What do you think of when you hear the words "Come to Jesus?" or "What does the bible say?" Do they bring different feelings? Or the same? Now, we might think these are one in the same since Jesus is the author of the Bible, right? True. But, if we only respond by saying, "Go to scripture!" we may be missing the personal aspect of Jesus. My relationship with Christ underwent major changes when I started "coming to Him" rather than only "going to scripture".
I need to make something VERY CLEAR here! I am NOT saying we should skip the Word of God. Any of you who know me well, know that I love my bible! It is God's truth. It's a light to my feet. It's without error and it's everlasting! That makes it immeasurably important. The reason for this disclaimer is because I know how the legalist's mind thinks and someone may be reading this and squirming...don't quit reading yet!
In John 5:39-40, Jesus says, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." He was talking to the Pharisees, the guys who knew what the scripture said, and knew it well. But they were missing Jesus!!!
When a child has a question or needs to tell his dad about a mistake he made, he comes to his dad and says, "Can I ask you something?" or "Dad, I need to tell you something."
DAD: "Come here, Son. Come sit on my lap and tell me what's troubling you."
DAD: "You know what I'm going to say! I've told you over and over! My truth isn't going to change! Know it, so you can live by it!"
Jesus is all about relationship! He proved it to us by coming to earth in the first place. "For God so loved the world..." Love is relational. He says "Come to me..." This paints the image of an open armed, welcoming Savior who invites your approach and need. He's loving. He's affectionate. Look at the phrase "Go to scripture..." To me, "Go" implies sending away. No one ever points their finger at themselves and says, "Go!" The finger is pointed away from the body to direct the eyes to the desired destination. It may sound like I'm splitting hairs, but I truly believe this difference in our thinking is part of the reason people, children, and churches are confused in this day. We are busy focusing on WHAT we believe instead of WHO. We need both. Jesus came full of truth and grace!
By no means should we stop reading the Bible. God wants us to. (Joshua 1:8, Hebrews 4:12, 2Timothy 2:15) But I learned that I needed more than only knowledge of the truth. I needed to be with Him. (Psalm 46:10) Come to Him. (Matthew 11:28) Approach Him boldly. (Hebrews 4:16) It was then, that I came to know His love for me. I had read about His love, memorized verses about it, and told others about it, but not until I drew near to Him did I understand it!
If someone had never met my husband Daryl and asked me to describe him, I could do it one of two ways.
1. He's 6 foot tall, black hair, blue eyes. He was born in Miles City. He grew up in Fallon, Montana. He works at Agri-Best Feeds. He is 44 years old. He is of German descent. He speaks English. He has large, strong hands. He lives in Billings. His phone number is... wait, I'll stop there! This would all be true!
2. His sincerity toward people is one of the things that drew me to him when we met. He is a man who is known for his funny sense of humor. He would help anyone that God puts in his path, from the person stranded along the roadside to the friend who needs to talk about his marriage. Daryl loves his children and he makes them laugh like no one else. He loves Jesus and wants to honor Him with his life. He has been a loving and faithful husband for nearly 20 years! This, too, is true!
Which one tells the inquirer "who" he really is? Obviously, the second. Facts are only part of the story. I don't love the facts about Daryl, I love the heart of him! Knowing about Jesus doesn't mean I know him anymore than knowing about Abraham Lincoln means I know him. Jesus says, "Come." It's an open invitation for our whole lives! I love when I hear him calling me...