BEYOND POVERTY


‘What did you do with your life? St Peter asked the crippled old man as he entered the gates of paradise? ‘I hung on to my stuff,’ he croaked with an air of misplaced satisfaction.
I do not know of any Great Benefactor of Humanity who has made a life out of hanging on to anything that was wrong or irrelevant. ‘Hoarding’ involves a dogged hanging on to what already is and a fearful, often selfish gripping of the status quo as though it is God. In many cases the status is the only god some of us have.

To live from scarcity and to embrace a poverty mentality as a way of life is to limit our vision and shrink ourselves. To live from survival in the face of adequacy or abundance is to retreat from being fully human and adopt the state of the animals whose entire existence is devoted to eating and reproducing. Humans were not made to survive or merely endure. They were made to flourish.

An ‘I’m poor,’ peasant like existence denies our humanity in favor of just existing. Only slightly different from desperation, it narrows our gaze and withers our minds. This is why life in the Spirit is superior to fundamentalism and Christ our life is better than an obsession with the morality and performance. In performance we will still sin. In Christ we will sin also. But this is not who we are in Christ. We possess His life and His righteousness. We are graced with His grace and overflowing with His life. We live the adventure of living life to the full – not from not sinning – but living from life itself.

The majesty of reality is that LIFE IS A PERSON!

Many believers think a purely ‘Christ life’ is too easy. They resent grace. They get bitter about the freedom others live in when they have made a so called Christian life out of endurance and misery. We can never be happy if we do not live in the knowledge that we are deeply loved by God despite ourselves.

A poverty outlook resents the blessing others enjoy, particularly when their ‘blessing’ is un-earned and bestowed by grace or by chance. Not only does a scarcity mentality sour the soul. It promotes arthritis in the joints and stagnation of the brain. It makes legalistic cultures the valleys of dead men’s bones. It takes a generous spirit to rise above conservatism and dogma to live in the freedom of vision, ever new possibility and experience hope in all circumstances.

GOD NEVER CHANGES

People who are still-born in what they have always believed will tell you that God never changes. But He does. He lives in change. The biggest ever change was wrought by the cross and the institution of the new and living way in place of the old and dead way begun by Adam.
God lives in a state of constant becoming. This is the nature of persons and the essence of the trinity. What never changes is His love, His love of life and His love of you. What never changes is His love for us and the fact that He knows us personally and likes us. What never changes is the fact that He is the source of novelty, imagination and an ever unfolding life.

HUNTER-GATHERERS

You can live from Adam and deny your life in the Second Adam if you chose. To live from the tree of death, from the law and a sin mentality is a poverty outlook writ into the deep parts of our being in our carnal state. It locks us into survival when we are the possessors of infinite life. We can live as sons and daughters of the slave woman if we choose – as mendicants, hunter-gatherers and beggars. We can even pretend that we have something to offer the world and other Christians. But we have a poisoned chalice.

Our actual status is royalty. Not only are we sons of God. We are redeemed and re-positioned in the Holy Family as AUTHENTIC SONS who are sons in spirit and in truth. Not only are we one with God. His Spirit is alive in us so that our being is charged with spirit and life.

‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.

SPIRIT AND LIFE is the difference between the death of the law. Spirit and life is the difference between our life in Jesus and our life in Adam.

THE INHERITANCE OF THE FREE WOMAN

You can have the mind of Christ or you can have the mind of Adam and live in self-restraining laws and rules instead of living in a person, a life and a spirit. Sure you might go to heaven but will you will bring heaven to earth? Will your life be so spirit and life that it will never be a train-wreck, so alive that people clearly see there is a real God who heals your crippled nature, demolishes your shame and imparts spirit and life to you on a continual basis?

He who has the son has life. She who does not have the Son is not alive. The law is not alive. Religion is not a life. Christ is your life. You are alive when you embrace what already is: The trinity alive and active in you!

‘Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother’ GAL 4.21-26 NIV.