With God or About God?
I’ve been thinking a lot about something my friend Don said a few days ago. He talked about his frustration with a well known and respected Christian college who seemed to be very good at teaching people about God but very poor at bringing people to a place where they could meet with God. Another way of putting it would be to educate people about who God is without equipping those people to be able to communicate or ‘commune’ with God. I recognized this as a way that my spirit had been unsettled with my own spiritual walk.
So often I have contributed to a religious system of education that talks about God as if He is not there, with an attitude that it wouldn’t really matter anyway. I feel deeply convicted even as I write this and yet so often God has shown me in His word that His presence is key to His power. I often ask God questions and He answers me by assuring me of His presence, but that wasn’t what I wanted. I want the answer to my question but it seems like God withholds the answer and instead He gives me what He thinks I need - an assurance of His presence. How can I be so wrong headed to think I need an answer when what I really need is an encounter?
I wonder if this is part of the passion and drive I have for discipleship too. As a ‘professional’ in discipleship I am often telling people that it is not enough to tell people about God they must also show people their godliness. This is not just a plea to live out one’s faith, but a challenge to invite people to share in your experience of God.
One sure lesson God taught me in my first 2 years of OTW discipleship was that my wisdom, advice and learning was less important than my presence in someone’s life. God could do a lot more to transform my disciple with my faithful presence than He could with my wise words. After all, it seems so obvious that the first people God sent to disciple me, my parents, did more for me through their faithful presence than through their wise counsel.
I’m learning that there is a way to make my faithful presence even more powerful in the lives of those that come to me for discipleship. I must invite them into my intimate moments with God. Show them how I listen and wait and meditate and pray and worship and submit in His presence. Show them how to have ears to hear and eyes to see. I want to raise up Spirit filled disciples of Jesus not clever little theologians who have never heard the voice of God.