I like to think that I am learning and growing in my faith and understanding of who God is and how to share Christ with those around me. My hope is that the time spent reading and studying scripture leads me away from myself and ever closer to who God is and THEN how that relates to who I was created to be.
I’ve had many seasons of growth over the past 30+ years since I accepted Christ as the sacrifice to cover my debt of sin. I’ve also had many seasons of stagnant drought where, in looking back, it was literally like being in a small lifeboat, rowing around in circles but not going toward the shore.
Until what happened? Life happened and I realized what I’m missing, or more importantly, what I’m missing out on. It’s good to be in a spot of intimate fellowship again with my God—the Almighty. The great I AM. It feels good to be striving and learning, again, for real, deeper understanding and knowledge.
Our faith should require some effort. We should dedicate ourselves to be life-long learners of The Word. In a worldly analogy, we are not born and then don’t magically “know things.” Of course not! It requires a minimum of 13 years within structured learning settings. Then, for some, years longer after that. And when that is finished, are we done learning? Have we learned all there is to ever know? Absolutely not!
Our walk with the Lord is no different. How can I understand whom God is and what He is trying to teach me if I never pick up my bible? If I don’t study it? If I don’t make available other teachers of the Word, theological commentaries, or bible lessons to myself that I then put to the test of truth?
Here is one such truth that I feel compelled to make perfectly clear:
For many years, I held the belief that God was God and all the major religions of the world that worshipped God and we shared that same God. That’s not true. That’s not what God says. Why did I think that? Because it sounds “nicer.” It makes me sound less egotistical? Because it sounds like I’m not being “loving” and inclusive? Because how in the world can I (Jan) claim to know that this is not the truth but a lie? Who am I with my limited pea-brain to make such judgmental sounding, sweeping statements?
THIS is who I am and this is who you are if you claim salvation in Christ:
“But you have an anointing (John uses the Greek word chrisma, meaning “anointing” (which was done for priests and then kings in the OT): anything smeared on, unguent, ointment, usually prepared by the Hebrews from oil and aromatic herbs) from the Holy One, and you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and no lie comes from the truth. Who is a liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has also the Father.” 1 John 2:20-23
How do I know what I speak is truth? Because these are not my opinions, my ideas, or my “take” on issues of this world–this is what GOD SAYS ABOUT THEM. And because I acknowledge (have accepted Christ as my Savior), I am anointed by Christ himself for a sacred purpose and I am able to discern the truth from his word because the Holy Spirit lives in me.
“I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” 1 John 2:26 & 27
I love what Kelly Minter says about this whole “everybody has the same God” theory:
“The message that Jesus preached about Himself cannot, by its very nature, be mingled, mixed, or swirled with other religious leaders or movements, because salvation rest solely on Jesus’ coming to earth in human flesh (the incarnation), His death, and resurrection that we might be reconciled to God.”
So if you remove Jesus Christ as the living Messiah and that HE is the one and only free gift from God to cover our debt of sin once and for all, then you are left with a different God.
In the gospel of John 12:44-50, Christ talks about who he is in relation to God and how we cannot reject him without also rejecting God. Christ makes it clear starting in verse 48: “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
If you are thinking that other religions (or even people) can make God whoever they want for themselves apart from Christ and that their God is our God, then you’re “not accepting my words,” Christ makes clear.
If you claim Christ as savior, if you feel you belong to him and want to live a life a truth according to what God says, then you and I must recognize this truth and THAT IS WHY WE TRAVEL THE WORLD OR TALK TO OUR NEIGHBOR–TO SHARE THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Because this is the ONLY way, truth and life. Everything we do, say, or desire should be deeply, firmly, rooted in that truth.
So go out, love others—love all, but know the truth and share the truth, dear Christian! This is the sacred purpose you were created for!