“Christianity is not playing with religious ideas, it is a man meeting God and because he meets God he has to do something about it — it is a critical encounter” (Kierkegaard).
Man cannot truly come face to face with the holy, perfect God and walk away neutral, untouched, or nonchalant when it comes to the meaning and purpose of life. We will only walk in one of two directions after an encounter with God; with Him or away from Him.
I’ve known many who were touched emotionally by a musical presentation or stirring stories of rescue from hardship or even through a reaction to others responding to the gospel that made a decision to live a better life for God as best they can. In this endeavor, they based their lives on how they felt constantly seeking another emotional experience. When they were feeling good, they claimed the presence and power of a closer walk with God. Yet the day-in/day-out experience of their lives was no different than before the first emotional high.
I’ve also known many who hear the wisdom of the gospel. Celebrating the perfect ethical standards of God’s Word. They then set out to follow those teachings by seeking various rational, behavior modification paradigms (with a “Christian” label) to change themselves for the good. As time moves on, they find solace in what they can do in their attempts to fit themselves into the morality and lifestyle of Biblical instruction.
In reality, both sets of people have an encounter with God and try to fix themselves. Sadly enough, they walked away from Him and looked to themselves or to other people to “find their way” life.
Look to Genesis 27-32. Jacob does his best both emotionally and rationally (often through his own scheming ways) to set his life on what he deems as the right path. It’s only when Jacob comes to God one-on-one that his life forever changes. Jacob sets aside neither emotion nor thought. He encounters God wholly with his emotions and his rationality. He comes to the end of himself and there finds God for who He is. He knows that the blessing he sought from his earthly father and the status he stole from his earthly brother is not sufficient for what he needs in life and eternity. It is the blessing of God, the strength of God, the life God intended for him that gives meaning and purpose to his life.
God did not create us in His image to live the wind tossed life of emotionalism. He did not lovingly give us life so that we could work hard to follow the rules of rationality. He gave us life to live fully as emotional, rational beings created anew in Jesus Christ. It’s in Christ alone that we find new life as He lives in us and through us. It’s an amazing thing that when we set aside our way of living and receive His life that we become what God created us to be in the first place. We no longer have make ourselves what we were born to be. We get to live what God made each of us to be. In this new life, we find the only freedom that matters. Freedom to live for Him now and forever. It’s a always a good thing to live the life we are supposed to live. The life of a born again child of God.
What a wonderful God He is. He brings us to the end of ourselves and in that moment He gives us the faith to believe, the courage to walk away from ourselves, and the responsibility to choose. It’s when we choose Him that He gives us the life we sought. The life we are meant to live.
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