“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord…” (Hosea 6:3, emphasis mine)
I find it interesting to reflect on the inherent loneliness in the world. It’s understandable how social media and social interaction of all shapes and sizes is so prized. I may not be a gadfly and I’m certainly not an inveterate loner and while those may be the opposite ends of the social spectrum (in my opinion), I see shades of those personality types in me and I seem to fluctuate. And to situate myself in the middle is too simplistic a classification. Solitude is wonderful but so is the company of friends whom I trust. Where am I going with this?
When one accepts Jesus, the prevailing attitude is two-fold: “But we see Jesus…” (Hebrews 2:9). Firstly, we see that He’s real, for the first time in our life, the scales have fallen from our eyes and all we want to do is build upon the foundation that He laid for us. This is the difficult work of “working out our own salvation” (Philippians 2:12). Conversely, secondly, the impetus to go out in the world and do work for Him is a burden and a responsibility that is not immediately explained by anything you’d encounter in the world. The world that has now become a halfway house on our way to Heaven. We also have developed this insatiable appetite for His Word. We can never get enough. And while all these are good and admirable and essential, I would issue a word of caution before launching out on our grand life before the Lord: make sure that whatever foot you put forward is in the direction that He wants you to walk. And walk with Him. I’ll try to word this as plainly and as un-symbolically as I can. To a great degree, Jesus doesn’t care what we do for Him or where we go or how it’s done—as long as we take the time to stop before doing anything and get to know Him.
(I didn’t mention “love” one time in the preceding paragraph. That’s not right.)
“That I may know Him…” (Philippians 3:10)
Paul expressed the greatest desire of his life was to know Jesus. This is truly the point of existence. As audacious and fanatical and overzealous as that might sound, once you know Jesus, everything and everyone else pales in comparison. And every other aspect of life begins to glow with a beauty that you weren’t privy to prior to knowing Him. But I digress. The point of this page is slowing down and not running off to do whatever it is we feel after accepting Jesus. But to stay where we are (if that’s what He wants) of our own volition and soak in His love for us. And to reflect that back to Him in a thousand different ways.
I wonder the motive for much of the Christian work in the world today. Why is it that we have missions and meetings and work in whatever capacity? These aren’t rhetorical questions and the answers in many cases are self-evident. When a local church decides to send a team of workers overseas or down to Central America to open a dental clinic and build houses and found a satellite church, the physical benefits go hand in hand with the spiritual. This is good, this is essential. Inter-church work is much the same. A meeting held regarding finances is necessary as it’s impossible to work in many spheres without monetary support. I’m not downplaying the importance of any of these projects. But consider the spirit in which all of these actions are performed.
Jesus says “In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:19) I know that much of what I do stems from the desire to discover the depths that I feel resonant within me. Some sort of spiritual echolocation tells me that there is more to me that I haven’t seen. It’s part of what keeps me going. Part of what makes me turn up my collar against the loneliness in the world and press on. But as Jesus says, it’s a process. One that requires patience. Sure, Paul says “ye are complete in Him…” (Colossians 2:10) and I believe this. But it doesn’t mean that I see all of me yet. And how does Jesus’ command to “possess” your soul with “patience” mesh with His strict command to “deny [myself] and take up [my] cross daily” (Luke 9:23)? Maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here? I will say this. That if Jesus is the one who created me, then He knows how to unlock the deep chambers of my soul and spirit. This, I think, is what much of the heart-less busywork in the church today is aiming toward. I know I’m guilty of this.
The truth is, if we land on “Go” and go no further, we still collect the $200.
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity”–love. Jesus. (1 Corinthians 13:12-13)