckless abandonment happens…

Today

Today marks the first day of my reckless abandonment.

As I sit here and write, my mind is reminded of the disciples decision to leave their nets and follow Jesus. I understand that my decision to step out on faith is quit different in subject, but I’m not too certain it is any different in the realm of  faith. I’m not stepping away from a great paying job, with great benefits, a 401k, and prestige. But I am stepping into the unknown, learning to trust God is a new situation.

Matthew 4:18-20

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.”

I’ve imagined what it was like for the disciples to walk away from the fishing boat to pursue another kind of fishing. I’d imagine their hearts were filled with excitement, curiosity, and even a little nervousness.

Context

Now I understand that it was every little boys dream in ancient cultures to follow a Rabbi. For them it was kinda like getting a full ride to a five-star college. They would have been extremely excited to get this opportunity. So dropping their nets may or may not have been a very hard thing to do.

I can relate to their initial excitement and nervousness, as I recall similar feelings when I left for school in 2005. In light of $30,000 of students loans I knew I would receive, I knew that God was calling me to something extraordinary- something I’d never experienced until that point. I would be the first in my immediate family to go to college!

Everything worked out in the end, God provided a substantial amount of money to pay off most of the loans; and God let me meet my beautiful wife there. But, He also taught me something in the process- following Him may not always makes sense at the time, but it’s always worth while!

Today those feelings have returned as I step out into the unknown in reckless pursuit of what God has been doing in my heart.

I’m sure the disciples had no idea what to expect following this new Rabbi. I’m sure they had no idea the things they would learn along the way. I’m also sure they had no idea the trials they would face, as  they traded their old fishing equipment for a new kind of spiritual fishing equipment.

Clarification

A cool think to notice in this story is that the disciples didn’t change from being fishermen; the only thing that changed was what they were fishing for. Jesus said, “Follow me and I’ll show you how to be fishers of men.”

I know that I may be stretching the significance of this passage a little, but understand what I’m trying to say. The disciples left one calling in life for a new one that Jesus placed before them. They left one occupation that had proven results, an occupation they were comfortable with, an occupation they knew, to chase a new destination that was somewhat unknown.

I wonder what was going through their heads when Jesus asked them to be fishers of men: “I wonder what this fishing for men thing is like? It sounds a little crazy, don’t you think? I wonder if I can even do it? I’m curious, I’m going for it!”

Reckless Abandon

When I began this blog today, I started with a story of little boy tying to fly. That little boy was me. I tried to fly a lot- even though I never seemed to master it.

I feel kind of like I just stepped off that rock in the woods again. I’m flying for a brief moment- waiting for the ground to arrive back under my feet- only to land again, being changed by the experience.

When I think about my life in association with that of the original disciples, I can’t help but wonder the difference.

From the outside looking in, people may have said, “They are crazy! Why would they give up a great position like that?” But let’s think about the significance of the situation: If they didn’t go when asked, they would have  not only been disobedient, but they would have missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime! The opportunity to experience God’s new work first hand. The experience of seeing Jesus do the impossible.

Now, I’ve seen Jesus do the impossible in my life before; and let me add that it was awesome! But seeing Jesus do one miracle isn’t enough for me, I want to continue seeing Jesus do the amazing. I’d imagine that’s the same way the disciples felt during the course of those three years before Christ’s death. It didn’t matter what came their way, or what they would have to sacrifice along the way, all that mattered was seeing Jesus in action!

This is how I honestly feel- I want to see Jesus the impossible again!

I want to run with my eyes closed, I want to jump without knowing where I land, I want to recklessly abandon the known for the unknown- because I want to see Jesus do amazing things!

Conclusion

Pretending to fly was an invigorating experience as a kind. It was in those times that we felt most alive. It was because of those experiences that we felt the most changed.

We felt so alive because we stepped out on faith, knowing that God would see us safely home at the end of the day. We felt the most changed from those experiences because we saw God do just that- see us safely home!

God is a big God and calls us to big tasks. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see God do the impossible. I’m excited to get to experience His love in a new way. And I trust that my landing will be soft and I will be changed for it.