Sunday, August 31, 2014

Yada yada yaDA...

Have you ever gone to church and watched everything going on and wondered to yourself, "Is this all there is?" 

I have. Sometimes those who have been in the church for a long time can get pretty blasé about the gospel. Yeah, Jesus died for my sins, yeah, the Spirit is in me, yeah Jesus is coming again, yeah, God loves me and has a plan for my life...

Yada yada yada. 

Sometimes it can seem like just words. Sometimes it seems like a total disconnect from reality, the reality of just living life in impossible situations with uncaring, unthinking people and in the face of constant inner pain. Sometimes - if we're rigorously honest with ourselves - we wonder if it's all worth it. Struggling every single minute to keep our heads above water, constantly fighting to "keep the faith" when all around us, the walls are closing in. 

At times like that, it just seems so irrelevant, so unlike anything we are actually going through. And so, in those times we might actually put on that happy face and pretend like everything is great - but we're dying inside and there is a part of us, deep down, that says, "Suuuure. Yada yada yada. Been there, done that, guess it must work for those folks who have a charmed life or something but it sure doesn't seem real to me." 

I listened to a sermon this morning ... probably the best one I've heard in quite a long time ... and that was only PARTLY because it was super short! The young man who spoke said that there are two really super-important statements that people believe (all people, including Christians) which are not true - and that this is quite likely "the lie" that people will believe in the end times: 

1.   I am a good person. (More on this later). 
2.   God is too loving and too caring to punish me. 

I can see a lot of folks nodding right now. Good stuff, you say.

I went to see the man who preached because something he said in passing kind of stuck with me. It was that Christians tend to believe the second more than the first, and then they take carte blanche and go live like - well - like hell. 

I do know people who live that way; that's not my point in this post. (I'll probably get to this in another one.  But later.) 

What I shared with him is that we Christians might not admit to thinking that we are "good people" (again, another topic for another time) but far too many of us Christians believe that once Jesus saves us, it's up to us to do the rest of it on our own, so we try and try and try again. And we fail. Every. Time.

As a matter of fact, the harder we try, the more likely we are to fail. It just isn't in us. There is no possible way that human effort (which is death) can accomplish something spiritual (which is life).

"We CAN'T," I told him. "There is no possible way for anyone to live the way God intended by trying. But we still try anyway." He nodded ... and agreed with me.

We try, over and over and over. And we fail. And we get discouraged, depressed, despairing. Jaded. Yada, yada, yada. 

Photo "Young Couple Standing"
by photostock at
But did you know that "yada" is a Hebrew word? It's a verb, and it's pronounced Yah-DAW and it means "to know intimately." In fact, about ten times in the Old Testament it is used to describe intimate relations (to "know" someone in the "Biblical sense," as the saying goes). 

It is the word that Paul used when he expressed his heart's desire, "I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but dung, for the excellency of KNOWING Him who loved me and gave Himself for me ... That I may KNOW Him, and the power of His resurrection..." (Philippians 3:8-10)

Knowing someone in that way isn't about buying them expensive presents, or doing impressive feats, or working for that person. No, it's about time spent together. Not so we can "maintain the relationship" but because we want to spend time with the person. 

Just so with knowing Jesus. We grow in intimacy with Him as we spend more time with Him. Not asking for things, no prayer lists, no beating ourselves up because we forgot or were too tired ... just simply gazing at His face, looking into His heart, reading true, unconditional love there and being totally enraptured by Him. Why? because He loves us. He forgave us. He rescued us. He sees us as perfect - yes, perfect!! - because of His sacrifice. He holds us. He fills us. He empowers us. He is with us. He has gone before us. He knows the way ahead of us. He is above, below, around, and in us. And He loves us. Oh yeah, I guess I said that. But I'll say it again: HE LOVES US. Supremely. Unconditionally. Thoroughly. There is not a part of us that He doesn't love. Not one. 

That is transformational. It really is. Oh yaDA!! To KNOW Him!

Paul talked about this process to the Corinthian church. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into that same image from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Cor. 3:18). 

Beholding. Not striving, not trying, not resolving. Just beholding. 
Can it be that simple?

Yes. Yes it can. 
The more I try, strive, and resolve to do better, the worse I fail. 

The more I simply focus on Jesus, every moment of every day, simply reveling in His love for me and His forgiveness, the easier and better my life is, the more free I am, and the more I intimately know Him. 

How cool is that!

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