I trust You, Lord

I notice when I go through difficult times I am always drawn to the first moment I believe.  In my opinion, the moment I went from antagonism to protagonism, from resistance to compliance, from enormous skepticism to trust is the most mysterious event in my life.  It has been a long road since being pulled from one wind of doctrine to another.  For many years, even though I knew what happened at the most defining moment of my life was true, I started on a quest for truth.  At that moment, I knew nothing about the Bible, theology, the church or whatever was deemed necessary to know by Christians around me.  People around me thought it was important to accept “right theology or doctrine.”  I was so ignorant that I felt I had to place myself in the hands of others to get the gist of what it meant to live the Christian life and help me in my pursuit for truth.  Such emphasis is placed on what one believes and can be the cause of much contention between groups that might differ ever so slightly.  This frustrated me no end and whenever I felt I wanted to throw the towel in and walk away, I was drawn to the inexplicable moment when Christ revealed Himself to me.  This event always caused me to reevaluate everything and once again push forward.  It felt that nothing else I was told in regard to doctrine and theology made sense of this event.

When I first started dating my wife she realised how confused I was about my Christian faith.  (It did not help that I was profoundly deaf with no hearing aid).  By that time, I had been through the gauntlet of fundamental pentecostalism and now I was in the midst of the extreme health and wealth doctrine.  Fortunately for me, my wife was starting to ask some relevant questions about this doctrine.  Around about this time, my wife introduced me to a friend who has become a close and reliable brother in Christ even to this day.  He taught me a passage in Scripture that laid the foundation for everything I hold to be true now.  The passage is Hebrews 8:8-12

For finding fault with them, He says,

“Behold the days are coming, says the Lord

When I will effect a new covenant 

with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;

Not like the covenant which I made with the fathers

on the day when I took them by the hand

to lead them out of Egypt;

for they did not continue in my covenant,

and I did not care for them, says the Lord:

For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

After those days, says the Lord

I will put my laws into their minds

and I will write them on their hearts.

And I will be their God

and they shall be my people

And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,

And everyone his brother saying, “Know the Lord!”

For all will know Me,

From the least to the greatest of them.

For I will be merciful to their iniquities

And I will remember their sins no more.”

This friend of mine told me to memorise this verse and keep a copy at hand and place it on the fridge.  Reading this verse felt so right and started things firing in my brain and humming in my heart.  Still, deep down there was a yearning for an adequate explanation for what really happened when I first encountered the Lord and the dramatic change I underwent.  When people tried to explain to me what I had to believe, the above verse came to mind and I was able to reserve my decision.  This frustrated people no end, especially those who were accredited with tertiary qualifications or had been anointed with authority by the church.  I was accused of not submitting or not paying due respect to those who were called by God.  When I quoted the above passage and made note to them, “And they shall teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother saying, “Know the Lord,” for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them,” they were often not even aware this passage even existed.  They would try and convince me this passage was a future time.  Admittedly, I often did stir the pot but in hindsight I was justified for holding my position.

Eventually, after much searching and weighing everything that was put before me, I felt there was still a piece missing that would tie it all together.  I made a chance visit to my friend who introduced me to the vital missing piece, Jesus Christ.  Then he introduced me to the Nicene Creed.  This missing piece that I had been searching for for so long was in fact the Person, Jesus Christ and the all important term, of one substance with the Father.  I realised I had encountered the Person in a very deep and personalising way.  As I encountered the Person of Jesus Christ, I also encountered the Father and the Person of the Holy Spirit.  By this time, I had encountered many people who told me very elaborate and logical constructions that at one point or another made no sense.  Yet, as mysterious as the Trinity is, it all started to make perfect sense and it did not matter to me that there was no logic in it.

There were some important things for me to consider in regard to my conversion experience:

  1. Was it necessary for me to know the Bible?
  2. Was it necessary for me to know theology?
  3. Was it necessary for me to know what was right doctrine?
  4. Was it necessary for me to understand the psychology of it all?
  5. Was it necessary for me to understand anthropology?

The truth is that I knew absolutely nothing about the Bible, theology, Christian things, doctrines, psychology, anthropology or anything else about the Christian faith.  I did try and seek out some more information once I had changed my position towards the Faith.  Yet, in doing so I was so misinformed for so many years.  I studied the New Testament extensively acquiring resources such as dictionaries and lexicons.  I found there were no reliable people I could to that could provide me with the truth that I was looking for.  Much of what was offered required the patronising, “You just need faith,” component to accept it.  This was far from satisfactory.

When I touched base with my friend who pointed me to Jesus Christ as a Person in relationship, this changed everything. What this meant to me was the reality of Christ in me.  In turn, this also showed the Father in me.  What is the most important is the reality of only one human being between God and me who is Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the Triune God’s Spokesperson, speaking on His own behalf the very expression of God from deep within the heart of the Triune God.  Let’s refer to what Paul said in Galatians 1:13-17:

For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.  But when God, who set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.

We often read over this passage without giving a moment’s thought to the implications of what Paul was saying.  He was a zealous opponent of the Christian sect seeking to destroy it.  He encountered God who pleased to reveal His Son in me.  He did not immediately consult with ordinary human beings.  As a murderer, Paul had the Son revealed in him.  He had a fair degree of understanding to know what had happened to him without having to consult with others who considered in the know.  This to me is rather significant.  An event happened to Paul of which he relented to the truth of the Person of Christ in him.  Nothing was required or demanded of him except to preach to the Gentiles.

Paul opposed anyone who would try and take the control of the freedom of others.  In other words, he would not allow anyone to step in between the relationship of the believer and Jesus Christ.  This is what makes the gospel according to the Trinity so unique.  The revelation we experience of Christ is all the power that is necessary to sustain our Christian walk.  If anyone sheds doubts or questions the validity of your relationship with God in Jesus Christ, then they are functioning as the anti-Christ.

And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,

And everyone his brother saying, “Know the Lord!”

For all will know Me,

From the least to the greatest of them.

If we really  understand the reality of Christ in me, then we are undertaking theology at its most profoundest depths.  If this moment when the eyes of our heart are opened to the reality of “Christ in me,” is all we ever knew, no amount of theological study nor expertise will every be able to tap into insurmountable depths of that mystery of that very first hour we believe.  In addition, if we understand the reality of Christ in all and can share the gospel with this in mind, we are exercising the freedom already given to us in Jesus Christ.  Our lives may be a mess but this freedom can and will shine through.

There are many winds of doctrine out there that are trying to take a foothold in this deeply personal relationship we have with God in the Person of Jesus Christ.  It does not matter in the end that our thoughts are not completely lined up with Jesus Christ.  They never will be.  It does not matter that our lives may not reflect the true nature and character of Jesus Christ.  It never will be.  It does not matter that we have the right theology.  We only see dimly the truth that is in us.  A good place to start is in Matthew 9:24:

Immediately the boy,s father cried out, “I do believe; help me with my unbelief.”

It can apply to all situations of self questioning:

I have faith, help me with my lack of faith.  

I have been given your nature and character, help me with my questionable nature and character.

My mind has been renewed, help me with my corrupt thoughts.

I do believe in non-violence, help me with my inherent violent nature.

There is nothing wrong with confessing and acknowledging our character flaws to ourselves, to one another in a safe environment and to the Father.  No one can judge us when it comes to our flaws!  After our characters are fundamentally flawed anyway.  It is the pot calling the kettle black.  If we admit to our flawed nature and are able to confess it, then we know we delivered from our corrupt nature and have the privilege and sharing in the divine nature.  Our fallen nature wants to pull us apart.  Those who function according to our fallen nature will want to pull others apart and break them down.  Those who function according to the divine nature will play their part in drawing us together, lifting us up and making us whole human beings.