Recently I’ve talked to more people about religion, God, Jesus and worldviews than I have in a long time. I’ve been enjoying the conversations very much, but something keeps happening. As the conversation shifts to their views on spiritual things, people start to talk about God in very free and liberal ways. “God is my father in the sky” or “I believe in god, the god of all religions.” I then dialogue with them after asking them what they think when the Word of God says of Jesus, “I am the truth, the way and the life” or Jesus said of himself, “If you know me, you know my Father who sent me.” We all desire to know God, to go deeper, but God has pre-ordained a way to himself….through Jesus.
My impulse to that is, isn’t that quite narrow? Just Jesus? I mean what if you read the Bible, do good works, and just believe in God. Isn’t that good enough? If we say yes, if we have taken upon ourselves the assumption of rulemakers. If we say yes, then we have basically said, “This seems good, SURELY God works this way.”
When a 14 yr old boy approaches a girl, who he has never talked to, with that classic note which reads, “Do you like me? Check one: Yes or No” he doesn’t presume she likes him and throws away the note thinking “SURELY she must like me, because I’m a good guy who likes to play games and am fun” before he lay’s a smacker on her lips. He would be a fool! Why? There is a certain way to her heart, abounding in sweet words, full of flowers, all along a path made of 78% Dark Chocolate. All of us men, who think to even start presuming new rules on our own in our pursuit of those wonderful beings God gave us, know it just can’t be done (I will concede, there are a few who may enjoy less than traditional means to her heart…alas all analogies break down somewhere). So there is one way to God.
My question still stands, why are so many comfortable with just God, and not Jesus?
In brief I think its because Jesus is so specific!! He came, fulfilled a set of rules, gave new ones, and told people how to live, and how to find God. That’s how it feels to unbelievers I think. They say, “How could a gracious god such as mine come down from heaven, and speak judgment upon all who don’t beleive, that’s harsh! That’s not my god!”
So many rabit trails could be had at this juncture, but I want to hone in on one nature of the heart that might be the culprit in giving vent to this sort of attitude. The comfort of ambiguity (or maybe the desire of laziness).
This ambiguity is to describe anything that would otherwise be direct, clear, upfront or potentially offensive. People don’t want a god that tells them they are inherently bad, and need something to save them, no they want friends as gods, who will “accept them as they are.” Who wants to have a god that whispers in your ear, “you shouldn’t be doing that.” What we really want is a lawless god. It’s his law that gets us, because from the moment we are born we live against it.
The ambiguity plays into it all, when the mind walks to the fringes and says “Maybe God wouldn’t mind if I did this, but maybe he might.” In the space between obedience and rebellion, there is blissful ambiguity, in which we just don’t know for sure, or we have found some peaceful middle ground where accountability does not show its annoying face.
This is right where the devil wants us…arms length away from the reality that can change us forever, but far enough, seemingly, from evils grasps to not make us feel utterly evil. It is the sucess of the evil one to allow us to feel that we have done no wrong, and don’t need saving.
Here, our best weapon is cold water! Yes, ice cold water, the kind that causes even the deepest sleeper to rise in a gasp. The cold water of reason that says we do wrong and are in need of Savior.
In this realm of ambiguity, we must be counter-cultural. We have to be that prophetic word that splits flesh and bone, straight to the soul. Jesus is the way, the truth and source of life eternal! This is the message, don’t be afraid of it!!