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Dave Brisbin

Seeing Through Cracks

Jesus said that no one can see Kingdom—the quality of life lived in awareness of God’s presence—until born again in spirit. Then in the same breath he says those born of spirit are like the wind, which you can hear but never see or know where it’s coming from or going to. Not very helpful if you’re trying to get there. And that’s the point.

Spirit can’t be controlled. The more we try to control it, the more we deny its presence. There is spiritual work to do, but that work is about subtraction, not addition, about removing obstacles that stand in the way of an otherwise uncontrollable encounter. Like the farmer, we can create the ideal circumstances for a harvest, but the plants grow while we sleep, without our knowledge or permission.

So what is the greatest impediment to our gradual Pentecost of spiritual breakthrough?

Legalism, of course…understood as performance-based approval by any human group: church, society, business, family. It is the reality of the world in which we live, so we can be forgiven for imputing it to God as well. But as long as we’re thinking legally in spiritual directions, we will never see Kingdom, because legalism is just another form of control.

We only need control when we’re afraid, and while legalism appears to guarantee security, it perpetuates the fear that is the opposite of the trust of Kingdom experience. A person born of water, performing in the physical world, is entitled to compensation and reward. Those born again of spirit are simply grateful for gifts they can’t see and know they could never give themselves. This radically different way of looking at life is only visible as cracks form in the physical world around us.

The way to Pentecost begins as the world begins to crack and reveal a deeper truth: that Kingdom lived between heaven and earth is a balance of performance and powerless dependence. Life and age will begin cracking the world open for us, but our spiritual work brings a sledgehammer to finish the job.

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