07 November 2005

When we find Christ, we most truly find ourselves.

Luke 1-2 tells the story of Jesus’ birth and the events that surrounded it. And in vv. 40, 50 we read, “And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him ... And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

Hear Luke’s words from Kenneth Wuest’s Expanded Translation of the New Testament …

“And the little child kept on growing and
kept on increasing
in strength, being constantly
suffused with wisdom. And God’s grace was upon Him ...
And Jesus kept on hewing a pioneer path ahead, making
steady progress in wisdom and maturity and in favor in the
presence of God and with men.”

Luke wanted us to know that just like you and me, Jesus had a life of growth and change, a life filled with choices and decisions, a life of paths and progress, a life filled with opportunities for intimacy with God and with other people.

From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is filled with stories of people’s spiritual journeys. We see people SEEKING God through, conversations, probings and quests. We read about people FINDING God – sometimes discovering and embracing Him.

We discover people TURNING AWAY FROM God – disillusioned and maybe even disgusted because He wouldn’t neatly tuck in all the edges and corners of their lives.

But we also read about people STICKING WITH God –– people whose faith that stand strong even in the midst of challenges, defeats and seemingly overwhelming odds.

I don’t know about you, but I love to read people’s stories ... finding out where they came from, who they turned into, what they overcame, what overcame. It’s fascinating.

But as you probably know, it’s a lot easier to read somebody else's story than it is to read our own. But God not only invites us to read our own stories, He also invites us to join Him in writing their plots. How many times have you read a story in the Bible or heard a teaching from it and said to yourself, “You know who really needs to hear this? So and so! This is just what they need to hear!”

Been there.

But my admonition is for us to wake up and stop living like God’s involved in other people’s lives but He really isn’t connected to ours. We’re ALL ON a journey whether we’re willing to admit it or not. Each day, through the choices we make, we’re becoming more and more like Jesus Christ or we’re turning our back on Him in ways big or small. No wonder Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “The person who is not on My side is against Me.”

I’m really in kinship with Kenneth Wuest’s translation of the Luke 2 verses because I believe God has given us ALL THE chance, the opportunity and the ability through Him, to “hew a pioneer path ahead of ourselves, making steady progress in wisdom and maturity and in favor in the presence of God and with men.”

A few summers ago two of my brothers and I climbed the highest sand dune in Oregon, at Cape Kiwanda, on the Central Oregon Coast. It was the same sand dune we used to climb when we were kids, but somehow it had grown much taller since then!

Back in “the day” we knew each trail on that dune-top, and we’d use all of them to play “Hide And Seek” for hours. Finally, in the heat of the afternoon, we’d come as close to flying as humanly possible while running down the dune and collapsing in a heap of laughter and joy at the bottom. But that was then and this was now.

Now, when we got to the top and started blazing through the Salal bushes and the scratchy branches of scrubby, wind-blown pines we discovered that in time trails become over-grown, paths once well-blazed become hard to find – and that which used to be exciting, clear and adventurous all-too-easily become claustrophobic and difficult.

And so after about 90-minutes of doing our best to emulate the spirit of Lewis and Clark, we finally broke through the thick brushwood, found ourselves on the front-side of the old-friend-colossal-dune, looking down onto the beach, the surf and beyond.

Jesus “grew up and matured”. He gave up His life so we can find life. And today He invites us on the adventure of our lives, but we’ve got to be looking, believing and applying the Truth of His WORD. Sure the journey is hard. Sure we’ll often find the path overgrown with the scrub-branches of tradition, complacency and the undisciplined life. And sometimes on the trail we get so scraped-up, worn-out and pressed-down, that we all-too-easily forget that we’re not alone, and that Jesus is hiking the trail, not behind us, not ahead of us, but beside us.

But believe, me, no matter what you’ve heard, it’s harder to navigate the dune-top paths of life without Jesus.



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