We are the students and he is the teacher. But is what we read in the text(the Scriptures-John 5:40), actually supposed to carry over into real life? Yes. The answer is yes.
I am sitting at Starbucks after a very long few days. The last few days have been busy as heck, as the last few months have been. I started off the new year setting the bar high for myself out of a love for not wasting precious time that has been given to me. This year 2014 ( 9 months still to unfold) will mark many indelible memories inside of me and many milestones. 10 years ago this May is when I graduated high school and ten years ago in September was when I first moved to Kansas City to be apart of a 8 year run at IHOP-KC. I am now in a place in life of still learning and still preparing for the future. If I got anything out of IHOP it is that revelation. It is the simple revelation of: Holy crap! I do not know anything! I am reminded of that verse: ‘You are God in heaven, and I am here on earth; I will let my words be few'(paraphrased). But really, all that I have learned and am learning boils down to two words: follow through. And really: follow me!
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”
I think in our weakness and our lack of eternal perspective we can think that the book doesn’t really need to be lived out in our lives. Its like when your parent’s correct you, whether big or small, and they tell you that their correction is to prepare you for real life. Wait, my parents are actually thinking that their teaching needs to be lived out, you mean in real life?
The answer is yes and Jesus in His kindness does not just give the command and then leave us alone. The whole point of Him leaving( and it was not just one reason over another) was for the Holy Spirit, or the comforter, or the teacher to be with us when Jesus would ascend into heaven.
I am really relishing in some old memories here at Starbucks( my one and only hangout spot when blogging-most of the time). I remember working through many life issues and many many questions of this very struggle. I was on the night watch(the midnight to 6am shift) in Kansas City at this place called IHOP(house of prayer) and I would end the night at the other IHOP(house of panecakes).
At this time in my life I was just getting to know my roommate and now best friend, Zack Hensley. In the early days of blogging I probably mentioned Zack all the time. Zack and I would slam down chicken fingers, onion rings, lots of honey mustard( for me) and skillets and bacon for Zack. We would be our extroverted selves and just hash out the intensity of what we were learning. IHOP-KC is a wonderful place for learning and also sort of overwhelming. Really, no matter how old you are or where you are in the Lord the amount of knowledge and information coming out of Kansas City is so amazing to me but looking back I realize that I needed to talk through it daily because it was so much for me to take in. Ten years later I am still working it out. Zack and I would hear the same Oasis Wonder Wall song play at the same time every night and watch the sun come up. 2006, 2007 were those glory days of both IHOP’s. I look back at this very tension. I wanted to find ways to not face things. I probably wanted to not take responsibility for things. And daily I asked myself: am I a man? Am I a man of God? Am I not what culture calls a man, am I one in light of who Jesus is?
This same question still haunts me but can only be found in the words of Life. It is easy to read it but it is way more difficult to live it. And I mean in real life. Where people misunderstand who you perceive you really are(not always but a lot). The real life world where most people are reluctant to receive you when you say: ‘ I am a Christian.’ The real life world where no one mentions Jesus in an interview or some pseudo doxology in a thank you speech. The real life world that thinks there is maybe a God but this guy Jesus, well, we will leave that for another time.
Real life is not something I have mastered or have figured out. What I do know is that when given the option to cheat at school by asking people in my class for help when I am not supposed to I face what I know to be right verse what would be the easy way out. The temptation to cheat is real. I know God sees and that keeps me in check with what I am doing. Even if man does not see, God does and judges in righteousness(all the time)! That is scary good news. Everything we do is in constant check from the one who formed us and formed everything around us. The challenge is to face what is the right thing to do, even when no one receives you, acknowledges you, or even commends you for it.
I don’t think there is ever an easy way out of anything. Rather, God in His mercy adjusts things sometimes where it seems easy and it seems like we get out of it. More times than not He is asking us to face it, to face it in real life, to live the words He has given to us and to be an example to a world that has trouble seeing Jesus in our lives.
Real life is the test. Daily life is the test. At work is the test. Even at church is the test too. I would want to focus more on how life is outside of your church circle. Its not that things are easier at church, its that its a different test at church then it is when you are outside those four walls. Real life is demanding real men and women who will make the word a part of their lives. God is not dead, so maybe we don’t have to say Revival, but an awakening and a move of God that goes so deep in all of us.
If we can live it in real life then we have lived to the capacity that God has called us to live. What is your real life situation? Where are you being tested? What do you need to walk out from scripture that you are not walking out right now? There is grace for follow through and there is grace to do, as James says, the word. Live, today, live. If you need the pancake experience( like I had everyday at 6:15am) then find someone to do that with. A friend that can love you through the many seasons of life. Do whatever it takes to be a doer and not just a hearer of the word.