I have been married for over twenty years. In those twenty years it seems nearly every significant fight with my wife could be traced back to some stupid, innocuous, or downright ridiculous statement. I have also grown to understand the amount of warfare that intensifies as we (the True Pursuit Team) come up to a weekend of ministry. That was why I found myself picking dandelions out of my yard on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, when I would rather have been smoking a cigar. Let me explain . . .
How have we learned Christ? It ought to be a startling thought, that we may have learned him wrong. That must be far worse than not to have learned him at all: his place is occupied by a false Christ, hard to exorcise! The point is, whether we have learned Christ as he taught himself, or as men have taught him who thought they understood, but did not understand him.
It is not because God is so far away that we are disconnected from Him. It is quite the opposite. We have never fully believed that He is so close, so accessible, so intimate as really He is. The flow of energy, which is all around us, is the Trinity. It is like a river, always flowing, always available and it is up to us whether or not we are willing to step into it.
One of my favorite movies is Seabiscuit. Do you remember that movie? It is the story of three broken men and a broken horse, and how they help each other on their journey to healing. Mr. Howard is an inventor and entrepreneur who loses everything during the Great Depression…his fortune, his marriage, and his young son.
Are we entitled to a clear lane on the highway so we can get to where we are going one time? How about getting seated a restaurant without waiting in line? What about free education, or a life without pain? I know many folks who feel that they are entitled to a nice comfortable life without any suffering. I am pretty sure that each of us could come up with a list as long as our arm of the things that at some level we feel entitled to.
True Pursuit Team members respond to the following:
“Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic; it is a gradual, progressive development that will take the rest of your life. Referring to this process, Paul said, “This will continue until we are . . . mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.” (Ephesians 4:13 CEV)
– Danny Davis
At the end of the movie The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard gives a diploma to the Scarecrow, a badge of courage to the Cowardly Lion, and a heart to the Tin Man. As they celebrated the fulfillment of their desires, the Scarecrow says to the Wizard, ”Hey, what about Dorothy?” Dorothy’s response was to say…”Oh, I don’t think there is in anything in that black bag for me.”
The first step toward “getting Scripture through me” was to check my motivation for reading the Bible. I could no longer read it as something to achieve. I had to read it to let the Living Word become more enfleshed in me.
“How are you reading Scripture?” is a question asked of Christ followers since the Reformation, when the Bible was translated into the language of the people. I confess that my main motivation for decades was to read it for knowledge. My conclusion was, especially as a seminary trained theologian, that I had to know more of the Bible than anyone I met. Worse yet, I concluded that knowing the Bible made me more spiritual. It was a simple equation that drove my biblical literacy and unfortunately promoted a level of self-righteousness and arrogance.
A few years ago I was watching a Godwit wade through the surf happily feasting on aquatic worms as the sun rose on Amelia Island. As I watched the silhouette of the bird, I was reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-27…