Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.
When He had been made complete and perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him…
It is your work to clear away the mass of encumbering material of thoughts, so that you may bring into plain view the precious thing at the center of the mass. -John Collier
The all-important center of the Christian faith is not anything we believe; it’s the person of Jesus Christ, with whom we are invited to have a life-giving relationship. -Gregory Boyd
Often I wonder if we’re more clouded than we realize. If we, even as Christians, depend on so much besides Christ for Life.
My friend Andy had a great observation the other day. He said we need to rethink the old saying “We all have a God-shaped void that only God can fill.” With that saying, there’s the assumption that the void is empty. It’s usually not. We can fill it with not-God things, and we have. So we do not even realize, for a while at least, that we’re missing something. We can mask the symptoms of soul sickness.
This reminds me of Jesus saying He did not come for those who are well, but for those who are sick. Perhaps by sick, He meant those who think they’re just fine. Why go to the doctor of you’re not aware of any sickness or even any symptoms?
I hear Jesus saying to us today, “If you’re not wholly dependent on me for your sole source of Life, then you’re not really living. Whether you realize it or not.”
Do we rely more on our belief system than the person Jesus Himself? Or de we go to the Bible for Life, instead of the true source, Jesus Christ? Jesus Himself warned sternly against this in John 5:39-40. “You search the Scriptures because you think they will give you eternal life. They do in fact tell about me, but you refuse to come to me for that life.”
It’s a seemingly subtle difference, yet this is what the surgical Logos of God can parse out and reveal to us, if we open ourselves up to Him and allow Him to have His way with our thoughts and beliefs.
We just need to be careful of going to everything but God Himself for our deep needs. Not talking surface needs like groceries. I go to Trader Joe’s for that. But when faced with soul needs, do we go directly to the source? (Just to be clear, the Holy Spirit may very well point us to the Bible for what we need at the moment. The point is that we are to ultimately be seeking God and not some means as an end itself.)
This past weekend I was having a little moment. Let me tell you about it. I’d been listening to The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, and watching episodes of Cosmos hosted by Neil DEGrasse Tyson. Then hopped on YouTube to check out more material along these lines. I love that stuff, learning more about the wonders of God’s handiwork. But at one point, hearing some of the atheistic and agnostic points of view, my brain started to melt, I felt this weird surge of doubt, and experienced a shaking of my foundation.
Or so it felt.
Yesterday morning, as God via Hebrews reminds us, I went directly to the Source, instead of giving in to the temptation to search out refutations and arguments for Intelligent Design or whatever. I just talked directly to Jesus about it. About how I felt, what I needed from Him, where my thoughts were going. And I felt a calm come over me at first. Then a prompting. One of those Holy Spirit promptings that is difficult to put into words. But sitting at the desk in my prayer room, I was led to glance over at the large stack of books I’ve read only halfway through, and the one that stood out (like a light shining on it, you know?) was Benefit of the Doubt by Greg Boyd. And I thought, that’s the next one I’m gonna focus on and finish. I can hardly describe the blessing and peace God gave me through the reading of this book yesterday. I had put it down months ago to concentrate on other stuff, and what God spoke to me through the page right where I had left off months earlier was exactly what my heart needed right at that moment. Another one of God’s orchestrated coincidences as I’ve graciously experienced so many times before.
I don’t need to go into the detail of what I read since that’s not really the point. You can see from the above quote a snippet of what I got. But I will say that the reiteration of the centrality of Jesus Christ being most important to the Christian life as our source for Life was the comforting reminder my soul needed, and I believe a direct gift from God in response to my call upon Him for help. (Was that a run-on sentence?) This is eternal salvation experienced right now if you ask me.
I was reminded that my foundation does not come from having unshakeable certainty in my beliefs, which can easily become an idol itself (certainty of being right), but rather the very person Jesus Christ who has visited me and been experientially real in my life here and now. When that is your center, you do not need everything else to add up exactly as you think it should, or to be empirically verifiable.
Looking directly to Jesus for Life in a posture of humility, belief, surrender, and openness to whatever He may give, will bring the rich reward of soul contentment, at just the right moment, which you will obtain from no other source, for there is no other source for such contentment.
In the name of Jesus, Soli Deo Gloria