Could you imagine living in a place that is 45 degrees Fahrenheit and calling it warm? I can. If a person lived most their life in a place that was 35 degrees colder than that, they most likely would call 45 degrees not only warm, but maybe even toasty. The annual average temperature in Barrow, Alaska is 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit. However, within the same state the annual average temperature in Ketchikan, Alaska is 45 degrees. People from Barrow may decide to move to a “warmer” place like Ketchikan just to thaw out, but in reality they still would not be living in a “warm” place. If they moved to someplace like San Diego, California, they could then say they were living in a truly warm place. Nothing against Ketchikan!
Christians can have this same approach to their inner life. I remember how hopeless (cold) I felt before I came to know Jesus. I had very little purpose in life, very little authentic joy and peace. After I became a Christian at age 18, life did get better (it felt warmer). I had more hope and peace, more purpose, more joy and peace than ever before. However, what I have come to realize was that even though life was better for me after I became a believer, God the Father had far more that he wanted me to experience. For many years I was living at 45 degrees and called it warm. In the last ten years of my life, I came to know that I was not yet living in the true warmth of all that God had for me. For years I lived in ongoing (cold temperatures of) shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, hurt, and a deep sense of worthlessness. But at least it wasn’t as bad (cold) as it was before I knew Christ.
Forty-five degrees is NOT warm. It’s “warmer,” but not warm. Seventy-five degrees is warm. I can honestly say that after living at 45 degrees for the majority of my Christian life, the gospel is now beginning to penetrate my heart in ways it has not done before. His love, grace, and forgiveness are addressing my deepest shame, guilt, fear, and anxieties in ways not felt before. I’m not living in San Diego yet, but I’ve left Ketchikan and am making the migration south.
“That you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”