I’ve been enjoying Ephesians again this week. What a book! What a glorious invitation into Father’s purpose for us in the world by being connected to this living, breathing family called the church. To enjoy that, however, we have to be connected with God’s purpose in our own lives. Church is not a substitute for God’s presence it’s the life people who know him can share together. Why do so many people miss it?
Perhaps Ephesians 2 gives us a hint. In the first part of the chapter Paul writes, “You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live.” (The Message) Isn’t that true? When we didn’t know God we let the world tell us how to live by pursuing pleasure, comfort and possessions, driven by our fears and our appetites and grasping for whatever made us feel secure. How wasted that life is.
He finishes Ephesians 2 with this phrase; “This kingdom of faith is now your home country… You belong here!” The more we live connected to God the freer we are to be at home in him and instead of living in fear, we get to learn the joy of living securely in his love and his unfolding purpose in our lives. This kingdom of faith becomes a welcomed home for us instead of foreign territory. People growing in their love for Father and the joy of learning to live with increasing trust in him will find instant fellowship with each other. Without it, we’re just left to religious theories and activities that run us ragged without bearing any fruit in our lives.
One man wrote me recently about a house church he gathers with and made a poignant comment: “I wonder if many of them have become used to talking about the theories of these truths, but not really taken to heart the practice of them. Not that I have either… I have contemplated things like this for years and only recently made more of an actual change of mind heart and actions to walk this out.” I think religion does that to us. It preoccupies us with theory while we miss the journey of living in an increasing awareness of his reality each day.”
I am also just starting a book highly recommended to me by someone from Australia. After perusing it on Amazon, I decided to buy it. Look what I found this morning:
I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man’s mind into a habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God. I was into habit. I grew up going to church, so I got used to hearing about God… (But) I didn’t love God because I didn’t know God.
The book is called Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Don Miller. I haven’t read enough of it to recommend it yet, but I like what I’ve read so far. I appreciate anyone who sees his or her Christian experience as growing engagement with the reality of the Father, not an endless discussion over theories or an fruitless observance of ritual.
Come on! Jump on in! The water is incredible!