To guide your summer getaway book selections, try this formula: E=FB²
Eckhart Tolle wrote a book called The Power of Now, which you may read with some profit, as we oft do the writings of unbelievers when their insights are in the direction of reality. But outsiders to the kingdom, at their best, still see "men like trees walking," not as they are. What is "the power of now" for the child of God?
I have hinted in past weeks of a glorious upset in my life. It concerns, in a nutshell, a clearer apprehension of the truth that God "has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3).
To my joy, I have accidentally (as accidents go in this Personal universe) stumbled upon confirmation of my new fanaticism in Francis Schaeffer, such that you will have to dismiss him to dismiss me. He writes in True Spirituality:
"When a man does learn the meaning of the work of Christ in the present life, a new door is open to him. And this new door then seems to be so wonderful that often it gives the Christian, as he begins to act upon the knowledge of faith, the sense of something that is as new as was his conversion. And it has been true for many of us that at a certain point, after we have been Christians for a long time, suddenly through the teaching of the Bible-directly or through someone teaching us [joyful fanatics]-we have seen the meaning of the work of Christ and the blood of Jesus Christ for our present life, and a new door opens for us."
Let me be plain: I have come to the conclusion that no one ever lived the Christian life "in general," or by faith in the abstract. No one ever laid hold of the benefits in Christ except by believing Him in this present moment. This is strenuous and conscious and constant believing. The kingdom of God comes and "the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12). They sue for grace. They say, like Jacob, "I won't let you go until you bless me." They ransack God's Word for promises. They believe them like a 5-year-old and not like a sophisticate. They prefer the plain meaning to the obscurantist theology of unbelief. They call forth what's theirs in Christ without double-mindedness.
Francis Schaeffer puts it well: Strenuous believers say "the reality of the resurrection is not something to push off into a strange dimension. It is meaningful in our normal dimension." They redefine normal: "The fruits are normal; not to have them is not to have the Christian life which should be considered usual." They get specific: They insist that God "increase" their love (1 Thessalonians 3:12). They expect Him to do "far more abundantly than all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). They refuse to see as hyperbole, "All things are possible for one who believes" (Mark 9:23). They settle for no less than being "filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).
In short, strenuous believers think this filling must be more than the ho-hum experience they've known so far. They look at the size of their problems and then look at the size of Resurrection power and decide there's no contest. Scripture tells them to desire the best gifts, so they get to working on it right away. They won't water down the promise that "whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works" (John 14:12). They believe in spirits, and spirit warfare, and the weaponry for it.
I've whined so much about a poor memory, depression, and insomnia that a friend suggested I take a bottle of "white out" and delete Philippians 4:13 since I wasn't using it anyway. Francis Schaeffer agreed with him: "Faith is simply believing God. . . . It is ceasing to call God a liar. . . . There are oceans of grace which wait. Orchard upon orchard waits, vineyard upon vineyard of fruit waits. There is only one reason why they do not flow out through the Christian's life, and that is that the instrumentality of faith is not being used."
I am hitching my wagon to the radical practitioners of now, to those who take the adventure that Aslan hands them, scary but exciting, "the impossible situation in which everything is staked solely on the word of Jesus" (The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer).