From Communication to Communion
Chriselle reflects on the difference between knowing Christ versus knowing about Christ.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I feel so busy. All the time. In this season, or maybe just at my age, if it’s not placement – it’s another assignment. If it’s not an assignment – it’s work. If it’s not work – it’s yet another social gathering I’m not ready for. And if it’s none of those things, it’s finding the space and time for friends and for family – even for food! (I’m actually terrible at remembering to eat). My busyness may not be the same as yours, but I’m sure you can relate in some capacity.
So then, where’s God in all of this? Well, lately I’ve been catching myself in my habits in my relationship with God. I’ve noticed that in this busy season rather than desiring to spend time with God and prioritising that, I’m just going through the motions – like “oh cool, verse of the day” and “yes of course I’ll pray for you”. Making decisions based on my own judgement and following through the motions of what I think God would want me to do. Then the guilt that comes from just doing the bare minimum is the worst of all and I continually keep asking how do I get out of feeling this way? What is my posture like towards God? How do I need to change?
My thought processes, along with our Believe series at Windsor and a few things I’ve been reading lately have really challenged my thinking in this. In the series, we’ve gone through learning to think and act like Jesus and now we’ve entered into becoming more like Him, with each week focused on the fruits of the spirit. One thing that has been evident to me in this time is that we cannot think or act or be like Jesus without Jesus.
In With, author Skye Jethani highlights 5 different attitudes we have towards our relationship with God. One of these attitudes is Life over God – a posture I believe is so set in our culture. This attitude suggests we live in such a way that we have moved beyond God as the almighty, powerful guidance of our lives. In this attitude or belief, Jethani suggests a relationship with the bible replaces the relationship with God. He says “If one has the repair manual, why bother with the expense of the mechanic?” And, to be honest, why bother? We have become authors of our own destiny, using the bible as our guide but detached from our relationship with God. We use our bibles as an instruction manual for life, with the principles as the foundation we walk upon and the basis of our decision making. This way of living ultimately views God as the creator of the universe and affirms His existence but believes He is now uninvolved and distant in the normal routines of life. In other words, a form of Christian deism. Well, as I was discussing this with a friend, she replied “you don’t have the tools or don’t even know what or where the problem is, you just know your car won’t start.” So in reality, we need God more than our need for power and control, because ultimately we will fail. The bible is incredibly important to our faith but our faith ultimately is in God.
One thing that has been evident to me in this time is that we cannot think or act or be like Jesus without Jesus.
We can take the Jesus part out and still be relatively good people, right? Surely not. That’s where my fear sits – am I defined by Jesus or am I a seemingly good person? That is the real wrestle. The attitude we might have in response may be that I can control my life because I am the one who chooses to be busy and to be “good” – in my career, my friends, my family, my church. It’s all in our control, right? Well, relatively. But the whole reason and basis of our beliefs are because God loves and cares for us. I am who I am because of Jesus. God doesn’t influence me, he creates me. Continually. If I do not treat Him like that, can I really call myself a follower of Christ?
It is seemingly simple, but I think in reality we complicate things. My excuse of busyness is the idol getting in the way of my relationship with God, even if the things I’m doing still point to God in some way. God doesn’t particularly care for the outward workings in lives in the same way we do, He cares for our hearts.
Thankfully, the spirit of God is moulding us. We do not have to live in fear trying to control our lives because ultimately our faith in God leads to the safety in knowing He is with us. Life with God goes beyond communication with God and unites us in communion with God. For all of us, that requires more than just what we’re taught on a Sunday, more than reading the passage surrounding the verse of the day and more than just asking God for help when we need it. By His spirit, we are united in communion, we are given fruits and we are called by God to love Him with all our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength, and others in the same love we have for ourselves.
Chriselle is currently studying a social work degree at Massey University. She works as Intermediate Ministry Coordinator and in the Creative Department at Windsor Park Baptist Church. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.