It would be nice if spirituality would be easy, right? No expectations. Elective choices. Plenty of latitude. But none of this is true about true Kingdom spirituality, even though it is very adjustable in religious terms. But there are also those who calculate spiritual trajectory and set very intentional steps toward pleasing God by His metrics.
FIRST KING – THEN KINGDOM – THEN CHURCH
Religious access to God is the way of mankind (even for an atheist). I gave religion a try. It proved inadequate. The harder I tried the more it failed me. Every behavioral success still resulted in ultimate emptiness. How could I become good enough to find peace? How could I find assurance that my life was going to be more than a speck on the time continuum? I needed to learn the difference between “being” and “doing.” I had to discover a different path than religion in order to find my way to God and to the satisfied mind only He can bring. I needed to become like Jesus.
“When a follower is fully trained, he shall be like his teacher.”
Jesus was and remains a “fisher of men” and calls us to follow. To be like Him. To imitate His faith and His relationship with the Father. Being with Jesus is far superior to knowing the right facts and merely doing the right things. I needed to follow. I needed to learn to fish the way He does. This is how Peter and James and John and the rest of His followers found their way. I needed to imitate their journey, find my own path to connection, and ultimately achieve a satisfied mind – as I entered by the narrow gate, through the Door.
So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” – John 10:7-9
This was my key to moving from my “me” paradigm to finding my “King” motivation. Jesus’ words began to animate for me. I began to understand how the Kingdom works. Rather than going to church I lived as part of His living work on the earth. I was becoming a fisher of men. This meant to succeed I would need to “love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor as I loved myself.”
Jesus taught me that true meaning is found in the pursuit of a pure, humbled heart, the very real experience of knowing God, being set free by His Spirit to do true kindness, and choosing to participate in growing life in others.
These four ideals guided Jesus’ own journey of faith. He left His home in heaven to become a man. He learned to connect with His Father in a faith environment. His kindness was deep and never self driven. His track record for continuing to bring life has been simply amazing.
Have you ever wondered when Jesus became “God aware?” In Mary’s womb? In the manger? In the Temple at the age of 12? When exactly did Jesus figure out He was God? And what was it like for God to become man? How has His example given us a clear path to pursue?
We engage this pure heart of Jesus, the presence of our Master through knowing God, the passion of our Savior to do kindness, and the honor of our King to grow life. These four passages from the God Story will help paint a brief, clear picture of these four principles for authentic spirituality. Check them out! (Psalm 51/John 1:9-13/Micah 6:6-8/2 Timothy 4:1-8)
All this gives us context for our lives. In God’s framework we freely discover personal experiences of faith, hope, and love. He alone can gift us greater purpose which will never fade away.
The Bride of Jesus
There are many good things which occur in and around the visible church. But we must never forget this is all a process of purification. We are being prepared as the Bride of Jesus, for a wedding and a marriage which is never going to end. Religion which points to this is truly orthodox (true).
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” – Revelation 19:7
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.” – Revelation 21:2
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” – Revelation 21:9
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” – Revelation 22:17
Let’s make ourselves ready!
Dave and Burnadette