Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You Probably Don't Really Know

One of the fun things about being a parent is watching your kids grow up and discover and learn about the world and how it works.  There are very few times in life where you exhibit an unshakeable confidence in your own abilities than when you are 4 years old.  A common conversation with my son is me trying to explain to him how to do something.  His retort is an exasperated, "I know dad."  Even when he doesn't. 

Apparently this attitude gets worse as children grow reaching its crescendo of snottiness in high school.  Luckily, around a kids early 20's, they realize how stupid they are and start begging for advice and help. 

When I was a teenager I wasn't walking with God and hated going to church to listen to my pastor dad drone on about the Bible.  In college, God got a hold of me and radically changed my life.  Not long after that I was home over a weekend and was completely flabbergasted by how good my dad's preaching actually was.  It was amazing.  I had only been gone for a few months and he had finally figured out how to preach effectively.  He must have taken some extra classes or something..... 

At lunch that day I half-jokingly said that if only he had preached like that a few years ago it could have really been good for me...... 

I was an idiot.  I am still an idiot.  My problem, like all of us, is that I am too often overly confident in knowing things.  And I don't even know what I don't know. 

Are you comfortable with where you are with God?  You're an idiot.  Philippians 2 reminds us that we are to work out our salvation with "fear and trembling".  This doesn't mean that you should be afraid of God like you are of clowns or debt collectors.  It paints a picture that our relationship with God, our salvation through Christ's finished work on the cross, is one of constant pursuit. 

When do marriages often have problems?  When spouses take each other for granted.  They stop working to know and enjoy the specialness of the unique and beautiful person who has chosen to walk life with them.  Take your wife for granted for too long and she might not be your wife for much longer.

We think we know God.  We think we have this whole Christianity thing figured out and we get our established patterns and what we "know" all lined up and managed in a comfortable way.  And then we coast.  Coast right to our demise.

In John 7, starting in verse 25, Jesus is responding to everyone trying to figure out if he really is the messiah.  Jesus says, you don't know me because you don't know God.  The impact of this statement is that Jesus is speaking in the temple, in the midst of a huge religious celebration(Feast of the Tabernacle) where everyone is congratulating themselves on being such good followers of God's commandments.  This is the time Jesus says, "Your party is a lie, because you really have no idea who God is"(my phrasing.....obviously)

The Christian life isn't a story of arriving.  It is the road map for a journey.  When we start to celebrate our arrival we have bought into a lie that the story for us is over.  This lie has two profoundly damaging effects on us;

1- We stop trying and descend into spiritual malaise and are mired in unhealthiness

2- People who are trying to struggle through the journey are made to feel like they have failed in some way because they aren't "there" yet. 

The second problem is the most pernicious.  How many of your friends and family feel spiritually burned out and failed because of this lie?  This is where hurtful phrases like, "Just try harder, pray a bit more, be HAPPY", do their worst work.  Because these statements are shaped by the idea that if only the struggler would do these things then they could also arrive to the place you are.........Lazy, unexamined complacency.

Stop pretending you know.  Start struggling with fear and trembling within the truth that you do NOT know God as well as you think you do.  But have hope that the road map is there and invites you to journey forward.

Sometimes we just have to be reminded of the basics.......

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