Before we go further into what the Bible says on attachments, and how this all fits with the theme of this series, it's imperative we consider one vital question:
What exactly do we want to take away from all this? What do we hope to gain from learning of, and taking hold of, our PRESENT Heavenly Residence?
Jedi and Jesuit shun all natural attachments (see post 10A). What they're striving for is the highest, unhindered effectiveness in attaining the objectives of their knightly or priestly order. Because they are fervent about the rightness of their cause, for both groups, "the end justifies the means." They will give their all to ensure that right rules the galaxies, or the pope rules the earth, whatever the cost.
As Christians, we believe OUR cause is noble and right, too! In fact, the highest, most noble and righteous of all, BY A LANDSLIDE.
But that is NOT nearly enough!
God rejects the philosophy of "the end justifies the means" (Romans 3:5-8). Rather, the Bible is clear that "God's work MUST be done in GOD'S WAY" (II Timothy 2:5; I Samuel 15:22)
We want FAR MORE than being Earth's most effective army. We dare not settle for being the most skilled and efficient artisans in accomplishing even the most noble aims!
But let's cut to the chase.
WE WHO NOW GRIEVE -- is it enough for us to "survive" the loss of our loved one? Do we simply, desperately yearn for a reprieve from the pain?
Are we hoping for a Biblical way of saying, "BEAM ME UP, JESUS?!!" A spiritually valid way of escaping our earthly suffering, if only for a moment, while our hearts and minds soar in the heavenlies? A cosmic "Calgon, take me away!?"
Or, are we searching for the kind of "happy" we once knew before it all came crashing down?
Will we never be content until somehow SOMEONE is able to put the pieces back together so the shattered picture of our lives bears at least a patched up, Super-glued resemblance to what it was before tragedy struck?
Certainly, the more "spiritual" among us will say (even if, inwardly, we may almost choke on the words), "well, of course, I want to glorify God in my life."
YES, that IS the right answer, and not merely a glib Sunday school cliche!
The Bible says we were created and redeemed for that very purpose. We actually exist for no other reason (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11).
I used to have a problem with that. My feeling was, "okay, I'm only here for HIS GLORY?? That seems awfully vain and self-serving of God! And what's in it for me?"
It is so, so critical that we understand that God is NOT some demanding, narcissistic, egotistical tyrant! We err greatly when we try to make God fit the mold of fallen man. God created us in His own image. We do NOT have the right to return the favor and "create" God in OUR image.
WE might get our jollies from creating a species whose sole purpose is to stroke OUR frail egos. But God is not a perverse, fallen creature like you and me! He is the very definition of GOOD, BENEVOLENCE and LOVE. He is utterly incapable of the kind of wicked selfishness that so characterizes mankind (Psalm 92:15; Hebrews 7:26).
Rather, it is HIS aim that WE are blessed to the very utmost in carrying out what He desires for us (John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13; Hebrews 6:14).
In creating us to bring glory to Him, He wired us internally so that we will find true, enduring joy and fulfillment in nothing else.
A handcrafted Stradivarius violin is designed and created for one, highly specific purpose: to produce the most beautiful music humanly possible.
If that violin had feelings and could talk, and you had the temerity to ask: "when do you know true fulfillment? When do you experience maximum joy?" That Strad would answer: "When I'm playing my Mozart (or Beethoven, or Bach, or Vivaldi, or Paganini) in the hands of a master."
If I gave that Stradivarius to a friend, and that friend tried to use it to hammer nails into his wall to hang up his Justin Bieber posters, or as a crowbar to pry open the jammed trunk of his '89 Chevy, we'd be absolutely horrified!
They might explain, "Well, it was a gift, right? And now it's mine, isn't it, to do with as I please? We call that 'FREEDOM,' brother!"
No, I'd call that MORONHOOD (I reserve the right to make up words when needed).
What an idiotic, purposeless WASTE of an instrument of rare and surpassing value, because so "fearfully and wonderfully made!!!"
We may resent what SEEMS to us to be God's self-focused agenda, but our thinking is skewed.
Did He not create us with the love of being AWED? Does it not thrill our hearts and excite our very being to hold some fellow creature in awe for his or her beauty or incredible skill in music or athletics or oratory? Do we not go to the greatest lengths just to bask in their glow? Does that not explain the continued pervasiveness of the word "awesome" that is thrown around so cheaply and easily everywhere we turn?
Glorifying God is the most other-oriented, philanthropic objective our Heavenly Father could give us. Because He, alone, is TRULY WORTHY of exciting our awe, and because it is the very thing for which we were designed, created and redeemed.
Therefore, IT IS THE ONLY ACTIVITY IN WHICH WE SHALL EVER KNOW TRUE SATISFACTION, FULFILLMENT AND JOY.
You are God's Stradivarius (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:14-16)
And there is no more beautiful music you can play, and nothing in this world you can do that is more geared to your own best interests than living to the glory of God.
Now, just what does this "look like?" How do we accomplish this?
We'll have to leave that for next time.
More later, Lord willing.