A zealot among normals/nominals, or simply different among the unique?

A zealot among normals/nominals, or simply different among the unique?

I need to sit down with Glenn Galey or someone else at church who has grown up Christian slowly but surely deepening their faith and their personal connection to God through His Word, rarely straying far when they do stray at all. I need to walk a mile or two in their shoes so I can understand where they come from, because I’m afraid that my experiences are completely bizarre to them, as much so that theirs are to me. I want to understand how you can never experience the scales-falling-from-your-eyes, earth-shattering, blinding revelation of God in your life and yet be as close if not closer to Him than those of us who have. I think I may have to admit to some sinful prejudice here, like most men, but that’s what I want to remedy!

When I stepped back into the light and truly surrendered to God, it was… well, it would be really easy to cheapen with words in a vain attempt to describe it, but I can only liken it to an experience I’ve never had: dying.

No, I’m not kidding. Coming from where I was, with the shell of a man I had constructed around myself based almost entirely on clever deception, smoke and mirrors to make myself seem more than I was, the insecurity, the rage, the utter destructiveness (both self- and in general), it was nothing short of being completely released from the need for all that crap, something utterly out-of-body in nature. It didn’t end there, of course. I had to learn that each day I would be under attack by that old nature, sometimes stealthily, sometimes openly, and that I would need to lean daily (sometimes minute to minute) on the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit to get through the day without serious relapse. Sometimes we have success, sometimes I succumb. The fight continues, but only for the daily moment to moment vulgarities of this present fleshy prison. The war being fought for my soul was decided in that moment where I surrendered, and the freedom simply can’t be described. It has to be experienced to be understood.

(Yeah, I know, I said I would try not to cheapen it with words, and I wrote a freaking paragraph. I’m also a vain, verbose man with serious issues with the idolatry of intellect and the praise of man. God, save me from my own vanity.)

As a result, it’s very difficult for me to understand people whose experience of God has never been so dramatically personal. The whole slow-burn thing I get, and finding God in my day I certainly get, but how can people not get excited about being set free from slavery to sin? I really do not exaggerate when I say that God is present in just about my every waking thought. EVERYTHING is filtered through that lens, everything I do, everything I say, everything I THINK. Do others who haven’t had the radical life-shifting experiences I have think this way? Is there anyone else out there that lives like I do as a result of the Gospel?

Like I told my Dad last night, I feel like a radical amongst the “normal” people, regardless of where we go to church. I have to be careful about how I think about these guys. I do NOT want to discount their faith, but it is SO difficult when we come from such very different places. When I think of the word, “discipleship,” the very first things that pop into my head are Bonhoeffer’s description of “cheap grace” versus “costly grace,” and Jesus’ command for me to take up my cross and follow him, followed shortly by, “if you love me, do as I command.” These things DEFINE the growth of the Holy Spirit in my life, and when I don’t SEE these things in the people around me at church, it makes me self-conscious as hell, lol. I think, “well, am I a budding cult leader or something? Why is mine the only voice raised?”

So yeah, I just don’t understand. I don’t want to make it sound like I hold disdain for people whose faith doesn’t leave them gasping for breath all the time, nor do I want to make it seem like that’s the way it is for me, either. It is simply what I breathe. It has radically altered my life, and made me a radical for Christ in the process. Am I in the minority? Am I crazy? More, am I wrong to have embraced the Gospel like this and made it the center and sustainment of my life? I don’t think so (and scripture supports me pretty spectacularly), but I have been known to be wrong before.

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