I’ve been writing about my friend Herman Kleinkopf for the last 6 days. Herman is a somewhat dim witted guy who has a special relationship with Jesus because of his innocent and literal belief in everything that Jesus says – at last George who is an academic but needy guy, began to understand how Herman’s life worked.
Today I would like to drill down into this statement in my last blog, “Jesus didn’t come to give us the things of life, He came to give us Himself “. The reason this is a pivotal statement is that many Christians get stuck at this point because they make the ‘answer to their needs’, the filter through which all other facets of the faith must pass.
What I mean by this is that many people measure the substance of their faith by whether their prayers are being answered and needs are being met. The measure of our faith is not whether we get our prayers answered, it is whether Christ died on the cross. Hence, Jesus didn’t come to give us things, He came to give us Himself.
I often hear Christians make statements like : ‘I haven’t been very close to God lately’ or ‘I’ve been a bit distant from God recently, but I’m planning to spend some time with Him and rekindle our intimacy’. These statements have led to Christian cliché’s like, “if you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved”. This sort of thinking makes a complete nonsense of the gospel – we are close to God because Christ made it so on the cross, He doesn’t move in and out of intimacy with us based on the vagaries of our personal habits or feelings.
Our intimacy with Jesus is a fact that we must decide to believe, and once believed cross it off the list and never revisit it again. It is important to have this in the right order because otherwise we will make statements like “I’m not getting answers to my prayers so God is not very pleased with me at the moment” that is just plain stupid (even Herman knows better), God is pleased with you because you were brought into intimate union with Christ on the cross… period.
This means that if we can’t rest in the effectiveness of Christ’s work on the cross, (irrespective of our needs being met) – then forget about your needs being met. That would be like saying to Jesus “I’m not sure I can count on your ability to bring me into perfect union with you, but I would like to count on you meeting my needs”, what rubbish.
It’s time we grow up and rest in the truth that Jesus came to give us Himself… and He did.