Sunday, May 27, 2012

Starting to Believe

How does one become a "Christian"  - one who is committed to following Christ? Is there some point between not being a Christian and being one, a space of time where the crossover is made?  For some perhaps this happens rapidly, for others more slowly.  But how does it happen?  (Isn't that what we'd really like to know?)

I found something Piper said regarding how one comes to trust in the truth of the Bible to be helpful.    He distinguishes between God "'telling us' that the Bible is true" and "enabling us to see what is really there."  He writes,
The practical effect of this path is that I do not ask you to pray for a special whisper from God to decide if Jesus is real.  Rather I ask you to look at the Jesus of the Bible.  Look at him.  Don't close your eyes and hope for a word of confirmation.  Keep your eyes open and fill them with the full portrait of Jesus provided in the Bible.  If you come to trust Jesus Christ as Lord and God, it will be because you see in him a divine glory ad excellence that simply is what it is - true. (Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, p.121)
This does not diminish the work of the Holy Spirit, who helps us see this truth.  It does speak against the idea that we should pray for some sign or magical change in ourselves that will make us all of a sudden believe in something that a logical person would find unbelievable.  You don't trust and follow someone unless you know them; you don't know them unless you take the opportunities to do so.

art credit:http://www.omsc.org/art-at-omsc/huibing/jesus-opens-eyes-slide.html
This applies to those of us who already profess to follow Christ.  Are we truly looking at Christ, and expecting to see ever more?  The Holy Spirit does the work of helping us see, but do we allow Him to do so?  This is a challenge to me to really hunger to know Christ more.

Does this resonate with you?  Is what Piper says helpful?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Jesus of no generation and all time

"The glory of Jesus Christ is that he is always out of sync with the world and therefore always relevant for the world.  If he fit nicely, he would be of little use. The effort to remake the Jesus of the Bibles so that he fits the spirit of one generation makes him feeble in another.  Better to let him be what he his, because it is often the offensive side of Jesus that we need most."



So writes John Piper in his little book Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ.  Isn't that a relief?  We don't need to try to find and interpret a 'Jesus for this generation'.  We just need to find Jesus.  A real person.  Our Savior.  Our God.

Jesus Today
I find that sometimes I get so busy making connections between what Jesus says and my generation and culture that I forget that he is a real, living person.  He will never fit into my box and I am so thankful for that.

Is this true to your experience as well? What practical steps do you think we can take to know and listen to this Jesus - magnificent and loving and sometimes offensive - who lives today?