In the Christian music arena, the phrase “before an audience of One” is used liberally by almost every church worship leader, Nashville recording artist, and youth group musician. I absolutely love the concept – we don’t play to impress 300 in church on Sunday morning or 50,000 people in a stadium. We play to impress the Lord Himself, because, even though it may seem weak, we truly believe that He is pleased as we play and sing before Him.
But do we really believe that? Can we honestly say, without hesitation, that if absolutely nobody showed up to the show or worship service, that we would still play and sing the same way as if the stadium had 50,000 screaming worshippers in it or the church building was packed and overflowing to the street?
I want to provoke our hearts to really think about this for a little bit. When we say that we sincerely play and sing for an audience of One, can we remember the last time we went into our secret place with our instrument or voice and played and sang to the Lord with the same passion and zeal as we do before the stadium crowd or before our churches on Sunday morning?
I believe the greatest point of contention that men will wrestle with at the end of the age is the identity of Jesus. Is he just a good man that lived a few thousand years ago or is He fully God?
I’ve been studying Christology lately, and even just yesterday my roommate Tim spoke to some Jehovah’s Witnesses at our door. As we were talking last night, we both quickly made the point that the root of the problem in their faith is their misunderstanding of the person of Jesus. They believe He was just a mediator for a super-spiritual class of believers throughout history, the 144,000 “spiritual Jews”. They don’t believe He is God, and they believe He is still dead and was never resurrected, contrary to the belief of all of the New Testament writers.
In part 1 of this series, I wrote briefly about the subject of intimacy with God – what it is, what it isn’t, and how we grab a hold of the means to growing in it. We all want to grow in intimacy with God, but in order to grow in something, we must have clarity on exactly what it is and how we grow in it because we can never expect to lay hold of something unless we know exactly what we’re looking for. Scripture tells us that we grow in intimacy with God by beholding Jesus Christ, the highest revelation of God’s nature, character, and name.
But what does that practically look like? In part 1, I made the case that intimacy can be defined as relational knowledge, and that the way to the knowledge of God is by revelation. If the pinnacle of the revelation of God is in a human being named Jesus Christ, then intimacy is simply the prayerful, adoring study of the person and work of Christ in the context of a life of obedience.
We all desire intimacy with God on a deep level. It’s what we were made and fashioned for. But what exactly does it mean and how do we grow in it? Most believers are confident that they desire intimacy with Jesus, but few can tell you exactly what it means or how to obtain it. Intimacy with God is not supposed to be just a vague and nebulous idea that only a few are able to truly obtain in life. We need clarity on exactly what it is and how we obtain it because we can never expect to lay hold of something unless we know what we’re looking for.
Intimacy with God is much more than just understanding the idea of intimacy. Sermons, books, teaching series, articles, and handouts on intimacy with God are great, but in themselves do not bring us into true intimacy. We can fall in love with the call to intimacy with God and never actually enter into intimacy itself.
In the last post in this series, I hit some of the essential points on why it’s important to have a life vision and focus.
Often times when we think of our “life calling”, we focus on our career or on our external circumstances, whether that be in the marketplace or in ministry. We are intently focused on thriving as a successful businessperson, a good mother or father, a good musician, or a successful pastor. Whether it be by others or ourselves, we are automatically defined as successful if we are good at these things.
Of course it’s not bad to focus on these things, but Jesus wanted to be clear that it was not to be our primary focus. Paul the apostle continually spoke to the early church encouraging them to focus on the things that mattered much more than the temporal things of life. Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) was so revolutionary to the hearers of the day because everything He said was in stark contrast to the teaching of the Pharisees and spiritual leaders of Israel. Jesus intentionally moved their focus from external issues to internal issues, from the hands and...