If eternal life is an intimate and ongoing relationship with a triune God (Jn17:3), is it possible we short-change ourselves with misplaced relationships? Something less threatening that may look similar?
1. Could we have a relationship with a concept of God?
2. Could we have a relationship with the concept of salvation? A cross perhaps?
3. Could we have a relationship with an organisation who points towards God?
4. Could we have a relationship with theology?
5. Could we have a relationship with a supernatural gifting or realm obsession?
Yes. Yeah. Yep. Ahaa. For sure.
Confession: I’ve done these things. I still do at times. And it’s not like these things are not important; they are, but they’re not the main thing.
I get lost in theology and forget to connect with who it’s about. There is no salvation in theology.
I find myself fretting about church attendance and forget who we are gathering to adore together. People are the church.
I look for ways to wrangle a prayer request (wish) from God and it’s like I touch the hem of His garment but forget he’s wearing it. Jesus is my healing.
At Easter, I can focus on the cross and forget about He who hung on it – focusing too much on Jesus ‘it is finished’ declaration while forgetting that in Jn17:3-4 Jesus tells us that eternal life comes from knowing Him and he’d somehow (already) finished the Father’s mission in relationship??.
Why do we do this? Why do we fool ourselves and settle for other kinds of relationships, pious as they are? Today, I’m considering its largely to do with the overwhelming threat so many of us encounter when it comes to intimate relationships. That is, the incredible risk involved with being known.
So many of us live with deep shame around our darkest parts. The skeletons in our closet. The weeds amongst our wheat. The iniquity we hide in hearts, like Adam did (Job31:33). We believe the lie that somehow God might not be able to handle our shit. We misinterpret God’s holiness for some kind of white-gloved perfection-demanding father, who avoids poopie nappies, rebellion and misbehaviour – forgetting that He is the Prodigal father who runs and embraces us in our worst, dirtiest, shameful moments.
Dr Curt Thompson teaches that to know something is very different to be known by someone. In fact, it takes a very different part of the brain, a different capacity, and a different way of being to be known. Walls must come down. Nakedness is required. Vulnerability and honesty are a must.
This is what’s on offer and I challenge you today, along with myself, to believe that eternal life ONLY comes through a deep and intimate relationship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I’m talking about a non-violent, co-suffering, self-emptying triune God who Has already brought you into their divine dance and loving embrace.