Dropping the Defences

Karate Kick

“A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley

It would be wonderful if we could drop our defences completely with one another. Be free to bare our souls, our cracks, our joys unhindered by fear or experiences of reproach. It takes a lot of mental energy to maintain those defences, valuable energy which wastes away in the process, forfeiting the opportunity to channel itself into something holy and beautiful.

Jesus had no defences; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and breathed not one word of justification. Jesus knew what was in man, He had no need for anyone to remind Him of the fickleness of human nature, yet He lived His life boldly in the face of exposure to mockery, jealous backlashes and the attention of hungry crowds.

Maybe we could let down our defences and let ourselves be seen as God sees us. When we live before Him we live transparently regardless of our attempts to be otherwise. God sees past our defences and loves us deeper still.

Why do we need to justify our stories? Every person’s encounter with Christ looks different. Every person’s experience of God is different. Every person’s understanding of how He moves in our lives is different.

Yes, there are always fundamental principles and truths… but no set of fingerprints are the same, no snowflake that falls replicates another.

If we laid down our defences I am convinced others would more clearly see Christ formed in us. If we uncovered the treasure within these earthen vessels and admitted once and for all that it’s Christ in us who is our hope of glory.

How liberatingly beautiful it would be to join Paul, to be unafraid and unashamed to say:

‘My experience of the law is that when I want to do good, only evil is within my reach. For I am in hearty agreement with God’s law so far as my inner self is concerned. But then I find another law in my bodily members, which is in continual conflict with the law which my mind approves, and makes me a prisoner to the law of sin which is inherent in my mortal body. For left to myself, I serve the law of God with my mind, but in my unspiritual nature I serve the law of sin. It is an agonising situation, and who can set me free from the prison of this mortal body? I thank God there is a way out through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 7 v 21-25

Maybe it is no coincidence that Paul was one of the most influential men in the early church. He was aware of himself, but better still- he was acutely aware of God.

Journey of a Lifetime

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Over the mountains, over the sea
Here You come running, my Lover to me
Oh, through the valleys, through the dark of night
Here You come running, to hold me till it’s light’- ‘Song of Solomon’ Jesus Culture

The love that our God personifies is limitless. It is tenacious in its pursuit, fearless in controversy and steadfast through the worst of times.

We will be discovering it for the rest of our lives, both now and in eternity. Psalm 63 v 3 makes a bold declaration;

‘Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.’

Better than life…. Imagine that.

I know I have a long way to go before I even touch the surface of that awareness, the knowledge deep within that His love is better than life itself.

This means His love is better than any aspect and domain of life on this Earth. This is huge; hard for my finite mind to fully understand.

Life is precious, life is a gift and life is uniquely beautiful- But the Psalmist makes it clear that despite all of that, it does not compare to the love of our Almighty God.

We are not there yet; we have not yet experienced the depths of His love. This should not be discouraging or frustrating to us but rather compelling. Compelling us to continue on the journey with God, knowing there is rich treasure awaiting us.

Do those in our lives who are yet to know Jesus see the journey we are on? Have we shared about the discoveries along the way? Have we spoken in awe of the depths of His love? The glimpses we experience along the way?

I believe we should. They need to know we have not yet arrived at our destination, to stir up curiosity in their souls and provoke them to seek out this beautiful mystery.

We must tell them His love is all consuming; that they could get lost in the depths if they wanted to.

It takes the power of God in our lives to grasp how high and wide and long and deep the love of Christ is (Ephesians 3 v 18). When we come to a place of really knowing the love that surpasses knowledge… We will have arrived.

We will be filled with all the fullness of God.

‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us…’

Where are you on your journey?