2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8–11 ESV)
I am broken. I am scared. I want to run away. Far away. To a place where no one will know me, where no one will ask things of me I cannot do, where no one will judge me, where no one will hurt me.
But there is no place to run. Before in my life, I have run halfway across the world to become a new person in a new place, only to find that I’m staring at the same self in the mirror, whether in San Francisco or Dubai or Jeddah or Washington, DC. It’s still me. I cannot escape me.
I have no place left to run. It wouldn’t matter if I did.
Everything I have, everything I am, I owe to Christ. It belongs to him who breathed the world into being, who breathed the Spirit into a huddled group of frightened disciples still unsure of what to make of the fact that he was not dead.
This love, this amazing, astounding, enveloping love — it’s not me. It’s not mine. I haven’t made it. It comes from someplace else, flows through me, seeks the sea. Like water, it mists and flows and babbles and roars its way to an endless, fathomless ocean of love. Where it becomes vapor again, forms clouds, and rains back down upon a parched, desiccated world. Where thirsty creatures, where withered plants, where a dry earth soak it up quickly.
Because there may come a day when there is no more.
We thirst for this love. We grasp and claw and gather and hoard it. We try to make it happen, to fashion it with our own hands in our own likeness and to our own specifications. We try to precipitate it in a lab, engineer it so that it stands tall and strong, speak it into being with our own words. And it sometimes actually looks like this love that falls wet from the sky. But it isn’t. It’s hard and brittle. It rusts. It decays. We can tear it down and blow it up. It dries up and flutters away.
Only this living water that is Christ fills us. Becomes us. Changes us. Makes us people who no longer need to run from our brokenness and our fear. Instead, this love that is Christ — this Christ that is love — makes us people who can look in a mirror and see not our broken and incompetent selves, but the Jesus who rose from the dead.