Was Jesus a “pig in a poke” for you? What’s a “pig in a poke” you say? It’s a colloquialism to describe buying (or buying into) something without the buyer knowing the true nature or value of what they are getting. For a variety of reasons, that’s how many people begin their life of faith. Perhaps they were nudged or pressured by their parents or family. Maybe their peers were engaging in a faith experience and they wanted to join in and not feel left out. It could have been a moment or period of distress or desperation that prompted this leap of “uncertain” faith in Jesus.
No matter how your faith life started, how well did you know what you were getting into and what were the steps you would take along the way? Essentially, what were your expectations at first regarding a relationship with Christ? Where did you expect this journey to take you? How did you expect to realize your “expectations?” Ihave found that many peoplehad a pretty loose understanding of what a life pursuing Jesus was all about. That’s one reason why engaging in a discipleship relationship is so vital in establishing a solid faith foundation. It’s important for a new believer or inquirer and it’s also important for those who said “yes” to Jesus years ago but never had or took the opportunity to walk a few spiritual miles with another mature believer.
Jesus’ intentions, in fact his commands, were for his disciples to be disciple-makers so that Christians, grounded in truth through the word of God, would be world changers and influencers in every arena of life. From the looks of things, that’s not going quite as well as intended. In many ways, we possess an anemic faith without passion for seeking out, understanding and applying God’s truth principles to our lives, thereby being vulnerable to conforming to the world system rather than to the kingdom principles of God. There is often a resistance shown by people who claim to have been Christians for years, if not decades, to for the first time in their lives build a biblical foundation for themselves. Hopefully, that’s not you. But wouldn’t you agree that later would be better than never?
Going back to this uncertainness about Jesus and pursuing a life built on biblical truth principles, our intellect and emotions both play a large part in whether we trust or believe in someone or something. We tend to seek a rational basis for what we believe, don’t we? Choosing not to follow a false God, crafting a “designer god” that suits our tastes and personal interests, or for that matter, being our own god, our understanding of the claims Jesus makes about himself and whether he supported them are a good place to start dropping our faith anchors.
Mohammed claimed to be a prophet; Buddha was an agnostic; Confucius was an ethical teacher; Jesus claimed to be God. Jesus boldly asserts in John 14:6 that the only pathway to God is through him. “I am the way, thetruth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” He follows by telling Philip, “Have I been with you so long and still you do not know Me. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” In John 10:30 Jesus declares “I and the Father are one.” Before his death, Jesus told his disciples (and us) “I am the resurrection and the life, he who lives and believes in me will never die.” Jesus did die and proved his deity by his resurrection. Jesus’ command over nature (Matthew 8), his many healings recorded throughout all the gospels, and his authority to forgive sins (Luke 5) establish his supremacy over any contenders for deity and should provide a rock-solid basis for belief and trust in Him.
The Christian lives by faith – trust – in the reliability of God and His word. This requires some exploring on our part – – a lot of exploring, not merely accepting claims from a second hand source or blind faith. Probably no one thing has caused more people to lack the assurance of a vital, personal relationship with God through Jesus than a wrong emphasis on emotions and a lack of personal diligence. Seeking an emotional experience, though tempting, contradicts faith – the very thing that pleases God. What would your faith be like if you trusted in your emotions rather than in the facts of God’s word? Maybe now would be a good time to team up with someone and share the journey of spiritual maturity for a season. Think About It.