I remember watching “The Passion of the Christ” when it came out on DVD. My wife and I didn’t want to go and see it when it was in theatres, so I purchased it after it was finally released. As we half watched- half bawled through it, something happened on the inside of me. It was something so powerful that the next day at work, I passed out tracts like they were going out of style! In this job, most people pretty much knew that I was a Christian, but I had never shared my faith. So, as I passed out these tracts and left them on people’s stations, I got many curious looks. But in my heart, I felt a stirring that people needed to know this Savior who endured hellish kinds of torments for our sins. I was changed! I was on fire! I was mistaken, because after that day, I never passed out another tract in that job. I never witnessed again in that job. The change didn’t stick. I have never really thought about it that much until lately. It got me started thinking about why that change didn’t stick. I mean, I knew God was doing something powerful in my life as I watched the rendering of Jesus being murdered, but the change did not stick! what does it take for the change to stick? When does change become real change?
I think that firstly I allowed my change to come via emotional pursuits. I mean, who can watch that movie without their emotions really getting the best of them? Through tears and much internal wrestling, I somehow made the decision to pass out tracts. This happens every Sunday. We get together and have emotional meetings with God. We cry, we fall to our knees, we snot and sniff, we dance and laugh; but then we leave and the emotion ceases. Why? We serve a God from whom all emotions were created, and all emotions understood. But why can we not serve God out of our emotions? The heart is described as a deceitful thing. Our emotions are all messed up. That explains why all at once we can “feel” like God is with us, and then feel completely abandoned by Him. Our emotions can tell us truth, but many times, they can also tell us lies. If this was not true, how else do we explain half of the stuff that we deal with internally? Being emotionally lead causes us to misinterpret what God is actually trying to do. So when we seek God and seek to serve Him only out of an obligation to what we are feeling, then we risk missing the mark.
So how should we experience God? How do we experience change that lasts? It comes down to being willing to accept truth. I believe that God has created each of us with a propensity towards truth. We internally recognize it when we are confronted by it. Whether or not we act on it or believe it is a different story, but we know truth. And when we experience God from an avenue of accepting His truth, believing His word as truth, and then acting on that truth, we are changed in a way that can be lifetime lasting. Yes, there will be emotion. We can’t eliminate it. I mean, I cry every time we have worship, and every time I praise God tears freely flow. I’m probably the BIGGEST God cry-baby that there is at times, but my tears come from a place of knowing who He is, and what my history has been with Him. It is emotion born out of knowing and accepting the truth. It was Jesus who said that the truth would make us free. I believe that this freedom allows us to be lead to Christ hungrily and thirsting after what He freely offers. And once we taste just a bit of His freedom, our emotions will worship Him as truthfully and honestly, as our hearts do. He truly becomes the source of our emotions, rather than something that our emotions can sometimes push back against.
The truth of the Cross of Christ is that it changes us. It washes us. It frees us. The truth of the Cross of Christ is that it is horrific, brutal, and hellish. The truth of the Cross of Christ is that if we believe in it, and Christ’s resurrection, we become changed into a new creation. Whether that registers with any emotion matters not. It’s the truth. And when we begin trusting in the truth that is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, we will begin to be changed, and we will begin to see our world changed as never before. We must be renewed by our minds first, before we can be transformed in our lives.
Uponwatching the conclusion of the “Bible” series on History my eyes welled up with tears as I watched another rendering of Jesus being crucified. This time, however, I pushed the tears back down. As I watched with clear eyes my savior dying, I saw a beauty there that I had never registered before. I saw love that had never completely registered before. And when they showed the empty tomb, I felt exhilaration that may not have registered in a smile, but my spirit and soul leapt within me. This is the God we serve. This is the Christ that we pursue. This is the Holy Spirit that we are lead by.
Until next time, family, be blessed.