We need to press further into understanding Christ as the only right foundation for all of life, and find our way into making this a present reality. We need to break out of correct religious rhetoric and find that inner set point where our responses, reactions and worldview are defined by who Jesus is and the principles by which His kingdom functions. As we look at the scriptures, we see an example that gives us language for our own experience. This example is found in John 6:25. In this encounter Jesus reveals to his disciples that he is the “bread of life”. There is much that unfolds in this encounter but I want to take us to the conclusion. Jesus’ statement about being the bread of life causes such a stir that “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him”. Jesus asked the remaining twelve if they wanted to leave as well. Their answer lays the foundation for our own life in God and the process of setting him as the center point for our lives. They replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”(John 6.68). What an answer and what a statement of faith. To whom shall we go? Where else can we look? We are convinced that you are the Holy one of God. For all the options that were presented to the disciples and to us, the only right answer is where else can we go? You are the Holy one of God. A door opens in the inner part of our being that ushers in divine life when we come to the same place of confession. “Lord, where else can I go? You are life to me”.
This moment of confession comes consistently and over time. Consistently in the sense that once discovered it becomes the ongoing confession of a normal Christian life. It is perfectly natural and normal to understand spiritual life from the perspective that Jesus is the source of divine life and that we are designed by God to be partakes of that life. “As we increasingly integrate our life into the spiritual world of God, our life increasingly takes on the substance of the eternal” (Dallas Willard The Divine Conspiracy) Our prayer life begins to take on the flavor of dependency as we confess our realization that Jesus is the only sure foundation for our lives and spiritual expression. It is a powerful and defining moment when we can say to Lord, “Where else can we go? You are the Holy one of God”. This comes over time in the sense that for many of us we have to increasingly understand who Jesus is and what it is that he has accomplished. Certainly most would say that He is the Son of God and what he accomplished was our redemption from sin. Certainly this is true, but if we turn a page or two in our understanding we can begin to see that Jesus is all that we need for this life.
Throughout his time on earth, Jesus reveals to us aspects of God’s nature that frame up for us the truth that he is all that we need. Certainly, he is the bread of life in the sense that he is the one who sustains us. He defines himself as the way, the truth and the life. He is the light of the world, the resurrection and the life. He is living water and a host of other characteristics and attributes that position him to be all that we need, and give us the revelation to say with the twelve, “Where else can we go”? As we see him in scripture declaring who he is, we have an open invitation to come and partake of the attribute we see. By confession of faith, we can partake of him as our life, light, and love.
As Willard said, we integrate our life into the spiritual world of God, thus becoming, as Peter would write, partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1.4) This participation in the divine nature comes as we begin to say yes to an already established reality. The established reality is that we are designed by God to function on this level spiritually. We must understand that being spiritual is not just something we ought to be in the sense that some people would say that they ‘need to be more spiritual’, but rather spirituality as something we are and cannot escape, regardless of how we may think or feel about it. It is how we are designed and created. To live outside this reality is to live or exist below our purpose, resulting in the loss of divine life.
In his book The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley remarks, “Most men and women lead lives at the worst – so painful, at the best – so monotonous, poor and limited that the urge to escape, the longing to transcend themselves if only for a few minutes, is and has always been one of the principle appetites of the soul’ They are relentlessly driven to seek, in HG Well’s phrase ‘Doors in the Wall that entombs them in life’” (Dallas Willard). I believe that this statement is true and descriptive for many Christians who have settled for a life in God that is less than what is intended. How many long for the abundant life that Jesus spoke about but experience the monotonous boredom of western Christianity? Clearly, there is little doubt that there is more involved in our life in God than showing up on Sunday to hear the sermon while we wait to die and go to heaven. I would say that we become partakers of the divine nature as we come to the point as the twelve when we say that, “in this life where else would go”. As we come to this point, we actually become rightly positioned to function as we are designed to function and begin to live from a center of divine life. Let me encourage you to become a participant in divine life by shaping your prayer life around the theme of “Where else can we go? You are the Holy one from God”
by Michael Banes, Forge Joplin Co-Director