My first trip to Disney World was not all that spectacular. I've seen pictures but I don't recall a thing about it. My older siblings sure seemed to have had a good time, though. Lynn and Mark had bright smiles and eager anticipation written all over their faces...according to the polaroid snapshots.
I didn't have much to smile about. From the looks of things, I only got to ride one ride over and over again. We might as well have stayed home, as far as I was concerned. Disney World was, to me, no different from anywhere else I'd ever been. Wherever my mother went, I had to go. I didn't have a choice. I was still in the womb.
Oh well. At least I got in free!
Church is like that for a lost person to some degree. The only difference is, I was alive. Lost people are spiritually dead.
Yet, neither of us could connect with our surroundings. I couldn't feel what my brother and sister felt, taste what they tasted, or see what they saw. I was there, but I was barricaded and surrounded by a bubble of flesh that kept me cut off from all that they were experiencing.
The man or woman who does not have a living relationship with Jesus feels the same way in a church that's alive. He or she won't feel what the brothers and sisters feel. Nor can they taste and see what surrounds them because they, too, are surrounded by a bubble of flesh that keeps them cut off and detached from what is going on around them spiritually.
Interesting paradox. Because I was inside my mom, the physical world was dead to me. Yet when Jesus lives inside us, the spiritual world comes alive to us! And we get in free!
I went back to Disney World nearly nine years ago. It was a very different experience for me than the one I had 37 years earlier. I was in the same place. But this time, I had been born. I was no longer trapped inside a cocoon of flesh.
The same thing happens to a person who is born again and goes back to the same church he or she went to before. A new spiritual awakening occurs when the flesh gives way to the Spirit.
Jesus said, "You must be born again" because "that which is born of flesh is (only) flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (a new reality that cannot be known in the flesh alone)" (John 3:6-7, parenthesis mine).
By the way, I compared pictures of my second trip to Disney World with pictures from my first trip. My smile is much more noticeable.
There's a picture of me with Goofy but you can't tell which one's which...