It is sunday morning and I prepare once again to attend church. And I am confronted again with the question, "What's it all about?" I have been in the church my whole life and I have been forced to ask myself this again and again. If you walk into any Christian bookstore this week, you will encounter a vast array of literature. All of them set out to explain some aspect of the God/Human relationship. There's a lot to consider! There's an awful lot of ideas to muddle through! I would be the last to suggest that I have capacity to judge which are valuable and which are not. Being that we live in a world of variety, we are bound to have a variety of perspectives in Christianity. It may be this very thing that keeps us balanced. Like tensions pulling against each other yet keeping us in place.
The wise King Solomon said this in Ecclesiastes 1:18: "For in wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." The wise ole' king has concluded for us that the more one knows, the more one is bothered by what he knows. Reality did not prove to be so beautiful for Solomon. Although he enjoyed many things, he realized that the heart of the matter was still disillusioning. "I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after the wind," Ecclesiastes 1:14.
After years in Christianity, I can say much the same thing. I've seen it all and most of it was fruitless; just a striving for vacant air. So, I have to ask myself again, "What is it all about?" So many ideas! So many perspectives!
I will have to resign myself to something if I am to have any anchor, any stability in this life. And my resignation is this: It is true. What on earth do I mean by that! Well. ...obviously the Author of our salvation was aware of the various ideologies that populated the Judaic faith. So, He made this statement, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. this is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and Prophets," Matthew 22:37-40. Book after book had been written and added unto the Law and literature of Judaism to exhaustively instruct Israel on how to do this very thing: love like God loves. But, all of the instruction had failed to produce a loving people. More was needed than methods and rules. We couldn't love like God loved because we were not like Him. So we must add this: "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules," Ezekiel 36:26-27. The Gospel! How refreshing! Both the method and the means to be restored. ..or as we say, saved.
And it's true. God sets our person down in the sixth day and our eyes get wide with wonder as we perceive His careful, considerate, intimate and delightful recreation of our dust. We are reawakened to the quality of God, self and our neighbor. And He stoops low to breath a breathe of fresh spiritual motivations, desires and will. We want to love as He loves! We have His new and gracious pure heart beating about in our thoughts and emotions. I contend for this faith: That when an individual asks for this heart, God gives it. We are recreated because He says so. No other reason. "Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you," John 15:3. Really? It's that easy? We ARE because He says so?
It is frustatingly too easy for the human mind. But it is true. "Abide in me, and I in you," John 15:4. Everything else is a chasing after wind. We get it all on the sixth day and we get to live inside of the seventh. We rest in His good idea, His good perspective, His good opinion. The whole recreation of mankind is very good. I suggest to you that the only thing that can keep us from this Gospel experience is just not believing it to be what it says it is. If I do not believe that He showed me how to love as He does and than motivated me to love as He does, I will always be chasing a fabrication to make it so.
The conclusion of the matter: Take a good look at what He gave you. Stay there. Lie down there. Rest in it. You will never BE the same.