Are You Living Alone?

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.’
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
’They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.’
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
— A Miktam Of David

I was recanting a particularly tough season of my life with a young man I have been meeting with recently.  I had made a royal mess of things in my family and marriage.  The insular life I was leading was hallmarked by:

  • No deep personal friendships
  • No conversational intimacy with God
  • An intellectual and legalistic approach to faith
  • Detachment from any real feelings

Most people would have defined my life as looking pretty “right.”  Beautiful wife, model children, a great career, and ministry involvement of all kinds.  I was seen as a leader in virtually every circle that eclipsed my life.

What most didn’t know was that I was almost completely relying on my own strength.  My desire for affirmation and approval out of the fractured path of my childhood and early adult years, was all-consuming.  Even my most significant ministry involvement was designed for self-preservation and validation.

Feeling completely abandoned and unfulfilled by the illusion of the perfect life that I constructed around myself (that was actually more of a sarcophagus), I cried out to God.  Spinning for hours on my old Cannondale precariously balanced on my wind trainer in the damp dark air of my garage, the deepest need and desire of my heart was met.  I realized something that even the deepest investment in my Christian faith had eluded me:

The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart

Head knowledge of God was important, but could not sustain.  Rules, tips, and techniques were important for behavior modification, but sustaining, generative, and transforming power comes only from walking in conversational intimacy with the Father.  He didn’t come to validate a rule book, but to establish relationship, to reconnect us to the only source of true life that matters.  Relationship led to revelation.  It was the key to unlocking all the treasures of the Kingdom.  Every day has looked differently for me and increasingly so for those I love and lead.

  1. Do you feel alone?
  2. Does your faith look more like stuff to do than a relationship to nurture?
  3. Do you have the courage to stop doing so much, learning so much, and simply be still and quiet enough to find transformational heart knowledge of God?