Elemental: We Follow & Obey (4 of 4)
This is not a three step process to Spiritual Growth. It is simply identifying three necessary elements that are present in any life that is growing in relationship to Jesus Christ.
…According to God’s Word
Jesus resisted temptation while quoting the Scripture He Himself was obeying. Every time something was thrown before him, He resisted and quoted the Word of God itself. Following God is about following Scripture. The Bible is God’s message to us that relates His relationship with His creation. It contains all the great redemptive stories, promises, and most importantly: The Gospel. We can read and pray all we want. Following Jesus means putting what we’ve read & prayed about into action. We follow by obedience to God’s Word.
There are people I know who think I’m worse than insane to believe like I do. They feel that believing in anything we cannot observe, test, measure, and replicate is a sign of defective genetics, or worse. The fact is that I have Faith in God to be who He says He is, and to do what He’s already said He’ll do. Folks think that the faith of Christianity is just a crutch to escape the realities of human insignificance in a vast and cold universe. Of course, it takes just as much faith to dodge the question of where the origin of all things originates. And, I could care less what people think, if you weren’t sure by now.
The bottom line is that God is to be trusted at all times. He is to be trusted when we receive a raise and a promotion three years in a row, and He is to be trusted when we’re suffering and bleeding all over. Pastor Matt Chandler once pointed out that the author of Hebrews wrote that some of us are called to do glorious and amazing things like “shut the mouths of lions” and yet others are called to suffer and “wander about in goatskins.” Whether we are experiencing what our pop culture considers success or failure, we’re to be faithful. We trust God, read His Word prayerfully, and follow Him.
John 17:20 –26
I love the concept of the lone hero saving the day. I love seeing Rambo shooting explosive arrows at bad guys. I love James Bond using his gadgets and good looks to thwart the evil plans of an insane terrorist organization after convincing said terrorist organization’s leader to reveal his master plan right before Bond escapes and blows up the secret base (what a great movie plot idea). In fact, I love just about every lone hero revenge movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Sean Connery, etc. The only problem is, this isn’t anything like real life. At all. Please don’t kill me for saying that Chuck Norris.
Jesus Himself prayed rather than for each of us to be lone powerhouses, that we would be “one” as a church (John 17:20-26) in order to reveal the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus felt that our “oneness” or “community” was so essential to our lives that He prayed for us. He didn’t pray for you to be “super awesome” on your own, or even “more awesomer” than whoever you perceive as more successful as you. He prayed for us; a team. Not a bad team, but a championship team; a family.
Why is this so hard? Maybe because it is too hard for us to get all the glory if we have to share it with God and each other. Maybe it is because there are people in the church who are better teachers than us, or better singers, or better fathers, or better looking, or funnier, or smarter, and we’re afraid to get lost in the shuffle.
Following Jesus is about obedience to Scripture, by faith, with others. Jesus prayed for us to be one. Following Him together is an essential part of our faith, the way He meant it to be.
The above entry has been reposted and edited, and is part of a four part series called “Elemental: The Elements of Spiritual Life.” It is a reflection of what I have learned over time as necessary components to a growing Christian life. It is not an all inclusive formula of three steps that when followed will lead to a measurable and intended result. It is simply an observation of three elements told in four abridged segments that are always present in the lives of Christians that are growing closer to the Lord, and always absent from those who describe their lives as “not growing” spiritually. The intended audience is clearly people who identify themselves as Christian people, though not limited to them.