Thursday, February 10, 2011

When You Follow Jesus...

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9

Walking with Jesus is counterintuitive -- paradoxical, really. When you follow Jesus, the path to upward mobility is accessed through a descent (Phil 2:5-11). When you follow Jesus, the road to first place is accessed by taking the last position (Mt 19:30). When you follow Jesus, you don’t just love the lovable, you love your enemies too (Mt 5:44). When you follow Jesus, you lead not dependent on power and position but dependent on His authority and character (Mt 28:18). I could go on and on.

Paul spoke to the paradox in Philippians 4:9. He mentions two sets of means by which we are to grow up in Christ and experience a peace that is beyond earthly emotion. (Philippians 4:7).
  • Learning and Receiving: The Apostle Paul would be the first to advocate for the value of learning and education. His scholastic resume was quite impressive. (Philippians 3:6). But in the same breath, Paul would say that education or “booksmarts” has its limits! There are things that God reveals to the mind of a person surrendered to Him that cannot come through academia. This experience of revelation from God in no way diminishes one’s intellect; it simply goes beyond it. Blaise Pascal, arguably one of the most brilliant minds ever to walk the planet once said, “Reason’s last step is recognizing that an infinity of things surpass it.”
  • Heard and Seen: Most of us in the west value the spoken word and rightly so. Faith itself comes through hearing right? (Romans 10:17) But there is a transmission of truth that grows a soul that comes when our lives brush up to one another through Christ-centered missional community experiences. Through “seeing” character is developed in ways that can never happen through hearing. Paul advocated for this when addressing and admonishing Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22.

History is filled with lives that left an enduring impact on this earth that lived into all four of these values. Thank God for men and women like Joan of Arc, William Wilberforce, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, who received a holy mission from God, acted on that and did “irrational” things, lived well beyond their learning because they sensed that God gave them a vision and a holy discontent. Thank God they chose to not just leave behind writings or speeches but valued imparting their lives to other lives.

As you read this, will you pause and do an audit? Most of us value learning and hearing, as we should, but what is your experience in quieting yourself to receive guidance from God and prioritizing interpersonal relationships so you’re a rubbing up to some significant people? We all want supernatural peace right? As my fitness “Pastor” and Peninsula Covenant Community Center Athletic Trainer Debbie says, “You gotta change something to change something!” What needs to change? When will it change?

This weekend we continue down the road of our series called, “We Are PCC” looking at: We value acting socially responsibly. Want to prep? Read up in Luke 10:25-37. Why not pause after you read it, ask God to reveal something new and fresh to you from the text?