*1 Cor. 8:1-3 *Luke 13:22-30
Just knowing a lot about Jesus and not truly knowing Him intimately causes a few things to unravel in your life. You start making sure that you are doing the right things and not doing the wrong things. You learn all the right answers and you do all the right things in front of the right people. You have focused so hard at making sure that people think you are a Christian that you have even convinced yourself, even though deep down inside your heart is crying out, your soul is desiring something to cling too. Jesus being only the object of behavior modification starts to breed and produce dying faith. When faith is dying you will take one of two routes. You will continue to fake it and become very legalistic and pharisaical. This unpacks in your life when you start looking at others through a self-righteous mindset and you judge people based on your standards instead of God’s love and grace. You start judging people based solely on their actions without engaging their heart. You start only hanging out with people that view Christianity in the same way you do. Then you get together and talk about other so called Christians and their bad behavior. You will never confess or admit your failures and short comings because you have convinced yourself they are not that bad and you will not ruin yourself-righteous reputation. All this will lead you down a road of negativity and bitterness. You will never be satisfied with the Grace of Jesus working in and through people, passively denying the cross. Your heart will become very cold and very hard but you have learned all the right answers and you know the Christian lingo well enough that you can easily convince others that you are in a great place with Jesus. Jesus will either break that now cold, dying , hard heart with some sort of event or incident in your life that will bring you completely broken to your knees, or you will continue down this path till your death!
The other way that dying faith will work itself out in your life is when you are challenged you will walk away. So far Jesus has only become to you behavior modification. You have learned all the right answers and you do all the right things in front of the right people. Now it is graduation you are leaving to attend a secular university where now you are going to face challenges that all the right answers will not work because they have been tailored to the right people(other Christians). You will be sitting in your philosophy class and your mind will be challenged against your faith and because you never gave your mind over to Jesus you will walk away. In your psychology class your heart will be challenged and since you never gave Jesus your heart you will walk away. In your dorm life your desires and passions and joy will be challenged and because you never found your passions, desires, and joy in Christ alone you will walk away. This internal and external battle will begin and what is on the inside will always win!! You can modify your behaviors and be, on the outside, this perfect Christian, but when something challenges you from the inside out the inside will always win. (Matthew 15: 10-20) So often we get rid of the behavior which has become a housing or an avenue for our heart. If we get rid of the behavior and do not give our heart to something to cling to, then our heart will be crying out / aching for something, and its usually the behavior that we just modified. Our hearts were meant for Jesus. Our soul was meant to cling to Jesus. Behaviors are activities from the heart. We can not change the behavior without changing the heart. So just knowing about Him produce a dying faith that either causes you to be pharisaical or to walk away because you made it religion. In both of these situations all you have attributed Jesus to is rules and behavior modification, making sure that you look good on the outside. By doing this Jesus becomes to you a pleasure and joy remover. Jesus came so that we could live right!!! No!!!! Jesus came so that we could have life more abundantly!! Jesus is ultimate joy, pleasure and life. Not boredom. In fact the book of Ecclesiastics tells us that God created pleasure. So we can find no temporary unsatisfying pleasure, but everlasting, completely satisfying pleasure in Jesus. In Matthew 13 there is the parable describing the Kingdom of Heaven, which is interchangeable with Jesus. It says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. ” No one told this man that he had to sell all of his stuff to buy the field, he wanted to. No one said before you buy this field you have to do this and stop doing this. This man found a joy in that treasure that is unexplainable. That treasure had his heart well before he sold his stuff to buy the field. That is Jesus. He wants are heart. He wants our mind. He wants to mingle with our soul. We try to give Him our good behaviors and he says “My Son died for those” We try to surrender to Him our bad behaviors and interestingly enough he says “My Son died for those”. I think we need come to a realization that your goodbehaviors are like filthy rags to God and our bad behaviors look like, well filthy rags before God and what He wants is for us to give Him our heart. He wants to sanctify us from the inside out. Jesus died while we were yet sinners. He wants to be our ultimate joy and satisfaction. That can only happen if you give Him what He is ruthlessly after, YOUR HEART. I can’t explain what this looks like because God’s grace works out differently in everyone’s life. That’s what makes this dangerous. You can’t control people with grace! But GRACE saves people and I thought that is what we as Christians desire. I thought that is why Jesus died. I can explain a little about my heart being given over to Jesus: I don’t spend time with Jesus so that He will sanctify me, I spend time with Jesus because He is sanctifying me! I know what it is like for my heart to beat for me and and I don’t like it. I know what it is like for my heart to beat in sync with Jesus and it is completely satisfying so I want it! I know that the only reason I have righteousness is because of Jesus. When God looks down He sees Jesus. Knowing this I want to reflect and let others see what God sees, JESUS. None of this is changing behaviors; first it is letting Jesus change them from the deepest parts of my heart. So now when I have one of those “dark nights of the soul” I don’t try and clean myself up and then come back to God; I get up and run back to Him and let Him clean me up through the Grace and mercy delivered to us by the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Do you just know about Him and not really know Him?
Does He know You? Luke 13: 22-30
Does He have your heart?
Do you need to stop with the behavior modification and allow Jesus to work in you and throughyou?
Is Jesus your ultimate source of Joy and Satisfaction?