The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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“The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who made him well. So because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.”
I was attending a course on the Bible given by someone from a different Christian tradition. His approach to the Bible was very different and I wondered if the life of Jesus was in him. My whole approach to the group and to the leader became distorted around this need to evaluate. Instead of going with them on a spiritual journey, endeavouring to encourage them towards faith in Jesus as they went on their journey, I began to think about how wrong they were and in need of correction. And of course here I was, the best person available to correct them. I had all the information I needed to engage in this battle. I prayed about it, prepared, sought the opportunity – but even as I did this I sensed that I was wrong. I was not seeking to share faith but doctrine. I was not winning to Jesus, but to a point of view.
Why was it then that this point of view was so important to me? Because if this one aspect of my faith was undermined then the whole basis on which I (not they) live my life of faith is undermined. It was not to serve them in their walk towards God, but rather to win them over to my way of thinking in order that I might be comfortable in my walk with God. If everyone is in my camp and sees things doctrinally from my point of view then I can be content in this sense of a community all going in one direction, mine! Of course, I must be consistent with the truth as I understand it. I must be honest in my relationship with Jesus. So, when questioned about what I believe, I don’t hide it but declare it – while trying to be careful not to undermine those who are weak in the faith.
It is clear that Jesus is bigger than my doctrine. “His intention was that now, through the church, the manifold [many sided] wisdom of God should be made known. ...” (Ephesians 3:10 NIV) He needs the whole church to express his manifold wisdom, not just my bit. Of course each part has its strengths and weaknesses, but that will always follow the fact that not being God, we are limited in our expression of him. It struck me that Jesus never took an initiative in attacking people for failing to fit in with his doctrine. Surely if anyone had the right to be doctrinally correct it was Jesus. Yes there were times when he pointed out people’s errors but usually these conversations followed an attack on him by that person or group. Jesus seemed to be guided by his own statement “Do not judge or you too will be judged.” (Matt 7:1-2) And here was someone who could stand in such a judgement!
So then the issue is not: What is right and what is wrong? But, what will serve this person in his pilgrimage of faith, while being honest in my own walk with Jesus.