Monday, December 6, 2010

True Man

True man is he who doesn’t want to live long in this world. He wants to give his testimony and return as soon as possible, return home to Christ. He isn’t concerned about living a long life; he only wants to live on earth as long as his Lord wants him to live. Why? Because he is already living with Christ in His kingdom. He knows it with perfect certainty. He is redeemed, delivered from every desire and ambition that snares men and chains them to this world, and he is impatient to be free of this body of death, because he no longer lets it use him to sin. He is already living in heaven with Christ; all he wants is to be living there completely. If he must continue living in this world, he knows it’s only to do here what Christ wants him to do, to do what he sees Jesus doing in this world. He wants only to follow Jesus who, though living visibly in heaven, is alive invisibly on earth. And so, true man lives invisibly in heaven while he is living visibly on earth, following Jesus.

True man lives in the Word of God, and that Word is everything to him, and it makes him a child of the Kingdom, it makes him a disciple of Jesus. And Jesus and the Father come and live with him there, making him one of them by giving him the Spirit to live inside him. The Word of God is everything to him, it is his home, his food, his covering, his companion, his teacher, his protection, his inheritance. He is never without it, whether the Book is in his hand or not. The Word of God becomes his words, becomes his thoughts, becomes his actions. It is his strength, it guards his purity, it is his defense against all the lures and snares of the enemy. The Word of God proves His unalterable faithfulness to him and in him, and makes him faithful to God. The Word of God never leaves him, never leaves him alone, becomes a hedge around him, and makes him a hedge around the Kingdom in which he lives with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

True man is the implacable foe of the evil one, and doesn’t yield for a moment even an inch of territory, because the Word of God lives in him, and he lives in the Word. That is his world, and that world is the Kingdom. His citizenship is there while in the body he lives here. He is an unregistered alien in this world, which either shuns him as it goes along with its trifling affairs, pretending not to see him, or when it can’t help but see him, he is seen as a threat, he is seen as dangerous, and he is opposed with every injustice that can be brought against him in the name of the world’s justice. Because he obeys another Law, fulfills another commandment, that of His Lord, he falls under the condemnation of the laws of men and suffers with His Lord, who is put to death every day by the world. This too is an earthly evidence of his heavenly citizenship. He has nowhere to lay his head, no place in this world where he is comfortable, seeing that everywhere is under the dominion of the evil one, and with Jesus he is turned away at every inn, turned away because he is a God-bearer.

True man is too strong for the men who seek their home and their security on earth, and so he finds no friends among them. His strength is not from himself. He seems to wear his strength effortlessly, while others who claim to be strong or who try to be, make excuses for their weakness. But his strength is not from himself, it is from Christ who lives with him and who supplies him from His armory. His eye looks stern and unfriendly to men who have eyes only for the world, because his eye is single, and it looks always upon heaven, and from heaven where he already is living with Christ. His strength is from his Lord, and it shows in his walk and in his stance, in his speech and in his silence, in what he does and in what he does not do. All of this is a threat to other men who seek their strength only in things of this world, in things man-made, in what will not endure.

True man is in the world, but not of it. Why? Because he lives already in the Kingdom of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He lives there and he knows it. He has his proof of citizenship in the Word that never leaves him. He has his passport ready and can come and go through a door that to him is never shut between worlds, a door which, if he chooses to shut it, no one can open, and if he chooses to open, no one can close. He has been given this kind of authority because he can be trusted. Why can he be trusted? Because he has proven himself faithful to his charge, because he renews his faithfulness every day in the presence of his Father, by following the Son of God, by doing only what he sees Him doing. He has already been given the crown of life, because he is willing to lay down his life in this world, because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

Brothers, this is our call in Jesus Christ. This is the guarantee of our salvation. This is the life that has no end. This is the treasure hidden in the field that a man finds and then sells all that he has to purchase the field. This is the true man that has been recreated in the image of the Holy Triad who said, “Let us make man in Our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters…”

Brothers, this is true man.


Andrew Kenny said...

Beautiful truth and beautiful prose.What a challenge and benchmark for us to aspire to, and written in the style of the Church Fathers.
But where is such a man? Where can a man like this be found? A man in Christ,a blood bought man,a man dead to self,a man controlled by the Spirit of God, a man who can tuly say:'it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me'.The seeker

'Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man opens the door I will come into him and eat with him,and he with me.The Saviour.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Dear brother, this is only another summary of the call, the words are Christ's just as the call is. Only He can issue such a call, only He can give us the ability to follow Him once we say ‘Yes,’ only He can transform us into true man, just as He is. He willingly became what we are, to show us what we were created to be, true man, so that we can also become by adoption what He is by nature, true sons of the Father.

It must be our intention to follow Him, to respond to His call, to say ‘Yes’ to Him in everything, not to withdraw like the rich young ruler because we are very rich, because all those riches, all those advantages we think we have are, as Paul said in casting them off, nothing but dung. They cannot even be compared to what true riches are vouchsafed to us in Christ and by Christ.

Yet we waver, we flounder. Still, it must be our intention, we must want to, and we must, say ‘Yes’ and follow Him when He calls. Then, even our failures will be transformed to glory in Him, who has become sin for us, so that we might become righteousness for Him, being clothed in His very skin, as was the first Adam clothed in the skin of the second Adam, the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

Words are just words, no matter how beautiful and true, until we eat them, just as John the Revelator was bidden to take the little scroll and eat it, though it tasted sweet to his palate, it turned his stomach bitter, yet he was to eat it just the same. That little scroll is God's word for each of us personally, His will for each of us. Will we take it and eat it, sweet as it may taste at the first, even though it causes us inner discomfort, inner pain? But we must, for in so doing, and only in doing so, will we become true man.