“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.”
— Chuck Palahniuk (“Fight Club”)
Opportunities at spiritualism are vast today and we might think that any old spiritualism will do in wrestling ourselves free from the grip of materialism in our want-for-nothing age. Typically one might ‘try on’ various forms of religion as well as many forms of discrete spiritualities—even to self-worship; but the point becomes moot. All of it falls flat.
There comes a time when just about every spirituality fails the test; if the world is not enough—and materialism just cannot cut it when it comes to the objective of sustainability—then spiritualities inspired of the world cannot cut it either.
We need a spirituality that breaks past the shallowness of human-bound religion. We need a spirituality that frees us from rules and transcends them. We need a spirituality that is inspired of—and has its genesis in—God (the one and only true and living God).
And this is where the true gospel of Jesus Christ shatters every other conception for the freedom we instinctually pine for. This true gospel takes us in a new direction, primed with hope and energised in love—a direction that never ends and just grows.
The truth is we need grace.
We need grace not simply for the forgiveness of sins—which is an understatement of graphic proportions—but we need it to understand we have nothing if we don’t have God, yet everything of value has its basis in him alone.
My Direct Personal Experience
The worst thing that ever happened to me became the best thing, and this upside-down reality is so typical of how God works in the worst of all situations.
Having lost my family, and having to deconstruct my life, in rebuilding my identity, I came to appreciate the simplicity in having basically nothing left that I cared about. And although I still had some things I cherished, at least there was a glimpse of that ‘lost-everything’ reality.
God showed me how rich he was through my comprehensive grief. Overnight it seemed that having lost everything I gained everything that I never had. In the blink of an eye, as I look back, everything I ever wanted came as a result of the thing I would never have wanted.
This was real. Pain like this I had never experienced. Yet on the opposite side of the pain was the richest of all spiritualities. Having been ‘a Christian’ for 13 years I suddenly realised that I never truly new Christ until now. What a testimony to God’s grace this was. The living God—the Holy Spirit—came into my life like an insurgence and will never leave.
Sometimes we have to lose what’s most dear to us to finally gain what we always wanted but could never get of our own effort.
The world is not enough; we need more. And not just any old spirituality will do. We need the grace of God to understand the upside-down nature of life. The more we give away and the less we have, the more content we are and the more we know God and the more this life makes sense.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.