Christianity is more than a theory about the universe, more than teachings written down on paper; it is a path along which we journey – in the deepest and richest sense, the way of life.from The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware
The Way of Life: a Path Which we Journey
This quote in itself is the experience that I desire to find this year. I want to follow the old paths as Jeremiah instructed us. (Jeremiah 6:16) And here it was in the first chapter of Bob Bennett’s Disciplines for the Inner Life. You see, Christianity is more than just a prayer and hallelujah. It’s a personal relationship we experience every day, deeper and greater.Christianity is more than just a prayer and a hallelujah. #ancientpaths #experiencegod Click To Tweet
Yes, We are saved by faith through grace and that is all it takes to be saved. But I submit to you that there can be a much deeper faith walk than just believing that Jesus saves. We can experience this faith and salvation in such a deeper and more real way if we follow His paths and draw near to Him. We can truly experience God when we follow His paths.
Created for Relationship
God created us for relationship: not just to be someone He could lord over and tell us what to do. He desires to be our Father and our Friend: to “walk with us and talk with us and tell us we are His own“. But He also wants it to be a two-way street. That is why He has given us free will – an opportunity to chose this life. He wants us to desire to be with Him just as much as He wants to be with us.
How to Experience Relationship w/God
Just as with any relationship, talking and spending time with that person is the very best way to get to know them. When my husband and I were dating, we lived four hours apart. But we spent every evening talking on the phone. Many would say that a long-distance relationship is difficult, but we spent all that time talking where few talk this much when on an actual date. By the time our wedding rolled around, we knew each other well.
Throughout Biblical history, men and women talked with God; they questioned Him. They came to know Him through experience.
Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden every evening. (Genesis 3)
Jacob wrestled with God and begged Him for His blessing. HE said I won’t let you go until you bless me. (Genesis 32:22-31)
Job sat with God and questioned Him about His ways. He learned much and His thoughts about God became more clear. (Job 42:1-6)
The Samaritan Woman talked with Jesus and questioned Him until she understood about the Messiah. She hung on every word He spoke. Then she ran to tell others what she had learned. (John 4:1-26)
What’s the Difference?
Jeremiah described compared those who followed after God and those who did not. Those who follow after the ways of man find themselves weak and parched while those who follow after God become strong like a tree planted by the waters.
This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land.
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the LordJeremiah 17:5-8 NLT
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
Desire to Experience the Power of God
The Apostle Paul desired to know God more than anything. He considered anything in this life not worthy of holding on to. It was like garbage to him. He wanted to experience the Power of Christ that only comes from surrendering everything to Him.
7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!Philippians 3:7-11
Let’s finish up with the next few thoughts from Kallistos Ware…
The Creed does not belong to you unless you have lived it. Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow #experiencegod #ancientpaths Click To Tweet
There is only one means of discovering the true nature of Christianity. We must step out upon this path, commit ourselves to this way of life, and then we shall begin to see for ourselves.
So long as we remain outside, we cannot properly understand. Certainly we need to be given directions before we start; we need to be told what signposts to look out for, and we need to have companions. Indeed, without guidance from others it is scarcely possible to begin the journey.
But directions given by others can never convey to us what the way is actually like; they cannot be a substitute for direct, personal experience. Each is called to verify for himself what he has been taught, each is required to re-live the Tradition he has received.
“The Creed,” said Metropoliton Philaret of Moscow, “does not belong to you unless you have lived it.” No one can be an armchair traveller on this all-important journey. No one can be a Christian at second hand. God has children, but he has no grandchildren.”From The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware
Are You Ready to Experience Christ?
How do you see the things of this life?
Do you desire the things of earth or the things of Heaven?
Seek Him, know Him, and obey Him then you will experience Him fully and completely. Follow my posts this year as I seek to go deeper with Christ. I want to know Christ and experience the power of His resurrection.
I would love for you to partner with me.
It’s Your Turn
How do you leave a legacy with your deeper faith in Christ? What disciplines are important to you?