Life continues to slow down a little bit. I think it’s easier now to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Hheaven calls and I give an answer…and life goes on I guess…well that’s what I keep telling myself.

I want to run after things that matter. No, I’m not talking about the next big thing, I’m talking about things that matter continually because they are of higher significance.

I want to live life with a constant attitude of growth and change. I hate being put into a box. Anytime I realize that I’m ‘in-a-box’, I try and do something to grow a little bigger, become a little more mysterious.

I would say that I used to dislike the mundane and commonplace. It would drive me nuts doing the same thing over and over again. Yet somehow, I’ve found myself in a place where I’ve begun to ask myself the questions of higher significance.

What really matters in this short I have to live on earth? Am I going to go hard after that which I know to be true and noble and right and selfless? That’s the question. No more dilly-dallying in things that mean nothing.

In the words of someone much smarter than myself…

Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same.
Michel Foucault

So yet I find myself stuck in a place of coming to grips with all that surround me. Who am I? What is my purpose? Why do I do? How do I think?

In understanding humanity, I’ve come to realize that everyday we are pulled in different directions, shaping us and molding us into the person we become. (I had written about this in A Manifesto)

In my initial framework of understanding, there were only six directions, however I would say that has changed to seven. So let me refresh your memory.

UPWARD

This is the God-ward part of life. Directed towards God, it is the life-flow of the relationship I have with Him. I find meaning and purpose in knowing that I am created in His image, that I am His child, and that though I deserve it not, Christ has now given me eternal life with Him. I live to please God in all I do. I live to know Him more deeply and grow in intimacy with Him. I live upward, turning myself towards God.

OUTWARD

All of life is spiritual, and because of what God is doing in my life, everything therein is affected by my upward direction. As my life is changed from the inside out through this relationship I have with Christ, my mental processes change, the words I speak change, my actions change, and the course of my life is altered. What God does inside of me, grows outward and changes my existence. My relationship with God is illustrated outwardly in every part of my life, including my relationships.

WITHWARD

When I entered into life with Christ, I became a part of something greater than myself. I became a part of Christ’s body. I now live in a community forged by their identity in Christ. We are now the hands and feet of Christ. We are now our brother’s keeper. We watch over that which God has entrusted to us, and live for the greater good. We live to truly love, heal, help, motivate, and even correct. We live not for ourselves nor unto ourselves, but we live for others. We live with others, not as strangers but as brothers and sisters. We live in a withward direction knowing that we are all created in the image of God, and we shine that image best when we live in peace with each other.

INWARD

We live at peace with ourselves because we walk with a new identity, and we live with integrity. God is alive in our souls, we live out this faith, intertwined with community, fully at peace with who God created us to be. We were at war with ourselves before Christ came and began redemption within us. Now we are at peace because Christ rules our hearts. We live wholely knowing that we are fulfilled in Him. We live inwardly.

BACKWARD

We can look backward and come to grips with our past. Somehow God created us, kept us secure, and brought about he events that led us to Him. We can look back on all the relationships that forged who we are. We can look back on all the victories and the losses. We can do this because we know that everything we walk through now goes through the Cross. We made the choice to follow Him and now everything is in the process of changing in our lives. We look backwards because Christ covers our weaknesses and helps us move forward.

FORWARD

God is in control. We can live aligned to and trusting in His perfect will. We are not our own, but we now belong to Christ. We can move forward with confidence because we live in light of eternity. Our home is heaven, but we live daily to bring the love of God to this planet. We live because the kingdom of God is at hand. We are citizens of that kingdom, and in all that we do in Christ’s name, we help others see the Kingdom.

There is however a seventh part to this framework…I would include the following section right between outward and withward.

DOWNWARD

As Christians, we are a city set on a hill. We are to be engaged with culture, where we are fully contextualized to it, but we still are to remain unique and unmixed therein. We are called to bring the goodness of God to a depraved and dying world. This would be our call and our mandate. It says, “taste and see that the Lord is God.” The world must be able to do this. They must be able to see and experience this life we called Christian life. They will know we are Christians by our love.

All in all…these seven directions is an idea that I will continue to explore. I’ve realized that this framework can be used in application of biblical principles.

Take any major biblical doctrine or idea…and apply it these seven ways. It works.

Ashish Joy