“It’s a dangerous business, walking out of one’s front door.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
If I’m being honest, most days I feel incompetent. I’m a nineteen year old kid with dreams as vast as the ocean, yet I still find it difficult to get out of bed before 8:00 A.M. Lately, the dreams I have while asleep seem better than the dreams I have for my own life. I feel small. Unnoticed. Frail. Accidental. My self-confidence is wavering. I’ve jumped out of a plane, yet still find it difficult to initiate conversations. I’ve jumped off cliffs, yet have never asked a girl on a date. My life seems like a contradiction, a paradox. I’ve witnessed the Kingdom of Heaven advance as people are miraculously healed, yet still find myself doubting the very God who I profess healed them. There are some days when I walk around with the confidence of Mufasa, and other days when I walk around with the confidence of a neutered house cat. And it’s not a coincidence that the days I feel like a lion are the days when I am not in my house. After all, a lion was not meant to live in a cage, and neither was a man. Man was created to be wild and free, reflecting the glory of His Creator and enjoying a life of freedom and adventure. Yet, more often than not, man is tame and docile, relying on caffeine to get through each day and spending the majority of his time behind a computer screen. Man was created to reign and rule, but in a strange turn of events, man’s own inventions now reign and rule over him.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Not for me. Not for you. There is a better way to life. There is a life that we can live that we would love, but it’s gonna take a battle to get there. It’s gonna take a warrior. We live outside of Eden, and if we want to step back in to the Garden, we are going to have to put up a fight. The Kingdom of Darkness is at work doing whatever it takes to prevent men from discovering the weight of glory and freedom found within Christ. Perhaps the best tool for the Enemy is religion. If he can get a man to become obsessed with theological doctrine and rules rather than allow him to experience and seek the Kingdom of God, he doesn’t need to do much more. Too many men spend their days subconsciously held captive by the Enemy; they know the Word, but they don’t practice it. They have Scripture written on their hearts, but their own pride keeps them from applying it. A man may know he would be healed if he confessed his sin, yet the same man has no friends to confess his sin to. A man may know the theological premise behind marriage, yet is fearful of intimacy and vulnerability with his wife. He may be a wise and devout Believer, but has no idea how to talk to his son about sex. This is exactly what the Enemy wants: men who may know the Truth, but do not fully live it out, whether due to fear, doubt, pride, hardness of heart, etc. The Enemy wants men to be comfortable. Distract them with whatever he can: porn, sports, work, hobbies…heck, even church and Bible studies. Do whatever it takes to prevent them from stepping out in vulnerability and faith into the world of freedom, confidence, and Life. The Enemy knows that the man who steps out of his front door is a dangerous man. That man is a man who will change the world — a man who God will use to advance the Kingdom of Heaven. But God knows that the man who stays in his house — who stays in his comfort zone — is a dangerous man. A man who is afraid of vulnerability, who is afraid of intimacy, who is afraid of change, who is afraid of discomfort — that man is far closer to Hell than the prostitute. Not despite his self-righteousness, but exactly because of it.
I can confidently say that the greatest experiences of my life have been when I have taken a step of faith and walked out of my front door, allowing the Spirit to take me on grand adventures and capers, as well as lead me into places of immense darkness and hurt. The presence of Jesus is both the most dangerous and the safest place to be in all creation. Stepping in faith has led me to having an allergic reaction in Mexico, skydiving in rural Georgia, and roaming the streets of Kingston. By walking in faith and trust, God has used my brokenness to help bring healing to others. He has continually been faithful and sufficiently provided every needed thing for this broken man who doubts like Thomas and denies like Peter. He has invited me into the wonderful world of the one true Kingdom and the one true humanity. He never offers an answer to my pain, brokenness, and confusion. But He does offer Himself, and He says that in Him is where I will find Life, and Life abundant.
Here’s to all the stories of Life and Love that only come from leaving the house. I pray for the day that all of our lives are so full of Jesus and Eden that Netflix and video games are boring. C.S. Lewis said that perhaps we will one day be old enough again to read fairy tales, and perhaps there will come a day when we will be old enough to live them out, too.