Where Are You Living?1
Where Are You Living?
As a new Christian, rummaging through stacks of dusty and worn volumes at a used book sale; hungering for truth, and already acutely aware of the flesh’s raging against my newly found freedom in Christ, the title, "Life on the Highest Plane" captured my attention. "Yes!" I thought. That’s what I want! That’s the yearning of my heart! To live above the fray! Soon after my conversion, it hadn’t taken long for me to feel deeply that something in me was warring against my desire to follow every command and admonishment of the Scriptures. I would hear Jesus say, "Love your enemies," and my heart would rejoice, reasoning that if Jesus commanded it, He would enable me to do it! Off I would go, trying to identify who was my enemy or who might consider me their enemy. Once identified, I would as best as I could love them. Then I discovered that I had more "enemies" than I thought. Oh I had taken care of the big ones...those easily recognized ones; but then there were those who thought differently than me, or those from a different background than me, or those wealthier than me, or those poorer than me, or those of a different race than me. Maybe they weren’t "enemies" in the common sense of the word, but did I not treat them as an enemy? Didn’t I avoid them? Didn’t I criticize them mentally if not verbally? Didn’t their habits and attitudes disgust me? Wasn’t I ashamed to associate with them? Was my treatment of them not similar if not exactly the same as that of my "enemies?" and if so, wasn’t I to love them also? I knew the answer was "yes" but increasingly I found loving these, perhaps more than my greater enemies, more difficult. Something in me relentlessly resisted my every attempt. I could be nice to them and even do good things for them, but somehow my heart wasn’t in it. There was no real affection toward them and I began to realize that to love them....as Christ loved....was something that wasn’t inherent within me. I needed to find a power outside of myself! I knew that this "Power" if it could be known and experienced, must be found in Christ. Somehow I needed that ability to see others as Jesus saw them...a way to see beyond their faults and peculiarities...a view from "A Higher Plane."
The Lowest Plane
1 Corinthians 2:14
I had certainly known and was well acquainted and comfortable with life on the "lowest plane" which Ruth Paxson, the author of "Life on the Highest Plane" described as the life of the lost man, separated from God by his sin, spiritually blind, deceived and deceitful; living by his senses alone. I had twenty-nine years to learn my way around on this "lowest plane." In fact, I doubted whether there was any other "plane" at all. Yet when grace and mercy came, introducing me to Christ I was lifted suddenly from that lowest plane to see that there was another life possible; life on a higher plane; life understood from a completely different perspective; life as it really was; life grounded in truth. That glimpse of a higher plane and the excitement and hope it inspired, glorious as it was, was soon dimmed by the reality that I had an uncooperative presence within me that had grown so comfortable with the lowest plane that seemingly nothing could dislodge it.
The Middle Plane
1 Corinthians 3:1-4
The result was what Mrs. Paxson called life on the "Middle Plane." This was the life of the Christian: knowing the Scriptures, practicing the disciplines, diligently trying to walk on the higher plane but fettered to the familiarity and habits of the lowest plane; unable it seemed to break free of its hold. This is the "plane" at which most of us live as Christians it seems. We know there’s a higher plane but we weary after a while and we settle into life on the middle plane, usually justifying our compromise with platitudes like, "no one is perfect!" or "None of us have arrived!" This contentment with the middle plane however, as Mrs. Paxson asserts, becomes carnality. I’m inclined to think that this middle plane is perhaps the most miserable plane to occupy. From the lowest plane, our blindness deceives us into believing that there is no other plane so we never aspire to or struggle for anything different. The Highest Plane finds us so caught up in the glory of the Lord that we can almost forget that there are other planes, but on the Middle Plane our glimpse of the glory of the Lord creates a heart longing to be nearer to Him while the Lowest Plane is like an anchor on a fifty foot chain cast off in a fifty-five foot bay; not sinking us altogether but holding us under just enough to keep us from catching our breath. Perhaps this explains why there seems to be so many bitter, angry, and defeated Christians...they’re just frustrated with life on the Middle Plane and graciously so, for the Lord calls us to a Higher Plane!
The Highest Plane
1 Corinthians 2:15
Here’s where I want to live and I suspect that if you’re a born again Christian, it’s where you want to live as well! I can’t improve on Mrs. Paxson’s words so read these and pray!
"The spiritual man having taken the crucified, risen, glorified Christ as Savior, Lord, and Life, lives his life wholly unto God. The Lord Jesus is the center of his life and has undivided control over his whole being. Jesus Christ dominates his thoughts, affections, speech, will, and actions. He has become partaker of the nature of God so that there are two natures in the spiritual man but the divine nature is sovereign. The spiritual man is habitually alive to God and dead to sin and self. He is a bondservant to God and gladly, joyously, acknowledges and submits to the sovereign Lordship of Jesus. Jesus Christ is intensely real and precious to the spiritual man, and he considers, loves, serves, adores, and worships Him..."
Oh how the Middle Plane pales!
May we become so miserable and frustrated with the Lowest and Middle Planes that we would surrender our all to Christ...once for all time and begin to live our lives on this "Highest Plane" for His glory!