I am convinced that life is what we make of it. Nothing happens solely on the basis of fate or even destiny but there has to be apart of life that is formed and shaped by what we bring to the table – even if it is not much. I know I have said this before (at least ten times on this blog alone) but our stories and our relationship with God are two very important things we can bring to the table – they are two things that will ultimately shape who we are and what we are about while we are here on this earth.
This will be my final post for a while concerning the passage of John 14:6. It is not due to a lack of information or a lack of thoughts – I have a lot of those. For now, I have found that there is a lot of back tracking I need to do before I can move on and press forward with this journey. I might be easy enough to say we can “just start off again from now” but there is something important about going back and reflecting on where one has been in order to understand perhaps where one might be going. I don’t always understand why God does what He does but I know that I need to come to a place of reflection within myself before I can warrant any more time to this subject.
My final thoughts are simple but will take me down a road that I am not ready for, or at least, I don’t feel entitled to walk. My first thought is that other people need to hear this message – Jesus is the journey. No one should ever need to realize after 15 years of being a believer that Jesus is the journey – the way. I am convinced that people need to hear the message of Jesus all over again. I am also convinced that we need to learn how to read the Bible all over again as well. We have a problem though with regards to reading the Bible that we need to deal with.
I think one of the biggest problems is the issue of isogesis. Isogesis is a big word for “reading into the text” and it is a huge problem we have within the church. This is a problem because the text is to read into us and change us for the better – we are not supposed into the text and change it – that is us playing God. We need to continually reshape our thoughts and come to a place where God’s word reads us and shapes us into the type of people God desires to use.
How do we end our isogesis reading of the Bible? I don’t know that we can fully end our selfish reading of the Word of God. For the very beginning, Man (Adam and Eve) wanted to be like God and not much has changed since that time. In fact, I believe in a lot of ways, the Church has lost its identity of being like God and falling into the sin of trying to be God to the local congregation. There are though, some things we can do so that when we hear passages like John 14:6, we can use its powerful words to challenge believers in the way it was meant to challenge believers and provoke unbelievers to follow Christ instead of following themselves.
1. Study the Word of God: Not just study it as a student of the Word but place yourself into the stories of the Bible and ask/write questions in reaction to what Jesus says in the Word of God. Ask yourself how do these Words of God challenge you to live as a believer of Jesus – a disciple of the way?
2. Test the many voices that speak loudly: There are a lot of voices telling us how the Church should act and how we should read the Bible. The tools and tracts we are given are proof of an indoctrination of our minds and thoughts regarding the Word of God. Within my personal life, John 14:6 would be a great example of this issue.
3. Read books and commentaries you might not agree with: One of the many “joys” I have is reading a lot of books. Many of them are from people I do not agree with but have been proven to assist in my understanding of what I actually believe. Their words have caused me to research once again the basics of their thoughts and determine their religious bend on a variety of thoughts and beliefs.
4. Run away from the culture and do missionary work: One of the biggest problems I have found within myself is that I am so consumed with in the culture of elitism that I need to run away from a culture that persists that it has all the answers and simple remove myself from it all and do work as a short-term missionary where I can live as Jesus lived and love people as Jesus loved. The more I separate myself from a superior model of Christianity and simply do the work of Christ, perhaps I can allow the words of Christ to change me and not allow myself to change the Word of God.
I am convinced we need to rethink and relearn how to read the Bible all over again. Once we are able to engage in the Word of God the way we were meant to, we can change a culture that is looking for truth in all the wrong places. We can encourage people to follow the way(s) of Jesus and come to know the Father, through Jesus – the calling of a believer – and the heart of discipleship. This should be our goal. How we get there will be dependant on how we take the steps and allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This is how we will know God’s will – His good, great, and perfect will.