I have been fascinated by religion all my life.
Even more, I have always been intrigued by the discipline of theology. The study of God-stuff.
As a child, I felt as if there was still a certain level of fantastical sugar coating over all of it. Religion and God. On Sundays, the preacher in church seemed set on making God an otherworldly experience. Something magical, that they alone had the ability to communicate. As a kid, I ate that sugar coating up like it was candy.
It wasn't until I got older and asked myself how "real" this God-stuff was to me, that I started to doubt the fantastical sugar coating. My true wakeup call came when I faced possible death. In that moment, reality finally hit me. Right in the face. Or, more accurately, right in the brain.
Something happened when I went under for brain surgery. What? It was the awareness of God's realness. And this made this whole religious-theological conundrum very simple to me. My perspective on that fantastical, magical Bible shifted for me in an instant. On my way into surgery it suddenly hit me: the Bible is real. It reveals reality. That one thing, changed everything for me.
Eventually, all Christians will have to ask themselves the following question: how real is the Bible, to me?
Pretty simple question, right?
When you take the approach that it is real, you will discover something new. In the text of the Bible, where there were once just words, you will suddenly find an incredible, unambiguous revelation, laid out for all of humanity to grasp.
Believe it or not, the message of the Bible is quite simple. And real. When you read the New Testament it becomes so apparent, even a child could understand it. God desires one thing from humanity. What?
It is the one thing that makes up the core of our very existence. It is that one thing which we each have complete control over. Let me give you a hint: it isn't your ethnicity, your financial standing, your geographical location, your intelligence, your theological knowledge or your expertise.
We try so hard to daily refine it; we put extra effort into clearly demonstrating it to our peers. We spend thousands of dollars to gain expertise, to gain approval and to meeting industry standards. Just so we can shape it. We are willing to die to make sure the world knows where we stands in it. In this one thing.
Even when we claim to be Christians, the one thing God is truly after, is very rarely known. Or surrendered. We surrender it to our career path, our position in the church or society, our place in the home or in the social groups we attend. But, more often than not, we will put our selfishness first, rather than offer up this one thing to Him.
What is it?
When you take a step back and think about this, trust me, you will see how much sense it makes, how simple this thing is. You will also understand why it is such a sacrifice for us to become wholeheartedly submissive with it. This one thing, it takes so much for us to give it up.
That one thing is this: your Identity. If the Bible is real, then we must admit that God is after your identity, my identity, everyone's identity. More than anything else. For what purpose? He wants our identities to, without question, reflect Him.
This statement may have to be simplified, to ease the minds of the overly analytical and the theologically-minded. So, let's be clear. Your identity, your true identity, is made known to others by the way you conduct yourself, both privately and publicly. It, unlike your body, stands the test of time. It underlies all of who "you" are.
Motivation matters. When you genuinely live by biblical principles, and make serving your King a priority, you will certainly be categorized a "believer" by observers. No doubt. But, the kicker here is that God knows you to the core. You can't fake your motivation with Him. You are either all in, or not. Now, don't misunderstand me. "All in" doesn't mean you are perfect. Just committed. That means, living like Jesus (see, 1 Corinthians 11:1, 1 John 2:6, Ephesians 4:22-24; 5:1-2, John 14:15, Matthew 11:29).
"Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did" – 1 John 2:6
Living this way, surrendering your identity to Christ, is not easy. But, it is what God is requesting of us. And, yes, it is how He will measure us. It is quite a beautiful conundrum, if you ask me.
So ask yourself this question: if you are to be known in this world, what identify will it be left in the minds of those who engage you? Will it seem to them that you are lawyer, a doctor, a millionaire, an entertainer? Or, will they think of you as a Christian? Without a question. Without a doubt.
Something to #chewon.