Keeping Reality Straight

I have been reading Richard John Neuhaus’ Death on a Friday Afternoon about the seven statements Jesus made on the cross. I was so encouraged by his perspective on what is to live in the real world. Here he tells us how easily we mistake the real world where God dwells for the false world that occupies so much of our attention.

As we come out of a movie theater and shake our heads to clear our minds of another world where we lived for a time in suspended disbelief, as we reorient ourselves to reality, so we leave our (spiritual) contemplation… where for a time another world seemed possible, believable, even real.  But we tell ourselves, the real world is a world elsewhere.  It is the world of deadlines to be met, of appointments to be kept, of taxes to be paid, of children to be educated.  From here, from this moment at the cross, it is a distant country.  “Father forgive them, for they have forgotten the way home. They are misplaced in the real world.”  Here, here at the cross is the real world.”  (p. 5-6)

It is so easy to mistake the distractions of this world for reality itself, when it is only an illusion. The real world is in Father’s heart, where we’ve been invited to be at home in him in everything we do and in every circumstance that confronts us. There is no greater reality than our life in him, and his life in us. We do well to keep that in focus every day, or else the distractions and chores of living in this world will define or reality and diminish our awareness of him in all of life.

Toward the end of the book he reminds us again that when we live in God’s reality it permeates all that we do. It is just as spiritual to work on your car or decorate your house as it is to pray, gather with other believers or share his life with someone who is lost. When we live as his, his glory shines through our lives no matter what we might be doing at any given moment.

The Christian life is about living to the glory of God.  It is not a driven, frenetic sweated interminable quest for saving souls.  It is doing for his glory what God has given us to do.  As with the Olympic runner in the film "Chariots of Fire", it is giving God pleasure in what we do well.  Souls are saved by saved souls who live out their salvation by thinking and living differently, with a martyr’s resolve, in a world marked by falsehood, baseness, injustice, impurity, ugliness and mediocrity. (p. 180)

I’m convinced we best demonstrate God’s life when we are least aware of it. When we are trying too hard we are only acting and the world sees it instantly even if we don’t. They are not looking for actors on a stage, but people who live God’s reality in the simplicity of their lives. When we live deeply in him throughout each day he makes himself known in ways that will even surprise us. And it won’t be fake or artificial because it comes from reality not pretense.

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6 Comments
  1. Bruce July 29, 2004 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks Wayne. I desperately needed to hear that right now. God bless you

  2. Matt July 29, 2004 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks, Wayne. This was timely for me too. I’ve been finding myself a little confused and overwhelmed by circumstances and thoughts, and I need to be reminded to keep my awareness on Father.

  3. Bruce July 29, 2004 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks Wayne. I desperately needed to hear that right now. God bless you

  4. Matt July 29, 2004 at 8:41 pm

    Thanks, Wayne. This was timely for me too. I’ve been finding myself a little confused and overwhelmed by circumstances and thoughts, and I need to be reminded to keep my awareness on Father.

  5. Miss O'Hara August 2, 2004 at 12:07 pm

    Wow. I really needed to read this! Thanks so much. You are *such* a blessing, and I’ve only just discovered you!

  6. Miss O'Hara August 2, 2004 at 3:07 pm

    Wow. I really needed to read this! Thanks so much. You are *such* a blessing, and I’ve only just discovered you!

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