There is an old saying that God doesn’t have grandchildren, because each of us must come to know our Heavenly Father. Picking up my parent’s faith and trying to piggy-back on it, will ultimately not work long term. While we are young it has its season, but as we grow, we must develop our own faith. As a grandparent I have found it interesting watching my grandchildren wrestling with their parents’ faith and church, especially as teenagers in the culture they are growing up in. They are trying to work out their relationship with Jesus in the context of their culture which is always a challenging journey.
At PK we have been working with and developing pornography-recovery programmes for the last six years. The latest developments have been to work with a twelve-step model similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. It has been a challenging but rewarding process. One of the parts of this process is to work with the concept of a God of your understanding. At first there was the suggestion that we had to push them towards Jesus the One true God. Now while I don’t disagree with that, the question arose in my mind: Whose Jesus?
I was thinking of my kids, the youngest of whom is 32; they were brought up in the same home by the same parents and for a large part attended the same church. However, they have spiritually ended up in some quite distinctly different places. One has joined the Catholic tradition; one is part of a very large urban church and the third has a quite progressive theology. The major similarity is that they all love Jesus, they may not outwork that faith in the same way, but they undeniably love Jesus.
Which brings me back to a God of your own understanding, that my adult children, Melissa, Regan, and Casey each have a God of their own understanding. In this case a Jesus of their own understanding. They may differ quite distinctly in how they interact with Jesus on a daily basis and what they may see as important, but the centrality is the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. It makes for some lively theological discussion I can tell you. They have however come back to the concept of blood is thicker than water and they will choose to love each other even if they don’t always agree with each other theologically. Let’s face it if you are a Christian, it is all about the blood, His not yours!
I guess that when I look back over the last decade my faith has changed quite a lot as I have got older and my priorities in life changed too. That is simply spiritual development, if I am still the same as I was five or ten years ago, I am not growing. If I choose to stay the same, I am either not taking the opportunities provided or I am just not doing anything different in my spiritual walk. I like the analogy of water: If water is moving in some way, it brings life, even lakes tend to have an inlet and an outlet. That is the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, one has an inlet and outlet, and the other has only an inlet. The Dead Sea has such high saline content that nothing can live in it.
For the question is, am I learning new stuff and putting it into practice or am I just treading water and going nowhere? Which I may point out is much easier in the Dead Sea than the Sea of Galilee.
My regular challenge to myself is how much more do I know this Jesus of my understanding and is that knowing growing and being outworked in my life? Notice I did not say know about Jesus but knowing Jesus.