Friday, October 13, 2006

...To "Pursue Christ"?

I had an interesting conversation with a man that I respect deeply, who has challenged me and provoked me to investigate several beliefs that I have. I love having these deep intellectual / theological talks with men who KNOW what they are talking about; but tonight I was reminded that we are all just children, sheep that need a shepherd.

My friend stated that he didn't think that he was "sold out" to Christ. He didn't go into detail but what he said next reminded me with a familiar argument that I have with myself. By what power are we sanctified? He said that he couldn't change himself so the Lord would have to work in his life... He is waiting on the Lord. I remembered how sad I was when those exact thoughts going thru my head.

I told him that sanctification was a partnership between us and Christ and that he has been given every power and every resource from the Lord to WALK in the Spirit. I am not sure if this sank in; but it provoked another thought. It takes more than knowing and talking ABOUT the Lord to KNOW the Lord. I have been guilty for sure of worshiping knowledge and putting it in a good light by worshiping the knowledge of Scripture but it is an idol all the same.

Pursuing knowledge of Christ is not the same as pursuing Him... I want to walk with Him and experience Him on a daily basis. I wan't to put down my intellectual pursuit of Scripture and put on Scripture and go be missional. I know that Scripture is important, I got that figured out, and I pray that no one that reads this would infer that I am diminishing the authority of Scripture or its importance to experiencing Christ.

I just want to see if any of you are in the same boat? We sure are talking a lot about this... are we doing it now? Are you out with the neighbors experiencing Christ, on the golf course experiencing Christ, at work doing what you do...experiencing Christ?

I hope that I will tomorrow, and the next...I sure haven't been doing that great of a job at it lately and perhaps I will have more to input to this great commission if I do.


John Lynch said...

It's just a relationship.

I had a conversation with a young guy today... Christian, goes to church, participates in his young adults ministry. I asked him where's he at in the journey & what God's doing in his life. He said he's feeling stagnant. I asked about his personal time with God. He said he doesn't have any because he's not a good reader & doesn't like to sit still & can't slow his thoughts down or goes to sleep when he does.

Relationships take work.

No magic formula. No miracle "make it easy" cure. No flashy, consumeristic boost. Real relationships take work - plain & simple. Our spirituality merely refers to our relationship with God. Sanctification, holiness, enjoyment, mission, & all the rest flow from that simple relationship.

Godliness flows from the relationship.

Great post, brother. May we all experience Christ as we walk with Him every moment in this one-of-a-kind relationship.

David Mc said...

Justin, I do relate to your hunger to truly know the Lord and I understand your fear of worshiping spiritual knowledge rather than the Lord Himself. I find myself in the same place.

Right now I am meditating on John 5:39-40 and some of the verses that follow. I’m sure you’re familiar with the passage. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees regarding how they had missed the point of the Scriptures. I think too often we read verses like these and smugly thank the Lord we are not like the Pharisees. But I wonder—I think Jesus could just as easily be speaking to many of us today. Jesus told the Pharisees that they dug into the Scriptures because they thought in them they had eternal life but these same Scriptures testified of Him and the Pharisees refused to come to Him that they might have life. The Pharisees thought that if they understood the Scriptures perfectly and followed them to the letter they would have eternal life. But Jesus was declaring that life was found in Himself and that the purpose of the Scriptures was to point men to Him. Now we certainly need to know the Scriptures—after all I’m drawing here upon my knowledge of Scripture to make this point and I am standing upon those Scriptures as the authority behind the statements I have just made. Furthermore, we need to know the Scriptures because they reveal the truth regarding God, Christ, ourselves, the world, what our life should look like, and a million other things. Without them we are easily deceived. But our problem is that we readily get caught up with the knowledge of the truth and its defense and propagation and we miss the Truth itself. This is exactly what happened to the Pharisees. If we are not careful, we will become their modern day counterparts.

I think the following analogy says it well: The Scriptures are like a detailed photograph of Christ that we study so we will know Him when we find Him. But now that He has come, we had better not worship the photo when we have the Person right before us.

As we seek to follow the Bible in regard to establishing a church life with others, we can easily get caught up with implementing what we have gleaned from Scriptures and miss the Life that is behind them. Certainly, the Bible must ever remain the yardstick by which we measure everything we do and teach. But that yardstick includes knowing Christ as love, grace, and mercy—all of which demand to be experienced and not just studied. And if we are to have anything even remotely similar to the early church, we must experience Christ as the reality of everything we teach others He is. Satan doesn’t mind our teachings of Christ just as long as those teachings do not translate into an intimate and loving relationship with Him. For without that relationship and the love for Him and for one another that comes from it, all our Scriptural applications become dead letter, and no matter what we do externally, we will never have the reality we deep down are seeking.

I hear you Justin and I’m with you on this.

David McCarthy

bryan said...


John Lynch said...

Right on.