Eugene Peterson writes: “The Jesus way wedded to the Jesus truth brings about the Jesus life.”
How often have we sought the life—a life of significance, excitement, meaning, purpose, blessing, or impact—without any pursuit of the way or the truth? How often do we want everything without changing anything?
We’d like intimacy with the Father, but preferably without demands on our time or energy. We’d like wisdom, but hopefully without any commitment to learning. We want to speak profoundly, but read nothing and listen to no-one. We want authority without responsibility. We want popularity without personal duty.
Such an attitude, of course, erodes life. It sows confusion and undermines what we most desire.
The Church experiences this same dilemma.
When the Church opts for ways and truths that replace the Jesus way and Jesus truth, we can be sure that the outcome will be less than optimal. The Jesus way is highly personal, not predominantly pragmatic. The Jesus way is obedient, not ambitious. The Jesus way is compassionate, not compulsive. The Jesus way focuses on authentic spiritual formation, not statistical manipulation.
The Jesus truth embraces integrity and repudiates all falsehood. The Jesus truth calls sin what it is and does not downplay wickedness. The Jesus truth extends real grace and refuses to enslave people to rules. The Jesus truth emphasizes peace-making and rejects violence.
These gospel ways and truths–and I’ve mentioned just a few—have few serious adherents. They seem too hard. They appear too counter-cultural. They will likely make us unpopular, unwelcome, and misunderstood. But the Jesus life depends upon them.
As spiritual consumers, have we forced our spiritual guides—our pastors, teachers, prophets, and leaders—to build a product we approve? A version of faith that feels manageable? A Christianity without confrontation? The process is both subtle and steady. And while we feel at ease at one level, we grow quite staid at another. The reason is simple enough ….
“The Jesus way wedded to the Jesus truth brings about the Jesus life.”
How shall we move forward? What way and truth will lead us more towards the Jesus life this week?