We live in a mad world that seeks our attention. Neither introspection nor community service will work because the madness is within each of us. We need a Source outside of us to overshadow us, to come upon us.
Jesus said, ‘If I go.. I will come again.. the Comforter will come.’ It’s that simple. ‘He that believes on me will outflow rivers of living water.’ Kinda like a lawn sprinkler or irrigation ditch.
Humanity’s obsessed with God: where is he? why does he stay hidden? I believe God’s in our minds, our conscience, asking to be received inPerson. I believe God wants personal relationship and where I go with my thoughts and inward dialogue determines who God is to me, right now.
Although consistent, the Bible stories we grew up with are probably a lot inaccurate. The Jewish record keepers focused more on personal names, genealogies and on an event’s religious significance. God was ‘in their heads.’ People have always been fascinated by gods; Abraham and the Israelites narrowed them down to one–Jehovah.
So what’s up with the Bible’s many claims that, “The LORD said unto so-and-so”? I think he spoke to their conscience as he does with ours. Moses saw the sun reflecting on a mountainside bush and credited it to fire, and so to God. He was aware of Jehovah, and the resulting conversation was with him.
And this is where personal relationship comes in. And to me, precisely why we’re here on earth. So I follow through with this inner conversation based on what works for Bible writers. Plus, I take Jesus Christ to be the door to this relationship via a newbirth. My personal relationship with God began when I received him. Now I have a never-ending back-and-forth. I adore him.
When I begin to list creeds and beliefs where is Jesus Christ? The knowledge of good and evil belongs to him. “Come unto me, and drink.” The life of God will flow out of me in torrents unnoticed.
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Jesus of Nazareth’s strong symbolism makes perfect sense: “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” God delights to join the natural with his Spirit.
“Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” means he is come into mine. The life of God mixed with the dust of man. Life’s little details become my divine callings. Creeds and beliefs begone! they’re but backwash to truth. Jesus said, “I am the truth.”
I get a bit stirred when a Bible thumper hails scripture as his final authority. Often Psalm 138.2 is used; “.. for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” Okay, what is “thy word?” What is “thy name?” And above all, what is “above all?!”
Here’s my strategy when faced with confusing scripture. (Yes, there’s a lot!) First, look at the Lord–calmly look him in the eyes. Before I do anything I seek sensual contact with him. Hey, I know he’s watching me anyways.
And there’s my answer: the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything more, anything less is anti-christ. Simply looking at him resolves the issue. The question’s importance quickly fades, measured up against his authority. He is above all my final Authority.
Up on Mount Sinai Moses received a rough outline of God’s laws while the people below broke them. They were afraid of God; Moses feared. A right relationship with God is a personal responsibility to him. God’s laws are harsher than he is, and isn’t that his point?
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus power-points God’s New Covenant: being born again opens the door to a relationship with him. Mind you, a perpetual-working, personal relationship whereby I’m to love one God, and all people. I’m to hear his words, and do unto others.
From Day One, the Ten Commandments begat failure. Then in Matthew 5, 6 and 7, the Lord set forth an even more impossible principle. Perfection. Moses’ impersonal Do’s and Don’ts are outwardly possible, sort of; not so what Christ requires of his disciples. A right relationship with him hides nothing.
Jesus said, “Be ye perfect, even as is your heavenly Father.” Not possible but by his Spirit in me–myintent is forhishonor. A man that ‘walks in the light as God is in the light,’ intends to do so. “You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ but I say, Whoever looks on a woman to lust has committed adultery in his heart.”
This way of life is that yoke Jesus asks us to share with him. “This is the way, now walk in it.” I’m not alone shouldering the weight of the world. “Take my yoke upon you, learn from me.” The wholeness of a man grows via his intimate relationship with God. Loyalty is to a Person, not principles. “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”
The best part of the Good News is “life.” The life of Christ residing in the flesh-and-blood life of you and me. Heavy. All the secondary issues- eternal security, inerrancy of scripture, free will, blah blah- all pale comparatively.
Because life in Christ means relationship with God. No more lonely nights, no more empty days. Mundane to glorious to ordinary average, every event is shared with him. It’s all here in the Bible- God’s treasure is you and me. What is our life, without sharing with our Maker?
What is life in Christ? how do I receive the life of God in my life? That’s it! you receive him. Jesus Christ did what he did- gave his life- to give his life to the man or woman that will turn to him. Turn from living without him, turn about face. Face to face, with Jesus.
Think about the very next thing you’re going to do today. Okay? Now consciously share all those action-thoughts with the Lord. You talk to yourself, right? talk to him! He knows your motivations and thoughts and attitudes and intentions anyway. So share.
It takes practice. But honestly- read and see God’s relationship with Bible people. Start with Adam or Eve, Abram or Zechariah. Watch for the private exchanges of everyday stuff. (And the unusual too!) For example, Adam named the animals, and shared it all with who? his Creator!
Bible history mirrors world history in that we often use God to execute our selfish desires. Hear the Lord, to Samuel: “They have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” We want life to go our way.
Christ surely kept separate God and politics- “Give to God the things that are God’s.” Jesus fixed his whole purpose on God’s will: the Cross. Anything less was that spirit of antichrist: “Get thee behind me Satan!”
The devil vehemently attacks, ‘Jesus Christ is come in the flesh’ because his blood buys back our relationship with God. Yet still we insist, “We will not have this man to reign over us.”
Throughout the bible God shows me who I am–a rebel, independent and on my own, doing without my Creator. He intends a relationship that loves him, and does his will, in his world. “Fear God, and keep his commandments.”
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Relationship is reciprocal, and the man turned away. God intends kinship at any cost and the cross restores kinship.
Sins–war, genocide, slavery, rape–reveal the behaviors of men without God. Sin flat-out does without God. And yet he takes full responsibility via the cross. It’s his choice: “It pleased the LORD to bruise him.”
Any other way to goodness is anti-Christ, and continues to do without God. The cross is God’s common denominator of God and man. The cross brings each one of us before God. “Behold, I stand at the door.” Do you hear him?