You used to hear it rather often, but in our modern society where everyone wants to get somewhere as fast as possible, it’s no longer “Getting there is half the fun,” but being there is all the fun. To be honest, I’m one of those folks who have changed. I’ve always loved going places, but have not been a huge fan of “getting there.” Long car trips are hard and represent little joy for me. Flying is still fun, but I do like the shorter ones over the longer ones. It is still true that the excitement over the destination helps to offset the discomfort of multiple hour flights. While my enthusiasm over most trips means seeing them as a necessary discomfort, my excitement about my spiritual journey it higher than it has ever been. In the Bible, our journey is call seeking. As we seek to know and understand God, He helps us get to knew and see exciting destinations we never dreamed of – and some we thought we’d been to but really only saw from a distance.
A couple weeks ago, I was preparing a lesson about seeing God in John 3, one of the best known chapters in all the Bible. Verse 16 is probably the best known and most quoted verse in all the Bible! BUT, because of that familiarity, I think we often miss the bigger lesson! Why? Because we begin with verse 16 rather than the context of what Jesus is trying to explain to Nicodemus. We think He’s having a “home Bible study” with him, teaching him the gospel, and telling him how to be come a Christian! Is that all there? Of course it is, but the context is an explanation that Nicodemus – a teacher, scholar, and spiritual leader – needs to understand. Jesus wanted him to know something very important about His Father. Nicodemus had faith! What he needed was a relationship with God! When you look at the whole message of Jesus and ask the question “What does he want Nicodemus (us) to know about God?” you see Him challenging Nicodemus to actively seek a deeper relationship with God, who loves, provides, and has done everything to make such a relationship possible! Faith in God is not always seeking God. It should be, but just as faith and works can be two separate things, so can faith and seeking. Knowing about God is not the same as pursuing God!
Last Sunday I presented a lesson about Romans 8, one of my favorite Bible chapters and again, one of the best known sections of scripture for most Christians. But, when I made myself look ONLY through the lens of “What does this tell me about God?” I saw a brand new chapter! I saw, what I called – Freaky amazing things God does for His children! They are:
Freaky thing #1: There is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus! If that doesn’t make you shout and scream for joy – nothing will!
Freaky thing #2: The Spirit of God lives in you! It does amazing things for us to help us live for God and draw closer to Him!
Freaky thing #3: God never stops working for our good! NEVER! AND NOTHING CAN GET BETWEEN US AND SEPARATE US!
Romans 8 has always been my “go to” chapter when I wanted comfort and encouragement. It was my first resource to turn to when I needed to teach about the work of the Holy Spirit. It has been my favorite section of scripture to turn to when I just needed to remember that we would one day be conquerors! It’s all those things, but mostly, it’s an amazing description of how much God loves and cares for us. It tells us why we should do everything in our power to seek Him! It explains why our journey is so incredible!