Following Christ and New Questions

I’ve changed.  I don’t think about Christianity the same way I did 10 years ago.  Maybe even one year ago.

I recently wrote a post called, “Question the Question.”  In it, I challenged readers to find the most important question to them and then question it.  I believe that one of the things Jesus does is fundamentally re-frame our questions in life.  He makes us question our assumptions and radically grow our spirit.

Well, let me make this personal.  Let’s get to my main question.

Growing up, the most important question for me was

“What must I do to be saved?”

If the most important question is, “What do I need to do to be saved,” and the most important thing in life is “going to heaven,” then it frames your life in a certain way.

Here’s what it did for me:

  • It focused me on the “fear of the Lord,”  Proverbs 1:7.  This is the beginning of knowledge.  So, that’s a good place to start!
  • It provided  external motivation.  Who doesn’t want heaven?  Who does want hell?  Truth is, I often need external motivation, just as I need the “fear of the Lord.”    So, that helped me!
  • It made me take this thing personally.  On a positive, that has to do with personal responsibility.  On a negative, it made it all about me (my reward or punishment…what I get out of it).

I’ve begun to ask myself, “What if we moved past a reward/punishment motivation?  Is there anything else there?  What if we moved to a point that our heart was motivated more by love than by fear?  What would that look like?  What would our goal be and what would our driving question be?”

Well, if want a model for that, it is Jesus himself.

Christ said, “I came not to do my will, but the will of Him that sent me.”  His primary motivation was to serve God.  Period.  He wanted to do his will, and he did it out of…love.

If I am reading Jesus right, and if I’m reading the Sermon on the Mount right, then Jesus is all about changing our heart.  He’s all about reshaping us into a person like God.

What if we got to the point that our desire was to simply know Him?  Sometimes I wonder if we really want to go to heaven for the stuff we’d get like never dying and not burning.  I wonder if we even want to go because God is there.  Do we want to be in his presence?

What if our driving question became,

“How can I know Christ?”

I don’t just mean know about him.  I mean know what it means to follow him, to be like him, and to love him.  That would mean loving others and serving them as well.

I’d like to make that my main question.  I’d like to make my main goal to simply know him and serve him.  I believe that is true success….and by the way…you get to be with him forever.

Let me ask you a cutting question:

What if there was no heaven?

I know there is a reward for the faithful, but what if there wasn’t?  What if this life was all there was to it?   Would you serve God simply because you truly love him…or are you just doing it for the reward?

Truth is, the real reward is knowing him.

John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

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