Saturday, January 10, 2015

Another step in my journey with God

I've felt something's missing. As many discussions as I enter into in Sunday School and elsewhere about Jesus . . . as faithfully as I pray to the Father throughout the day in Jesus' name . . . as much as I try to - as best I can - follow his teachings and emulate his life . . . I feel where I most fall short is in knowing Jesus.

What a concept . . . knowing Jesus. We say we're in relationship with him, yet knowing someone who lived and died 2,000 years ago . . . who lives now as spirit but not in the flesh . . . well, let's just say it's not easy. We say he lives within us, but what does that mean? If he lives within me, isn't it important that I know him as deeply as possible? In the Sunday School class of which my wife and I have been members for over 10 years, we often discuss Jesus . . . the nature of this divine/human person . . . his relationship with the Father. Yet I never get a strong sense in these discussions that any of us feels we know Jesus very well. We seem to have a lot more questions than answers, and even our answers feel pretty tentative.

Praying to the Father - as Jesus taught his disciples to do - I feel much more in relationship with the Father than the Son, yet Jesus told us that to know the Son is to know the Father.

Well, that states my dilemma, as far as I can express it.

That leads me to the purpose of this blog post - and the series of posts that will follow it.

I've decided that one key focus of 2015 for me will be seeking to know Jesus better. I started quite a journey a little over 44 years ago, in the fall of 1970, when - as a sophomore at Oklahoma Baptist University - I lost the "faith" with which I had grown up.

Thank God! And I mean that literally, because I am convinced beyond doubt that it was God who caused me to shed that shallow understanding of "faith" that I brought with me to OBU. The day I lost my "faith" (those quotes are intentional, because what I called faith wasn't really faith at all) was the day God started dealing with me, leading me on a journey that has lasted until now and will, I trust, last the rest of my life.

It has been a remarkable journey, and I can see God's hand leading me in so many ways over those 4+ decades. But, as I wrote at the beginning of this post, something's missing. I just don't feel I know Jesus as well as I should know him. Don't get me wrong - I'm not questioning my salvation, I'm not questioning the existence of my relationship with him. I'm simply recognizing that this relationship needs to go much deeper. Truth be told, we could probably all say that about a number of relationships in our lives, whether divine or human.

So this is another step - actually, more like another path or another trail - on that journey with God. My intention in writing this series is not to preach or teach or even inspire. My main purpose in writing all of this down is to discipline myself to keep moving on this journey and to ultimately know Jesus better than I do now. Inviting you to "eavesdrop" on my thoughts and discoveries along the way will help keep me on track. If you happen to find some of these things helpful in your own journey, so much the better.

I'll be focusing in, of course, on scripture, especially the Gospels; I'll also be looking at other sources - books, articles, etc. - that might help add context to my understanding. But, truth be told, this series is a work-in-progress and will probably remain so as long as it continues. In other words, I'll figure it out as I go along. It won't be a smooth, straightforward path; more likely, there will be a lot of zigs and zags along the way. (If you were to see my study, you would understand - neat and organized is not my way!) It should almost go without saying that prayer, too, will play an important part, and I'll try to share that part of the journey as best I can.

How long will this series continue? I don't know; could be a few weeks, could be a year; could be two posts, could be a hundred; it all depends on where God leads me.

Before proceeding to part 2 of this series (in the next week or so, I hope), I need to make one thing very clear. I am not a theologian or anything close to it. I am not a preacher. I am a layperson whom God has blessed with opportunities for serving him - nothing more, nothing less. I have never been to seminary, never had any formal theological training beyond basic Old and New Testament survey courses in college. My dad had a Th.D.; I'm not my dad, though I certainly aspire to the example he set, for I never knew anyone of greater faithfulness and grace than my own parents.

So why is it important that I seek to know Jesus better? Because it is my deepest conviction that it is in Jesus Christ that God fully reveals himself and that he wants us to know him - not just know about him but know him. Though the direction of my prayers may cause me to feel more in relationship with the Father than the Son, my knowledge of the Father is limited - according to Jesus - to the extent of my knowledge of the Son. God created us for relationship with him. Simply, I want to know Jesus better to draw nearer to God in all aspects of his triune personhood.


  1. Looking forward to reading and pondering your thoughts along this journey.

  2. Thanks, Les. I welcome any thoughts you have along the way, as well.