Recently I was chatting with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. We used to attend the same church. We both left and she began attending the fastest growing church on the peninsula. The church is fresh and edgy and pastor “says it straight”. She loves her church and I’m really pleased for her and celebrated her recent testimonies with her, but one thing she said stuck in my head. She said, “I like to leave church on Sunday and know where I need to change.” Really? Most of us already know what’s wrong.
Knowing what I need to do or where I need to change doesn’t help me change or increase my desire to do it. Knowledge points out what needs to be different and the places where I fall short. It’s a yucky feeling, and it needs to be fixed so we scour the Bible in hopes of finding the formula to know how to change or what to do but the Bible is dismally disappointing on the 1-2-3 step method. Instead, we find parables and stories that are seemingly contradictory and Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything. I still don’t know what to do or when to do it. Is it the season for action or the season for reflection? Should I fast or not? Should I give to the poor or bring an extravagant to Jesus?
The Bible isn’t a 1-2-3 formula book because it’s supposed to introduce us to a relationship with Jesus. It’s more of a dating service profile than a formula for how to stay out of hell. He invites us into a love relationship with him and then turns us into world changers. Not because we’re supposed to, but because we’re in love and we want to. When I leave church, I like to leave with a greater understanding of the Lord’s love for me. Then and only then can I be a yielded and laid-down lover.
A man [or woman] with an argument is no match for a woman [or man] with an experience. Lovers accomplish more than workers. We are loved; we surrender to transformation because we are already loved, not in the hope to be loved. We are loved; Jesus died while we were still sinners. He died for us when we were at our worst. He doesn’t expect us to love him before we knew how much we are loved by him. Bible reading, prayer, fasting, service – all of them are excellent disciplines but none of them replace the first order, which is to be loved and in a relationship.
Have you noticed some married couples begin to look like one another the longer they’ve been married? We take on the resemblance of the one we are in a relationship with. When we are in a relationship with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we start to look like them. Jesus said, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Nobody has ever said they look like the law, the law doesn’t produce positive changes – it can’t. The Law points out where and how far we’ve fallen short but Jesus gives us a view of the greater things we can be and do.
I’m loved. I need to be reminded I am loved. You are loved, and I’m reminding you.
Giveaway: If you need a reminder, I am giving away copies of a teaching CD by Chris Gore on the Secret of John. If you’d like a copy, leave a comment or email me.
(I apologize for the late post, I've been trying to post since yesterday but experienced connectivity problems.)