Its not about what but who!

13 09 2016

christ-welcomeRecently, it was my privilege to officiate a funeral for an 88-year-old widow who was deeply adored by her family. As I was meeting with the family to make plans for the service, her daughter shared about her mother’s revelation of Jesus shortly before her death. The mother’s description of our Lord was vivid, moving and she was deeply impacted by the experience of seeing Him. She described Him as wonderfully loving and gracious and that she was totally at peace with His presence. It gave the daughter a profound assurance that her mother was being welcomed into His arms.

But in that very same discussion the widow’s son wanted to query me on how he could be sure that his mother was in heaven. He had gone to some effort the day before to ask the same question of his own church leader. He was deeply concerned about how a person enters the next life and particularly where it was. My response to him was to reflect on the revelation that his mother had had of Jesus and to let it speak to his own heart as to her eternal destiny. If Jesus had revealed Himself to her in this way, why would we question where she was?

As I reflected on this incident it again called to mind how Christianity has lost its focus on the  centrality of our faith. Somewhere in our belief the what and where has become more important than the who. For many, the great interest in the next life revolves around the environment and what it will be like, will we like it, what will we do, who will we recognize or how can we be assured that we will go there? In all of this, we have overlooked the key truth of the Gospel. It’s not about a place but a person! It’s not about what but who!

Where did we begin to be more concerned about what heaven will be like and not be so interested in the fact that it is about our full union with Christ? Where did we shift from making Christianity about its benefits and not about knowing intimately its key benefactor? This is the central issue that plagues many believers today. It has become more about us and less about Him. When it’s about us and me then our faith becomes nothing more than what we get or need to perform or change. That is what we call religion and it is no different essentially than most other religions in the world.

Christianity is firstly not about us, it’s all about Jesus and our relationship and awareness of Him. It’s not about places or things but about knowing Him as a person. It’s about being united to Him as the central person in the universe. It’s about a courtship, not a place to go to. The next life is about finally being fully and bodily with Him. The place is irrelevant, but it just so happens that where Jesus hangs out is pretty spectacular. When I was getting married, where I was going to live was not that important as long as it was with my wife. Our love transcended all thoughts of things and places, especially that little attic room with a fold out bed.

This is our passion, to restore the awareness of Jesus as the central person in our lives. We want men and women to think of their lives as living in union with Him, not just holding onto traditions or doctrines or hoping to someday get to go to heaven. We want people to get excited again about Jesus with the feeling of a first love. He is the reality of our lives here, now and for all eternity. I’m sure the lady I did the funeral for is being fully embraced in His arms of love and probably not even noticing all the gold and pearls.

Gal. 2:20

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Dennis


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