“We forfeit that birthright [intimacy with God] when we take folks through a discipleship program whereby they master any number of Christian precepts and miss the most important thing of all, the very thing for which we were created: intimacy with God. There are, after all, those troubling words Jesus spoke to those who were doing all the “right” things: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you'” (Matt 7:23). Knowing God. That’s the point.”
~ John Eldredge, “Waking the Dead”, pg 96
What a powerful statement. When those who always “did the right thing” stood before God, He said “I never knew you”. We try so hard to be “Good Christians” we go to church every Sunday, we read this book, or that book, we play in the worship band, we serve on a church committee or volunteer in one of the ministries, because, that’s what good christians do, right?
We think that if we do these things, we can somehow “buy” our way into heaven. That we will stand before God and He’ll say “we never spent any time together, but you did all this awesome stuff, I guess you can come into heaven.” Sadly, this is wrong, false.
Don’t get me wrong, going to church is a good thing, and so is reading books, playing in the worship band (if you can play or sing, I can’t, you don’t want me in the band), volunteering, etc, but if that is not accompanied by spending time with God, it doesn’t mean a thing.
I think this stems from two things
1) our human nature to want “formula’s” to things. We like it when know that if we do A+B, we WILL get C. But God doesn’t work like that. You do A+B, and I’ll get C, but you might get R, and someone else will get E. Why? Because every time we go to that “equation” there is one variable that always changes, “U” (see what I did there? My dad would be very proud of me for that one :p)
2) Our belief, or our teaching that “Christianity is a ticket to heaven.” I’m not denying that. I’m not saying it’s not true, BUT, I think Rob Bell said it best near the end of “Love Wins”:
“When the gospel is understood primarily in terms of entrance rather than joyous participation, it can actually serve to cut people off from the explosive liberating experience of the God who is an endless giving circle of joy and creativity.”
God loves us and wants to KNOW us. Christianity isn’t about “getting into heaven” it is really about living out a changed life now. Besides, how can you trust someone you don’t know. Think about it. You HAVE to know someone before you trust them, or at least know about them from a reputable source (and what more reputable source than the person themselves?) If you want to be able to trust that God is good, you have to know him.
One last quote before I finish up:
“An unknown God can neither be trusted, served nor worshiped.”
~ A.W. Pink
How true is that? One of the best examples of this that I see is in my good friend, Trevor. If you’ve spent any amount of time around my blog, you’ve probably heard me brag about him before, but I can’t help it. Here is a guy who at the age of 18 has a bigger passion for knowing God than many pastors. Yeah, he plays guitar on the worship team, leads the youth worship band, writes his own worship music, and does all of the things that “good christians” do, but unlike so many of us, he does them out of a relationship with God, not instead of one. I can say with confidence that if he felt any of those things were hindering him instead of helping him grow closer to God, he would drop them in a heartbeat.
He tells me that I’ve taught him so much, and I wonder how I could have, because when I stand next to him, I feel like a spiritual infant, and his desire for God makes me want to know God more. Oh that you could all have a friend like Trevor, if we did, methinks the world would be a MUCH better place…