Every week I gather with a few faithful men to read and study God’s Word. We meet at a local IHOP, sit at the same table, and are served by the same waitress. While it is a routine meeting in a routine place, we have learned truths about God’s Word that have made our life anything but routine. It’s amazing how a simple study designed around the reading and studying of God’s Word can change your life. But it’s the Bible we are talking about, so that shouldn’t shock us too much.
Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer
As of late, we have been working through the book of John. Today we started working through Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in chapter 17. If there was ever a chapter that was packed full, it is this one. In fact, this chapter is a theological factory that’s doing no less than pumping out deep truths about Jesus, salvation, our mission, and eternal life.
Eternal Life and Being a Christian
I don’t know why, but verse three landed hard on me this morning. It really got the wheels turning. There Jesus tells us what it means to have eternal life. He says,
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:3)
According to Jesus, eternal life involves us knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ.
Sadly, that truth is not emphasized by many preachers. Instead many teach a watered down gospel which involves nothing more than someone gaining their “fire insurance” by raising their hand, walking an aisle, filling out a card, or accepting some blanket truths about Jesus.
Sure, we need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who has come on a rescue mission to seek and save the lost. We need to believe He died on the cross for our sins, resurrected on the third day, and will return to set things right. We need to admit we are sinners, repent of our sin, and turn to God. I don’t want to downplay any of those truths and actions. We need to believe and do those things in order to be a Christian. But that is just the beginning, not the end of our Christian walk. Those beliefs and actions serve to bring us into a relationship with God that should be continually nurtured and deepened.
Being a Christian, then, involves more than raising our hand, walking an aisle, being baptized, or even accepting some truths about Jesus. Being a Christian involves a desire to know God, to have a relationship with Him.
A Christian’s Desire
Pushing the envelope a bit further, we can also say that being blessed, experiencing joy, and seeing loved one’s in heaven is just a by-product of our relationship with God. If you have come to Christ out of a desire to gain those things instead of a desire to know God, you may need to ask yourself if you truly are saved.
You see, if you are a Christian you will have a desire for the things of God. You will have a desire to fellowship with God’s people, to worship Him, to learn more about Him, to read His Word, and to pray to Him. In other words, you will have a desire to continually deepen your relationship with God and Jesus in an effort to get to know more about Him.
Questions for Reflection
- Do you have a desire to know more about God?
- Do you have a desire to deepen your relationship with Jesus?
Casey Lewis, a Regular Contributor to Broken Shepherd, serves as the Senior Pastor of Sycamore Baptist Church in Decatur, Texas. He is a husband, father, and a follower of Jesus Christ who is passionate about growing healthy churches and reaching the lost. He primarily blogs at ChristianityMatters.com but is also a regular contributor to For the Church. Follow him on Twitter: @caseylewis33