I was talking with a friend about following Jesus. My friend, like many of us, like me, would find a formula helpful. It would be great to have 3 steps or 5 levels or 12 magic words.
But recipes don’t seem to work with Jesus. My friend reminded me of the opening chapter of Searching for God Knows What, where Donald Miller says,
“To be honest … I don’t know how much I like the idea of my spirituality being relational … the formulas seem much better than God because the formulas offer control; and God, well, he is like a person and people, as we all know, are complicated. The trouble with people is that they do not always do what you tell them to do.”
I thought about this idea of no formulas, and of God as a person. I realized that though I can’t offer formulas, I can offer something else. I can suggest what to expect in conversation with God.
This is what you would do, right, if a friend of yours was wanting to meet another friend of yours who is a person of some authority? You’d offer some character insights?
So, here are a couple thoughts.
1. Jesus often helps you with the conversation. “What do you want?” is what he asked a couple disciples who came to him in a referral from John. Not meanly, but invitingly.
2. Jesus loves you more than you hate yourself. Our self-loathing gets in the way of conversations at times. We assume that people won’t want to talk to us. But Jesus seems pretty willing to talk with people who didn’t have things together.
I’ll keep going next week, starting with these:
3. Jesus challenges just about every attempt to routinize religion.
4. Jesus does make demands. But not the ones that we impose on ourselves.