new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

The Cellar

There is something morbidly compelling about the news from Austria of Josef Fritzl who hid his own daughter in a secret cellar and fathered seven children with her. We watch in stunned disbelief, and find ourselves wondering how on earth something like that could go undetected for so long. We wonder how on earth the children are going to adjust to the realisation that there is another world outside their bunker-like existence.

To be born into a situation and to know nothing else. To realise that there is another world beyond what you have ever known, to realise everything you ever thought of as normal was far from normal, to find out that you have actually been a prisoner when you thought you were free – it’s simply staggering.

And yet, perhaps, it’s not so unusual.

What if we were all born like that – except not in a literal cellar, but prisoner to a warped and distorted set of values that placed us at the centre of the universe and made the universe revolve around us? What if the way we naturally looked at life was wrong? What if the values we took for granted weren’t valuable? What if our view of life and the world was our cellar?

How often do we hear the phrase “Everyone’s doing it” as an attempt to define normality? But if we all live in the cellar what is normal for us isn’t actually normal.

It’s not enough to measure life by what we have experienced – where would that have left these poor children? They had never seen sky or daylight but that didn’t deny the reality of sky or daylight. They needed outside information. We need it too. We need something to tell us what is truly valuable, what the right values are to live by, where we have gone wrong, and how it can be put to right.

For we are all born captives to a human-centred worldview, a view that revolves everything around us. That’s our cellar. Into this cellar comes the outside communication that the universe is actually made by God and made for God – it is radically God-centred.

So we have a choice: we can either continue to live in the cellar, spinning in our own little personal orbits, or come up out into the light and live the way God intended us to live. It isn’t easy to make that transition from cellar to daylight, and that’s why God himself came down into the cellar to live for a while and to take us slowly and gently up into the “freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). That’s why we need to go to Jesus and seek his help in this radical realisation that we have been living with too small a purpose, in too self-centred a world. It’s just like being born all over again.