There is the Jesus Truth camp. These are people who know theology but whose lives reflect no love. People who can tell you a scripture for every argument, who can recite the words of the greatest of theologians… but because all they have focused on is truth, they lead lives that lack mercy.
They confine God and people into a box of legalism from which no love escapes or enters. Before we talk about how terrible and ungodly these people are, we should remember that this is what Paul encountered with Peter once upon a time.
The saddest part is when this group uses theology and Scripture as reason for lack of action. Too busy saying that “God is in control” or too busy defending their faith from all the would-be brick-stealers.
There is also the Jesus Way camp. People who give of themselves to everyone for everything but whose beliefs sway with the wind. There is no foundation or roots, so when trial comes, or maybe even just the “next best idea”, they shift like the sand. Again, we see Paul confronting this with the Church in Corinth.
The Truth camp—> Heaven is the only goal
The Way camp—> Nothing is more important than today, here, now
Jesus coming to give us life abundant, life to the full. Life in the kingdom of God here, now; life in the kingdom of God in eternity.
The combining of both that leads to the Jesus Life. One that creates for us assurance of an afterlife and also allows for the will of the Father to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
So often when someone starts to fall into the Truth camp or the Way camp, they begin to experience that they are somehow unqualified, unequal, lacking… maybe feeling dumb for not knowing every truth in the world or maybe feeling guilty for some missed opportunity for action.
There is a drift away from the Jesus Life and therefor a drift away from our sense of wholeness and worth. Being in the Jesus Life tells us that we aren’t inferior to those whom we might deem as more “learned”, that we aren’t inadequate to those whom we might deem as having some “Godlier” vocation.
It’s this Jesus Life that constantly impresses upon us that we are not what we know or what we do but who we are to Christ.
When I think of those stories about Peter and Corinth, my initial reaction is to want to get on to them but I know I need to temper that righteous indignation.
It’s easier to hold fast to our actions, which we can quantify, or to a rock solid set of impersonal theological beliefs.
It feels safer, more comfortable
To step out into Christ’s life, to only cling to a life that says you are nothing more or nothing less than exactly who Christ says you are, that’s uncomfortable, maybe even downright terrifying.
But it’s the only real life there is. and as it is lived, I think that we find it is the Jesus Life that leads us to the believe in the Jesus Truth and to act in the Jesus Way.
It’s something we need to examine every day. Are we living out the Jesus Life? Are there truths that we need to look at again?
Are there actions we do that can better reflect our example?
Do those truths and actions flow out of the Jesus Life or from somewhere else?
These are questions we should always ask of the Church as well.
Christ calls the church his body and as such is a living organism. The church can fall prey to the same temptation to think it only needs to focus on Truth or to think that beliefs don’t matter as long as it’s invests in it’s world.
“I am the way the truth and the life.” Oh, that I not choose to follow just one of those words