Another week, another Wednesday, but no teaching this time. Since we wrapped up our “Made in 3D” series last week at Signal Pres, there’s no teaching prep for me this week. But I thought I would leave you with “how I wanted it to end.” As usual, I had too much to say and did not quite get to land the series as I wanted to. So here is the longer version of some of my closing comments, in rough form, to our 3-week long extended discussions on relationships, sexuality, dating, and friendship.
But let me leave you with one last thought. Everything we’ve talked about – relationships, sexuality, dating, friendship – in the end it is never simply about those things. It has always been about something else: a deeper longing, a deeper restlessness. The “this” of any of your desires has always been about “that” deeper longing. (1)
There’s a bright, clear line that leads from any of our desires here and now to the infinite joy you were made for. The desires we so often settle for here and now are flatter, 1- or 2- dimensional images of the full-orbed life ahead! As Lewis said in the marvelous Weight of Glory,
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy [Life to the full!] is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (2)
It’s so easy to look at your basic desire right now and to unthinkingly grab for it. But pause a moment and ask the question: am I settling for the easy pleasure? the little win?Go ahead and ask the harder question – really ask it, sit with it, explore it: down deep, what am I thirsty for? What am I really longing for? What do I really want? What desires are in me right now, boiling up – whether for good or bad, things that frighten or excite? Do you not know that down deep, your desire is for God himself? And will you take that longing to Jesus and say – I am thirsty: let me drink!
Deep down, all our desire points to God himself. All our restless longing is meant to rest in God himself. Yes, of course we experience a rush of conflicting desires, some rightly-ordered by love, some dis-ordered by sin, but the design of God on your life is to revel in the difference that comes as you live a full life in clear-eyed obedience to Him. The giant difference available to all who live according to God’s grace is that God himself is present with you in the midst of every relationship. I cannot promise you a happy marriage one day, or your dreams come true in dating, or a fulfilled sexuality or a circle of best friends. But the promise on offer is God himself, with you, through His Son and by his Spirit. Over and over, that is the anchor in Scripture.
And it comes with this command: do not be afraid. I am with you. “Made in 3D” was never really just about relationships, sex, dating, and friendship – it was always about God and you and y’all and the flourishing of human life that you were meant to enjoy and show to the world. The glory of God is being fully alive to God, to self, to others, and to His entire creation. May you shine in that way.
(1) For a marvelous and witty layout of that truth, see the section in Rob Bell’s book, “Sex God.”
(2) C.S. Lewis in his essay “The Weight of Glory.”