Prana and Limitless Living

prana

The body is finite. It is temporary. No amount of pranic living or wishful thinking will change that. Without water a person might live two excruciatingly painful weeks? But air and sun are all a person needs according to Breatharians the hot new lifestyle that graced the pages of the New York Post recently.

Breatharians are nothing new. They claim to have reached a higher stage where they are able to draw nourishment and energy from the air and sun. Underlying this philosophy is the Hindu idea of prana which is a Sanskrit word for life giving force. These Breatharians claim that being free from earthly purists of hunger and that allows them to be limitless and live healthier lives. But this is nothing new it is a rehash of old Hindu ideals and leads one to the path of pantheist religions. Pantheism identifies god with the universe. Everything is god. A chair, a tree, an animal, the air, light, or a planet. Starwars promoting the Jedi force is pantheism. Jedi could live a pranic lifestyle. One assumes that a Jedi might prefer the Breatharian model of life. Who does not want those mind over matter kinds of ability? The ability to tap into a god that flows through everything is an interesting allure. This is an idea that takes many forms and is taught in many ways. It is an idea that mankind can rise above the limitations of this body. Maybe even live forever.

But these ideas, this spiritual “think good thoughts” and live limitless, are contrary to reality and the history of the Biblical Genesis all people are forced to deal with. The Creator God confirms that these bodies for both men and women are finite, constrained, and broken. People, all people, including the pantheist trying to live a pranic life, are cursed and doomed to the limitations of a finite physical existence.

…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17b-19 ESV

God put limits on the human condition. He promised his creation that it would not be physically immortal like some undead zombie or evil vampire. Now there is a curious truth about God that further proves the point and at the same time gives perfect hope in the future that God has for His creation.

That truth is the nature of who Jesus is and what he accomplished on earth. First is the nature of Jesus to understand who is this Jesus. Unlike the pantheist drawing energy from the air and sun the Christian follower of Christ embraces reality of the temporary nature of life. Christians follow Jesus and Jesus is no ordinary man. Jesus is the living incarnation of the creator God himself. Does that shock? Is that a surprise? Jesus is God and Jesus claimed to be God. Not a god or someone who tapped into the god spirit of the universe. Jesus is the one true God.

58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58 ESV

Speaking to the Hebrew religious audience Jesus tells them before Abraham the first Hebrew was born that Jesus himself existed. This claim was taken as blasphemy by the audience. This claim is the excuse and the how for Jesus ending up dead on a cross. Look at the very next verse at the reaction to Jesus claiming divinity.

So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. John 8:59 ESV

This is the nature of Jesus. It answers the “Who” question. He is God in the flesh. God taking on the limitations of a human body. God come to man for reconciliation and restoration of the curse given to men at the dawn of creation. Understanding the nature of Jesus, who is God, now we can look at what he accomplished and how that accomplishment flies in the face of anyone, like the breatharians, trying to live infinite limitless lives in a finite limited world.

Jesus, who is God, is well known for fasting and focused times of prayer. Jesus clearly states that he and the Father are one because Jesus is God.

I and the Father are one. The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. John 10:30-31 ESV

Jesus who is God, that is his nature, is also finite and limited. Jesus is constrained by the body he has taken. God limited himself when he took the form of a man. Jesus in accomplishing the restoring and relational ends of his ministry had to leave. He was on earth for a short season and then returned to his own house. Living forever without food or without limitations on this earth is not possible for people. Doing so is outside of God’s plans and is contrary to the curse given to our forefather at the beginning. Jesus was not limitless so how can any other person break that constraint?

7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7 ESV

Jesus told his followers, the disciples, that he would go away so that the Helper would come to them. Jesus, who is God, is limited by the constraints of flesh and time. Jesus, who is God, in the form of a man is limited. He cannot speak with all people or be in place to comfort every soul. What is needed for this is the Holy Spirit the third person of the trinity. The Holy Spirit is not bound by time, food, or physical constraints. The Holy Spirit moves among men in all places always.

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. Romans 14:17-18 ESV

Jesus then demonstrates the limited nature of man by first doing what we could not do for ourselves. That is paying the cost of sin by death on the cross and reconciling those following after him to God. And second by returning to the Father and providing the infinite Helper to those followers. The one Holy Spirit that moves among us at all times and all places even while we individually are constrained to the limitations of nature.

If being free from the constrains of this world are in your heart then repent of your rebellion and turn toward Jesus who reconciles the temporary broken people of creation to the endless perfect Creator.

Why are you so Super Spiritual?

What does super spiritual look like? Is it following the laws to the letter? Is it living life in a monastery or in a farming utopia community away from the rest of the world? Maybe it is living with an anguished life that is always outraged at far away injustices. One should be able to tell from my tone that these are not the answer to the question. So what is super spiritual and maybe an even better question would be is super spiritual something that one should seek to achieve?

Spiritual as defined by Elwell’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology is a “state of deep relationship to God”. This makes the idea of super spiritual seem odd. A deep relationship with God is either there or not. To add Super to that seems redundant especially if one thinks of a relationship with God to be extraordinary to begin with. The claim to be super spiritual or to accuse someone of being super spiritual is really better understood as super religious. For our purpose here I am going to define religious as the act of keeping or maintain the laws, customs, reverence, and disciplines related to the Christian church that one might be part of. Maintaining all of those rules can be done casually or intensely and in that case when one thinks of a super spiritual person what they might really be thinking of is a super religious person. And super religious people can be just down right annoying, impressive, frustrating, or all of the above at the same time.

Jesus had very harsh words for the super religious of his day. They came in the form of a ruling class of priests who had very detailed ceremonies and rules that must be followed. These men were very proud of their rules and the fact that only they could maintain the order of those rules.

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matthew 23:25-28 ESV

Paul ran into the super religious even inside the Christian Church. These super religious people actually claimed to be “Super Apostles” claiming to be greater than Paul who was simply a regular apostle. This group of super apostles challenged Paul’s authority and wondered why he seemed week or timid in their presence. Not unlike a coward that boasts of his skills and the weakness of an adversary when said presence is not available.

5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. 6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. 2 Corinthians 11:5-6 ESV

So why did Jesus call the super religious hypocrites? He demonstrates the example in a parable.

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 ESV

The super religious Pharisee lived according to the laws and he compared himself to the tax collector that was most likely an evil unjust man. The Pharisee exalted his good works on the back of the horrible tax collector. Paul when speaking about the super apostles drew the same parallel.

But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12b ESV

Jesus teaching the disciples tells them that the tax collector humbled himself, boasted on nothing in this world, and confessed his failures to God in a real relationship of love, mercy, and God’s forgiveness.

Paul to make a point about the super apostles recounts his resume to let the Corinthians compare between himself and these men who boast in their greatness. Paul’s resume is impressive. He is after all the man called by Jesus to be the minister to the Gentiles and write a large portion of the New Testament. But Paul recounting his resume calls it foolishness to do so.

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 2 Corinthians 12:11 ESV

Paul tells us that he is nothing. He is humbled in his relationship with God the creator of the universe.

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV

God knowing what the power given to Paul for the good of the Church would make him like the Pharisee kept him humbled and dependent on the only true source of strength. That strength is not in man but God himself and a relationship with the Creator.

Spiritual is a state of relationship with God. Humbled and overwhelmed by His love. Weak but strong by His power. Resting in the arms not of self or men but the work, of Jesus Christ. This is where I want to be. Please don’t call me super religious because I try to live a life honorable to God. I know already how much I standout and make others uncomfortable with the direction of my life. It is not my intent to make people uncomfortable and please do not think I compare myself to anyone else because that as Paul said is foolish for me to do so. Know however that God has found me and started a relationship with me that I am unworthy and unfit to be part of. In that way I am spiritual and I wish to be more spiritual because Christ allows me passage to the King as His child. You too can have this spiritual nature if like the tax collector you humble yourself and ask for his mercy on your life.