a wonderful post from Beauty from the Heart…here! Perhaps the conclusion to that article, as in the comments of one person was absolutely correct:
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. This phrase is very true. For a lot of people — myself included — it takes walking away from God to realize just how much he means to you. When you’ve gone through some very rough life experiences and had a crisis of faith, you do tend to be more of a basketcase. The mention of God no longer induces an intellectual response, but the simplest mention brings genuine tears to your eyes.
Think what you will, but I believe (from reading this article) this is where Mr. Templeton is coming from. Doctrinal knowledge simply isn’t enough. “Good” theology (whatever that may be) is not enough. When you come to the end of your “intellectual rope,” an intellectual nod to God simply does not suffice.
When you have grown up in a “Christian” environment, it is so very easy to respond to a suffering world with intellectual answers about who God is and what they should do. But you miss the point entirely. Knowing about God and experiencing who he is are two entirely different things. It is hard to see just how beautiful he is unless you’ve been in the gutter for a while. It is difficult to truly understand what a thirst for God is unless you have been without him for so very long. It is difficult to know about his mercy until you have gone so far that nothing but his grace could bring you back from the darkest pit. Knowledge is not enough.
Where I would differ with Templeton is that Jesus was an excellent preacher. He spoke in simple terms because that is all we can really digest. The Pharisees’ eloquence – where did that get them? Simplicity speaks to the heart, not fancy doctrinal terms, not intellectual discussions. Pure and simple truth is all that is needed. Were there many “technicalities” that Jesus did not address? Certainly. But that was the point. Focus on “spiritual technicalities” produces a stale heart.
Will Jesus care whether you were a Calvinist or a Charismatic – or will He care about how you followed His simple commands by loving one another because that’s what He’d do? Will He care what church you went to – or will He want to know how you loved and took care of all your brothers and sisters in Christ? How many books you read about theology – or how many times you actually paid attention to what was already in the Bible? Who your pastor was – or how well you listened to his teachings? Whether or not you courted or dated – or how you tried to emulate him in his relationship with the Church? If you were home-schooled or public-schooled – or if you made a difference regardless of what arena he put you in?
All of us need to dig a little deeper into the character of God and how we can emulate him to our fellow man. Sometimes, you are all the world will know of God. If you bear his name, you should also bear his scars.
These are just thoughts, and I cant claim that they are biblically accurate, yet they seem to resonate within my soul…perhaps its time that we let God be God, and we just love Him because He IS! Is it all about getting people to believe the way we believe, or about getting others to vote the way we believe God wants us to vote? Is it time that we all remember to love our God?
But how does one live that out? It is a much harder lifestyle, the lifestyle of love towards God. Its a love that controls your every move, your every breath! I dont even know what it would look like in real life. I think of how often people say “JESUS” when they are exasperated with something or someone. In that situation, what would I do different if Jesus Himself was really really really precious to me? Would I be angry with them? Would I be more inclined to entreat them to find another word to use? How would I respond?
Perhaps its time that I work on making Jesus worth that much to me! I want to appreciate Him fully, is that possible? No, but it is a life-long endevour! For how does one appreciate a great piece of art? One studies everything about it and finds all its great features and the features the casual observer does not. How does one learn to be truly in love with another person? By sharing secrets, learning the corners of their heart that no one else has ever cared to find out about. May I become a student and lover of my God!