Quick..What are the three easy steps to fall in love?
Maybe some of you experts out there have these down pat. But if you ask me, it’s not exactly a scientific process. Falling love is more of an art, than a science.
My proposition to you is that maybe becoming a Christian looks more like falling in love than anything else. I’m not suggesting we develop a “crush” on Jesus. Only bringing to your attention that it’s not a recipe but an understanding piece by piece. A process. A journey.
We have been taught many things about how to explain our view on Christ to others. And a lot of those tools are awesome and have worked amazingly. We have seen tracts that spell out the three simple steps to ask Jesus in your heart. We’ve seen the bridge picture where you draw God on one side and you on the other.
In a culture like ours that worships science, unless we can chart something, it doesn’t exist. You can’t chart relationships. How many people have walked away from faith because their systematic theology proved unable to answer the deep longings and questions of the soul?
If you think about it a person has more difficult time explaining romantic love, or beauty, or the Trinity, than the gospel of Jesus. Our reduction of these ideas has caused us to miss something. Reducing these ideas makes us see the gospel as a list of true statements with which a person must agree.
There are 3 dominant metaphors describing our relationship to Christ in the scripture:
-sheep to a shepherd
-child to a father
-bride to a bridegroom
All of these suggest a real, true, meaningful relationship. Sheep are guided, loved, taken care of and saved from pits and mountains and crags and rocks. Shepherds chase their sheep across the country side. Children are their father’s most valuable possession. Just ask Joel. They love and discipline and provide. Brides are completely devoted, committed and selflessly giving to their bridegroom. They are loved and adored and beautiful in their groom’s sight.
None of these relationships suggest or boil down our coming to know Christ into three easy steps.
Matthew 9:14-15 Then Johns disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don’t fast?” Jesus answered” How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
Jesus takes the spiritual disciplines the steps and actions religious folks had come to understand as sort of spiritual checklist, and explains to them that it’s not about that. It’s about us being deeply connected to a relational exchange. We fast because we mourn the absence of Christ.
Christ repeatedly called for people to come to Him in faith:
“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35);
“I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12);
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
He is constantly proclaiming a message of salvation through a relational connection.
Not only did Jesus publicly tell and invite people to accept him, He also did it personally, with His close personal relationships.
Jesus brought Philip (John 1:43), Matthew (Matt. 9:9), Peter, and Andrew (Matt. 4:18-19) to faith with the call, “Follow Me.”
In John 4 He met a woman at a well and brought her to salvation.
In Luke 19 He found Zaccheus, a tax collector, whom He led to a confession of sin, repentance, and faith.
In John 3 He taught Nicodemus about the new birth.
In Mark 10 He led blind Bartimaeus to believe in Him.
And in Mark 5 Jesus met a demon-possessed man. Jesus sent the demons into a herd of swine, which hurried into the sea and drowned. The man wanted to go with Jesus, but the Lord wanted him to stay as His witness.
(Some of this awesome info credited to the great author Donald Miller)