I've been reading this book by Gene Edwards called "Living by the Highest Life"; really amazing book (and my favorite Christian author, by the way) for those of you who are interested.
Of course, the "highest life" in the book's title refers to God's life; the life that is spiritual, eternal, not created; the life that is deeper and more substantial than any other life. But, interestingly enough, the book puts God's life on a "biological" chart--if you will--showing all other kinds of life in relation. What does this have to do with us? Well, the book makes a really interesting point; that many of the traits of a certain species are significant only to that species. Example: give a $100 bill to someone and they get really excited, but give it to a dog and it will probably just sniff it or chew on it. Buy a girlfriend diamond jewelry, and she'll cry with happiness, buy a cow diamond jewelry, and it'll just keep eating grass! Let some of the world's top scientists in on a new equation developed for quantum mechanics, and they'll be drooling all over the place to discuss it, but talk about such things with a pigeon, and it could care less. Some might say that the reason behind this is because animals are obviously less advanced than humans, but not so fast!
Anyone who has ever had a dog understands that they live in a totally different world than we do. They hear things, see things, and smell things that we are completely oblivious to. In fact, their world revolves around their acute senses--and so does the world of many other animals--in a way that we cannot even fathom. Consequently, they may actually think of us as the stupid ones, because we lack the ability to detect natural disasters before they happen, to instantly understand volumes about friends and objects simply by their smell, etc. This is something different; we usually think of our values and interests not translating to forms of life below our own on the "biological" chart, but we find that this also works in the reverse; that animal values and interests don't translate up to humans, either.
So the question I want to pose is this: if there is such a huge gap between the values and interests of animal life and human life, then how different must God's values and interests be from our own. Have you ever thought that human's obsession with science and information and material possessions and power is something that only applies to humans, and translates neither up or down on the "biological" scale. Angels care just as much about our big houses or higher education as a cat would.
As Christians we have become a hybrid species. We have a soul; our human life, but we also have the highest life within us; the very life force of God Himself. When a squirrel gets up in the morning, it lives by squirrel life. When a tree "wakes up" in the morning, it lives by tree life. When angels "wake up" in the morning, they live by angel life. But when Christians wake up in the morning, we can choose between two completely different sources of life! We can live by our fallen human life, or by the eternal life, the divine life!
A word of caution, though; you can bet that many of the things that God values are quite different and sometimes downright opposite of human values. Human life values getting all you can, God values loosing everything. Human life values building yourself up, God values brokenness. Human life values escaping pain and suffering at any cost, God freely gave His own life to brutal torture and a humiliating, excruciating death for those He loved; clearly He holds pain and suffering as something deeply sacred.
I love in Isaiah 55 when God puts it so simply: "My thoughts aren't your thoughts; my ways aren't your ways." It is true, and yet through Christ's life in us, we have the opportunity for His thoughts to become our thoughts, and His ways our ways. The true Christian life takes a lifetime of unlearning our human life and learning the rhythms of the new divine life we have been given. Let's start now to seek Him within, to draw upon that eternal life that He has given to us. Let us learn to live by the Highest Life.