Grasping Our Reason To Live

MODERN EMPIRICISM AND OUR REASON TO LIVE

Although some of us seemingly give up immediately while others do not, every one of us searches for a reason to live on after something tragic, difficult, or painful happens. Why is that? Through intuition of the spirit, humans can perceive a truth, subtle or otherwise, as to why we are here on this Earth. That truth, when examined closely, points to far more than mere pleasure-seeking. When we pretend we don’t require an answer to our questions about purpose, or when the answer we receive is not the one want—we may deny our instincts and live a life unlike the one we imagined to be more satisfying or exciting. The truth is that we are here for a reason, and if we can’t seem discover the answer to “what reason?” through our spirit, we may try to figure it out with the use of logic and reasoning—depending on and trusting in science and the theories of modern empiricism to give us an answer we consider easier to digest. However, is “more digestible” also more true?

The problem with this approach will be explored in the first portion of this article. Later, I will explore the more sensitive topic of Christianity and how faith plays a role in the lives of many who fall away from their faith in the belief that God isn’t truly real or that Jesus isn’t truly God. How does a person get to this place? How can we avoid it and help others not to? We will explore this together as well.

THE PROBLEM BETWEEN PURPOSE AND LOGIC

When we rely solely on logic and reason to make sense of life, two titans of existentialism—purpose and meaning—lose their essence. If purpose undermines logic, insofar as understanding purpose does not demand the human mind to find value in something as precious as the comfort of breathing without pain (i.e. Equating a difficult breathing pattern to “life is terrible”)—then purpose knows its identity without needing approval from the body. Put differently, purpose finds value in the most infinitesimal living matter; such as the “awe” in the awe-inspiring beauty of the sky, the pensive appreciation of a butterfly’s spotted wings, or the humbling treasure of hearing a child’s playful laugh—because it is not measuring by size; rather, purpose measures by quality and significance.

In other words, purpose breathes whether or not we do. While logic is enraptured by numbers and equations, ratiocination and patterns—purpose is birthed by sentiment, meaningfulness, emotion, generosity, selflessness, and truth. Logic and reason may be indirect conduits by which purpose can be viewed or considered, but logic cannot explicate the complex mechanism that is life without ignoring the intrinsic aspects of the soul. Our soul cannot fit into a pattern any more than God can be fit into a box. Therefore, when our search for life’s meaning and purpose is searched for using any one criterial facet of logic, the journey automatically culminates in disappointment because the very nature of logic fails to understand the depth of purpose and its intrinsic measurement of quality.

PURPOSE DEMANDS FAITH

The failure to understand the human soul is evidenced by the inability of the intellect to counteract the proposition that our lives are meaningless. Because the sentiment we associate with the meaning of life is so sensitive, our intellect is incapable of understanding or grasping the weight of such significance. Intellect may try to explain it but it cannot discern or sense its power. Needless to say, intellect disappoints immediately, whereas purpose demands a higher calling for life’s meaning than any intellectual explanation can offer. Purpose demands substance from the unseen, the untouched; the transcendent. What substance? we ask. The substance of faith, to be clear. Purpose demands faith. Let me explain.

Faith instills within our existence a meaningful dimension nothing else can make known. When we solely rely on anything outside of faith, the lack of meaningful interaction between faith and intellect ends up forcing us to face the emptiness of our reason to keep going. This is what I faced during the stint leading up to my discovery of faith; I came to a breaking point where I decided if I could not find an authentic reason to keep living, I would end my life. If you have not already, you may read my testimony here

When we associate the purpose of our lives with this world, the tangible, or empirical (all of our experiences within grasp of our five immediate biological senses)—becomes our idol, and the only significance we can conjure from this tangible world is our depraved desperation for pleasure that is never quenched regardless of the habit, addiction, or lifestyle we adhere to.

BORN AGAIN

What is all of this leading to? Purpose and a meaningful life are particularly fond terms in Christianity—mainly because being “born again” refers to the process of surrendering our self-devised purpose for a higher purpose given to us after rebirth, by God. The difference is that our self-devised purpose is built on the tragedy of narcissism and the vacuity of stubbornness. God’s purpose for us is birthed from His sovereignty and selfless love.

How does a man think he knows Christ when in fact he only knows an idea of Christ? Why have some people who professed to be Christian ended up killing themselves? We ask ourselves at what point God was for them. We wonder what purpose they had in “finding Jesus” just to die in the end. This is a sensitive subject. I’d like to touch on this, even briefly, as delicately as I can.

THE BIRTH OF HELL

A believer is called to follow Christ through every adversity he is given, turning to Jesus and surrendering his fear, worry, panic, anger, bitterness, and doubt—straight into the hands of his loving Savior. When a believer refuses this humbling aspect of the Christian walk, they deny themselves the blessing and fruit of a budding relationship with Jesus—and this, when planted consistently, is the seed to the malady of disobedience, disbelief, and ultimately Hell. Hell is more than an eternal place of damnation; it begins in the void of the soul, where our mind—ill-equipped with disbelief—succumbs to disobedience as unbelief and doubt take over the spirit in a body which dies never having known Christ (Matthew 7:21-23). Hell finishes in eternity for the soul who never fully surrendered his or her life to the vocation of humbling themselves before God in desperation for His grace, gratefulness for His love, awestruck by His compassion; relieved by His forgiveness, and ultimately transformed by His resurrection.

I will return to this in the last paragraph of this article.

FAITHFUL OR FAITHLESS?

How often do we consider where we stand when we contemplate the meaning of life and our purpose here on Earth? Why even ask the question? We worry about money, sex, relationships, food, and making it to our appointments on time, but what about considering the impression we leave behind with those who only have the chance to watch us scurry off in a hurry? Our heart beats, but not forever. Where do we place the trust of our decisions each day? The choice of a Christian to be faithful in Jesus by surrendering our fleshly desires when we feel swayed towards disobedience is our only way to make a difference capable of sending a ripple of hope into eternity. Oppositely, living solely from the character of egocentrism would send a ripples echoing the void of narcissism, comprised of a life stuck at work; always in a hurry, never present, barely grateful, absent of humility and unforgiving of others’ imperfections. Just as faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26), a faithless life lacking in obedience and surrender to a power beyond selfish ambition is a grotesque caricature of the human experience. We weren’t born to live for ourselves, and yet so many of us do, even many of us who claim to know Christ.

How do we know if we know Him?

GOD FINISHES WHAT HE STARTS

First off, God finishes the work He starts in us (Philippians 1:6). This is a promise. If He has started work in your soul, He will finish that work. A person who considers the faith and thinks about the faith but never walks the walk is somewhere between an agnostic and a pagan—but not a Christian. It is entirely unbiblical to say that Jesus claimed us but that the invitation wasn’t strong enough to keep us walking through the narrow gate. Jesus compels the soul (2 Corinthians 5:14), and there is no “realizing later on” that Jesus is fake unless we never understood He was real.

THE NASCENCE OF CHRISTIANITY

To not understand He is real and to disbelieve in His glory are one and the same. Furthermore, to never believe He was real or even to claim He might have been is not belief. Pushing further still, to claim to believe He is real, to go to church and praise Him, to be kind to others on behalf of Him, to pray with others in His name—but to never have known Him personally–is still unbelief. But how can we know someone we never physically met? we ask. Jesus Christ gave us the Holy Spirit when He ascended. This is His sure promise to be with us during every moment of every day. When we do not receive the gift of His spirit, we have not received Him in full. We will know when we know Him by how much of ourselves we surrender in the faith and pursuit of receiving His spirit, seeking transformation in His name. In the transformation of our spirit from its sinful form to the sinless form of Christ’s resurrected spirit, rebirth occurs; the nascence of our Christian walk and the beginning of our personal relationship with Jesus. 

THE SOUL OF REBIRTH

To receive Jesus is to receive new life (spiritually and mentally). This is how we know we have fully come to believe: When we feel His life in ours, speak His words for ours, feel His desires for ours, and live His life as ours. To claim Jesus exists is easy even for demons (James 2:19); this is not rebirth, for the demons believe and still perish because their works do not proclaim Him, but rather, try to destroy Him (which is impossible). Therefore, proclamation is not the seed to rebirth. Actions validate what our words cannot prove. To worship and pray and celebrate but not believe will not lead to surrender or humility, and it will not seek His grace to spiritually penetrate our souls. 

LOGIC CANNOT MAKE SENSE OF REBIRTH

Putting everything together, the disappointing reality of logic—when faced with spirituality—is clearly evidence that when we live solely from our intellect, the disappointment is grave enough to undermine our intrinsic sense of purpose; evidence of the cogent veracity of faith. By living in the faith of Jesus, we can know with certainty the reality of our personal relationship with Jesus by the way we actively seek and pursue transformation from within our spirit; His love overcoming our selfishness; His humility undermining our pride by exposing it to His divine presence; His omnipresence refocusing our loneliness on His unceasing attention to our deepest needs, and His invitation for us to be known and to belong within a community of people who live, serve, and love each other by His grace.

A SUBTLE FORM OF PRIDE

Logic cannot make sense of this reality or its process, nor can it emanate the hope faith naturally exhales into our souls. To live from reason and logic is to live within limited means of our full potential. What’s more detrimentally true is how living within these limited means keeps us believing we can love each other selflessly based on a goodness we already have; one of our more subtle forms of pride. There is no form of selfless love we are capable of perceiving or extending without the grace God. To claim any credit is to turn away from the goodness of God and to claim ourselves worthy without first receiving salvation; an irreversible dichotomy we cannot win. This is why Christianity is a life-long lesson in delayed gratification as much as it is a walk of humility: One cannot live with faith in Christ without first being humbled into the subservience of the God who sacrificed Him. Concordantly, one cannot patiently wait in anticipation of the undeserved reward of Heaven without first receiving the blessing of humility to desire it without boastfulness in the first place. 

SHARING JESUS WITH THE WORLD

We ask ourselves the painful questions surrounding the reality of professed believers who end their own lives. In response, what we can take away is the importance of sharing the truth of Jesus with the world. Not everyone’s eyes will open, not all ears will hear, but that cannot stop us from sharing the Word of God with the whole world. Christians will know they are believers when they seek Jesus above all else. One cannot mistake His voice; the sheep know their shepherd’s voice (John 10:27). When we hear Jesus calling, we open the door and let Jesus in to eat with us, and us with Him (Revelations 3:20). If we never hear the call, we never knew Him. Let this be a reminder to all who believe, just how pivotal it is that we are not only a living example of Jesus with our actions, but that we also take seriously the importance of inviting Jesus into our public conversations. Jesus Christ is still relevant because the Word of Truth is alive, and also because of word of mouth. We share Him, and people will receive Him while still others don’t. But this isn’t our decision whether or not someone will hear Jesus’s call. We are called to be obedient unto Christ, and that is the command we are to follow. Let others see the Truth and witness His power in our words and actions, and may He who gives us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26) soften theirs towards Him as well, in Jesus name. 

LET’S CONNECT

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Lifestyle

Growing Familiar With God

THE SENSATION OF THE SOUL

Life of disbelief made me feel like I was drowning; life was the pool and I had nothing with which to float on. When I finally invited Jesus to enter my heart, I realized the sensations running through me were more than mere awareness or consciousness. Over time, I realized what I had experienced was the feeling of God’s purpose for me pulsating through my spirit. Discovering my purpose in Christ was exhilarating; I felt like could conquer the world. I also came to understand this response did not carry any physical sensations. Basically, my body was not suddenly stronger or different—these pulsations vibrating through me occurred at a deeper level of myself than anything I’d ever experienced before. In receiving Jesus, I learned what it means to have a soul, because that’s exactly what I had become aware of: I finally understood what my soul felt like in my body. 

FAITH, BEETHOVEN, AND MUSIC

When an atheist or unbeliever tries to “make sense” of God, they use ratiocination in the hopes of untangling the mysteries of the unknown with the retina and the other four senses. But this is like trying to understand music by observing a muted symphony band play on a TV screen; we may be aware of the band’s use of exquisite dexterity in performing a particular song, but until we feel the instrument in our own hands with the vibrations from our fingertips (and if the instrument includes a mouth-piece, then the sensation on your lips and in your throat), the rhythmic thumping of our feet on the ground in sync with the drum (whether a physical drum, or your “inner drum”)—music simply cannot be grasped.

The deaf Beethoven himself laid on the floor to feel and discern the distinct vibration of every note until he created the masterpieces that are still revered even today by every generation. He understood music because he embraced the importance of understanding the purpose of each note: Its harmony, octave, and timing. The loyalty and dedication it required to gain such an understanding would have been tedious, time-consuming, and even frustrating, especially with his impediments—but he was impassioned to grasp the concept of music and song, to create and innovate what ultimately became famously known by the world at large. Likewise, God simply cannot be grasped simply through logic and equations; one must choose to desire to experience Him personally in order to understood Him at all—and understanding the supernatural, like God, requires choice, commitment, intention, authenticity, openness, vulnerability, humility, and reverence.

THE TRUMPET, AND THE SENSATION OF FAITH

When I was in fifth grade, in order to join the school band, I began learning to play the trumpet. After months of practice, the trumpet became more familiar. But let me tell you, after seven years, I was reaching notes that even impressed me. I understood how much air in my lungs was required to reach a certain note and I didn’t have to hope or guess if I would reach high enough—I simply knew where to put my lips and much pressure to supply in order to climb the octaves. I became very familiar with the instrument, and my body knew how to distribute impressive sounds to complement and add to the rest of the band.

Like in music, we must desire to feel the sensations of God’s presence within us, the “vibration” of the spirit, if you will, that we would be so familiar with our relationship and experience of Jesus and God as to be able to create our own masterpiece; the very rippling effect of love on this world we were designed to distribute in His name.

SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND MATURITY

Spiritual maturity takes place in a location inside ourselves we cannot find without searching with questions, some healthy skepticism (meaning, carefully thought out questions asked with an open mind and ready heart), and faith. How much faith, you ask? The faith of a mustard seed is enough, according to the Word of God (Matthew 17:20). We don’t need much to find Jesus, only the will and desire to be in His presence, to desire His presence in ours, and to be ready to hear Him speak to us. He speaks honestly, and sometimes we don’t want to hear the truth because the lies of this world (the enemy’s lies) are very tempting and manipulative. Lies such as: “Sex will make you happy,” “Money can buy you anything,” “Just do what you want and everything will be fine.” These are all fallacies designed to equip us with narcissism and help us to forget our innate desire for purpose.

There is no purpose in narcissism, which is a seed towards nihilism; the rejection of all religious and moral principles, resulting in the belief that life is ultimately meaningless. Disbelief in God is one thing, but to replace doubt and skepticism with hedonism is the recipe for a purposeless, meaningless life full of transience and dissatisfaction. Listening to Jesus helps us to stay in the clear and to discern between the world’s lies and His clear and loving voice. We only need be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10)— He will never lead us astray.

THE STARTING POINT

Personally, I believe some doubt is ultimately healthy because it instigates a starting point. When have a place to begin, the questions shed a light on which way to dig and search. Those who do not ask don’t move, and therefore they don’t grow or mature. To mature is to see one perspective from a different angle and to receive a multitude of angles as possibilities, carefully discerning where God is speaking the most clearly. Spiritual maturity is understanding there are many faiths to choose from, but discerning the one faith which is healthiest for us. There is only one God—the Biblical, Christian God—who is so personal as to come down in human form—God in flesh—to take the punishment we deserve and place it on Himself so that we wouldn’t have to suffer for our wrongs. Only one God loves us so deeply as to desire nothing but deep, intimate relationship with us, and not require us to prove anything—whose only command is to love Him, others, and ourselves, the way He loves us first.

THE CHRISTIAN INVITATION

I never wanted to believe in a god who required me to prove my worth, because I believe that is an impossible feat. I never wanted to believe in a god who required me to resist having desires, because that seemed unnatural and inhuman (we’re made in the image of God, and God has desires. He desires us!). I never wanted to believe in a god who commanded me to kill those who didn’t believe what I believe. The Christian, Biblical God requires none of this me, and loves me unconditionally on top of it all. He loves all of His children. This is the Christian invitation, but ratiocination can barely comprehend its supernatural promises. However, faith can, and faith is all Jesus requires: The faith of a mustard seed and the desire to know Him personally, with a familiarity unparalleled by anything in this world. This is what Jesus commands of us and desires with us, nothing more or less. This is what I have learned through being a Christian, and this is what was introduced to me 7 years ago when I first heard about the God of Christianity. I’m telling you so you’ll know and be able to decide for yourself whether this is the kind of God you want to serve, to know, to love, and to receive love from.

FAMILIARITY WITH CHRIST

See, God already loves us, but we need to recognize it as such, thank Him for this perfect gift, and live into the promises He instills through Christ Jesus. When we accept Jesus, we understand the sacrifice He made on our behalf, and the inspiration that comes of that—let me reiterate that point—NOT the shame or guilt, but the INSPIRATION—renders me speechless. How can I say no to the God of the universe, loving me even as I am a sinner?

I invite you to come to know Jesus as well, to come to be more familiar with Him, to invite Him into your heart today, right now. Just talk to Him like you would a friend. After all, Jesus is “closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Be blessed, readers!!

LET’S CONNECT

To read more, please follow this blog. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog, Twitter at LPBlog2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. Please share this with anyone you think would benefit, and feel free to write in the comments below–I would love to hear from you! God bless you!!

Shine