Thursday, March 09, 2006

it’s not at all easy (1)

“Getting to know God is easy.” “It’s not hard at all to understand Jesus.” “The simplicity of the gospel . . .” Etc.
I’ve heard statements like those many times ever since I first walked into a church building and listened to people at the microphone attempt to communicate something of knowing God through Jesus Christ. The only problem is those statements are neither true or Biblical. At best they are misleading; at their worst (and I have seen them do their worst time after time), they breed despair and desertion.

You see, every serious Christian knows in their heart of hearts that these statements are false. They know they’re not true from their own experience with life in Christ. Daily we face a multitude of veiled and overt temptations that can be anything but easy to deny and defeat. All of us know what it’s like to go to bed at night on occasion and give a long, deep sigh all because the task of living for him had been quite costly that day. Why, not a one of us hasn’t found it exceedingly hard sometimes, yes, even impossible for us, to just talk to God, to simply pray.

And who among us understands every Scripture? Great, I know you’ll be happy to teach that class on Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah and Revelation next quarter. Or as Gregory the Great once put it:
"This book is like a pool in which a child may wade and an elephant may swim."
No, when we’re honest to God and with ourselves with the truth of our life’s experiences, we Christians know that knowing God isn’t at all easy, that understanding Jesus often appears just beyond our grasp and that there is little that is simple about living out the gospel.

But what you may not know is that there is an entire book of the Bible toward addressing this very issue – the difficulty and complexity, rather than the ease and simplicity, of God and his gospel, of his Son and our salvation. That is to say, it's quite Biblical to believe all things truly spiritual are challenging. The book that would lead us to believe such is the Gospel of John. And we’re examining that book on Wednesday nights at 7:00 p.m. right now in the auditorium here at MoSt Church. I’d like to invite you to be a part of this candid look at Scripture, our lives and Jesus as we allow John, the beloved disciple, to be our guide. And whether or not you can be a part of our class, I invite you to follow along here on my blog the related series of postings entitled Hard as Nails: It’s Not at All Easy. May you not find it too hard to do so.