This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’ -Jeremiah 6:16-17 NIV
A few weeks ago I spoke with a young man about reincarnation. He had described his syncretism as a Non-Fundamentalist Christianity and believed that reincarnation was essential to the perfection of our souls. “One lifetime is just not enough time to get it right,” he said.
My first response was, “I believe in reincarnation too, just not in the same way. If you look to the Bible for truth it seems clear that we only get one life to figure it out. For me, every second; every thought, word and deed, is an opportunity for a new beginning. In an instant, I am reborn, and the trajectory of my life can be changed for the better. One life offers everything we need!”
But then I realized he was right about one thing. We will never get it right in this life. None are good enough in the end, particularly if the standard is perfection or some sufficient amount of holiness. On our own, we are unable live up to the highest standards established by God and God’s laws. Without help, in the end, we all fall short (Romans 3:22-23)!
What I forgot to tell this amazing young man, was that we don’t have to achieve perfection on our own, and certainly, we all need help! That’s where the Bible comes in, offering the ultimate prescription for perfecting our lives. We have an advocate to the Father; Jesus Christ the Righteous (1 John 2:1). The sacrifice of Jesus was made to reunite each of us to God, and in His sacrifice, we are redeemed and made whole. This is a great Christian paradox: by the blood of Jesus we are made perfect in God’s eyes, and yet we must then march through life trying to live up to all that undeserved grace by becoming what we were meant to be. As we surrender to God’s perfect will for our lives, and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we can change our spiritual trajectory and move towards the perfection that we have been offered by Jesus. We don’t have to get it right ourselves because God has made it right for us. We have only to receive God’s powerful blessing by faith and live by God’s Holy Spirit. When we seek God’s will, His perfect plan for our lives is revealed.
So to my syncretistic, “Non-Fundamentalist Christian” friends, I encourage you to seek truth in life and hunger for wisdom. These are offered in abundance by God who is constantly speaking to us through His magnificent creation; through his written and living word; by his Holy Scriptures; and through the examples in the lives of those who have surrendered their will to God’s perfect will (Psalm 19). In this we are transformed into the people we were meant to be in the first place.
Wisdom is there for the taking, dispensed in good measure by the unseen hand of God, neither instant nor finite. It is specific to each, because it recognizes each as their own. Only as we surrender all, is it fully given. The steps towards this perfect thing, in perfect timing, in perfect measure, are laid out before us by God if we but ask; if we but listen. – Wisdom of the Hidden Places
Today’s reading: Sunday Joshua 12–13; Psalm 145; Jeremiah 6; Matthew 20
God our Father in Heaven, please give us the faith to hear your voice, to see your hand, to receive your grace, and to receive your power to seek your will. Amen.