God’s Dimension Coming to Birth Within Ours: On Longing and the Lord’s Prayer

Back in December, as we meditated on the season of Advent, I wrote about longing. Ever since then, I’ve still been asking myself the same question: What does it look like for Christ to be the answer to my longing? What does it mean to bring my desires (or fears) to Him?

Sometimes, I’m surprised by my desires.

Sometimes, I’m proud, even boastful of them.

Sometimes, I’m afraid or confused by conflicting desires.

Sometimes, I’m ashamed to admit them.

When I take a step back and evaluate my every-day, get up and work, push-through-and-do-my-best kind of days, I’m surprised by how central I live to desire. I wake up in the morning with a clear sense of what I immediately want–to stay under the warm, comfortable nest I’ve built for myself until the last possible moment. 🙂 Then, when I’ve finally convinced myself it’s absolutely necessary to leave, I begin this mental dialogue:

What do I want to wear today?

What kind of tea do I want to make?

What do I want for breakfast?

And then the secret, subconscious whispers slip in:

I wish I could be doing ____ today instead of _______.

I wish my life was more/less  ________.

I wish I was one of those people who ________.

I wish this pain, frustration, hurt would end.

The truth is, we were created with desires. With needs. As much as I would like to be self-sufficient, sooner or later I come to the end of myself, a case of unmet desire where I am not in control. Left to ourselves, desire can turn rancid–birthing discontentment, envy, anxiety, self-centeredness. 

What does it mean to live every moment in the presence of Christ within me, living among and as Lord over all these desires?

I love what N.T. Wright says in The Lord and His Prayer:

“The whole point of the Kingdom . . . isn’t about shifting our wants and desires onto a non-physical level, moving away from the earthly to the supposedly “spiritual.” It is about God’s dimension coming to birth within ours…The Kingdom is to come in earth as it is in heaven.”

“The Lord’s Prayer is designed to help us make this change,” writes Jen Pollock Michael in Teach Us to Want,  “a change of priority, not a change of content. This prayer doesn’t pretend that pain and hunger aren’t real.”

Bringing my desires to Christ does not mean rejecting them, but rather releasing them. By recognizing Christ as the authority over all Creation, even my own desires, I allow them to be redeemed and transformed. I allow myself to confess the full force of my desires, humbly admit my needs, make peace with the strong hungers that make me human.

“Brave is the only way to write, and brave is the only way to pray…the untucked prayers— the prayers of our struggle— prepare the way for surrender, even praise.”

Surrendering my desires; this is an act of humility and grace. Through His eyes my priorities are aligned and this changes the way I want. This is not merely self-denial, but soul-transformation. It is freedom rather than obligation. God’s dimension coming to birth within ours.

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

I love how Scripture is continually pointing us back to Christ as our tuning fork. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us,” writes Paul in Ephesians. “Consider him who endured,” encourages the author of Hebrews, “so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” “Abide in me,” asks Jesus in John 15, “that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

It is ultimately the magnificence of Christ that will eternally capture our hearts. He who is before all things, and in him all things hold together. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done. May You redeem my desires so they are ultimately satisfied in You.

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