Haven’t we all, at some point, taken a new job or promotion and then not received the training you had been promised or expected? You snagged a great sounding career opportunity, only to discover it to be a constant exercise in frustration. Not only are you unfamiliar with the computer software, objectives, method or vocabulary: but you have quickly determined your background has not prepared you for what you are expected to accomplish!
Perhaps the interview process gave little accurate understanding of actual job expectations or clarity of mission from management. It happens. You hate to tell anyone but you are in over your head, doggy paddling for all you are worth! How on earth can you successfully meet those expectations without the tools and training needed? That’s just it, you probably can’t!
This situation is not unlike classes I took many years ago at Baylor. Those dreaded language requirements! I muddled by Latin 101 and 102…slugged on through 201 and 202. When I arrived all perky and fresh-faced for day one of Latin 301 I abruptly face to face with the brutal realization that I was operating under a delusion! Thinking myself prepared with an appropriate knowledge base, I soon discovered my basics weren’t even basic. All that earlier classwork seemed to have fallen out of my head (it is a dead language after all!) Clueless, Latin was quite literally, all Greek to me! I dropped that class, signed up for Spanish 101, and never have felt such an overwhelming sense of relief!
I come across folks all the time who hold similar misconceptions about the Bible knowledge and Christianity. The assumption, often being, once they accept Jesus as their Savior, they automatically have it all figured out. Or, a childhood full of inspirational Bible Stories, an inspirational experience at youth camp, a few years in a parochial school will gelling into a ” I have it all-down-pat” doctrine. It is more likely only to give you a very basic framework of introductory knowledge. Christianity 101 is not a desired place to slam on the breaks and shelve the whole topic of who and in what do you believe. Many rely totally only on Sunday morning to see what the local pastor is hearing from God?
This is not some course you just can drop at the registrar’s office in favor of underwater basket-weaving, after discovery there are more expectations involved than walking down the aisle and saying a prayer with the Pastor. It is a career calling that should never be deemed beyond your understanding! This is often the “easy out” tossing the entire burden of teaching and growth on your pastor or teacher.
I don’t expect to meet someone- a new neighbor or someone at work and expect to instantaneously-magically know their personality, what motivates them, makes them tick and their life story. No, that takes forever. I may know them pretty well after a few weeks if I take a lot of time and invest in that relationship. I may make initial assumptions that later prove to be totally false. It takes time, study and investment in relationships whether a potential spouse or a bestest buddy in grade school. Why do we think a relationship with Jesus, the Son of the Living God, can be understood from a Christmas Card or a Christian movie that you saw one time. But, people do!
Many conclude personal Bible reading to be incomprehensible to common folk and therefore leave all interpretation or study to “experts” in the pulpit. Our faith foundation is treated like the aforementioned required College Language credits. Required yes, but continually replacing the deeper ones for the baby steps! In some cases the Body of Christ has opted to keep wearing safe wading-floaties rather than prepare them with necessary deeper waters skills. Our gathering together as faithful believer’s ought not to be thought of in the same way as club membership; drop in to socialize, eat cookies, hear a generic pep-talk, and to see what’s on the agenda for coming months. That’s the Rotary Club!
Church, by the way, is not the be all and end all. The intent of an organized body of Christ whether it is a mega church or a small meeting in someone’s living room is to worship the Lord and to strengthen us. It is the spiritual equivalent of a supernatural vitamin drink fueling us to return to a dark world for the real work of Christianity!
Don’t misunderstand, Paul tells us that we must not neglect assembling together in Christ (Hebrews 10:25). This body-building intent is an opportunity not only for solid teaching but for mentoring members to operate in spiritual gifts. This regular gathering should sow an expectation of powerful things of God to happen, as well as hearing personal “family” testimonies describing what the Lord is doing in their lives “out there”. It boosts every single person’s faith to hear and see those RIGHT NOW happenings!
Heartfelt worship is an audible invitation, ushering us into the Presence of God. If all these things aren’t happening where you go to church then go find another one. Life is too short to hang around hoping things will change. Never become at ease with something not aligned with scriptural examples. (Rev. 3:16)
Old and new Christians, often tell me,” I gave it a whirl and tried to read the Bible. I just don’t understand it!” They, slap the book shut and throw up their hands in frustration. There are lots of different, really good translations. All without thee’s and thou’s of 16th century English involved. Ask around, and find one with a good concordance and explanatory notes. You probably didn’t learn to ride a bike without some help from Dad and training wheels! Find a Bible Study and dive in. Find a little devotional book that gives you a daily, easy to digest, bit of God’s word everyday. Pray the Lord will open the eyes of your understanding. He rewards those that seek, hunger and thirst after Him. (Matt. 5:6, 6:33) Don’t think unfamiliar lingo is required secret code for exclusive club membership! Not so! Original disciples were fishermen. Jesus hung out with tax collectors, ex-prostitutes, housewives and regular business folks just struggling to make a living . There was not a rocket scientist in the bunch, and they flubbed-up plenty before they got it all straight! Before long and with the power of the Holy Spirit, they changed the world!
Loving Jesus and realizing He loves you, is Good News- simple and duplicable! Early followers were folks, working a job until they had an encounter with Jesus. We don’t have to know it ALL to serve him or share his love message with others! Doctoral degrees are not necessary to “lock into” what Messiah did for us out of Extreme Love- or what we should do now that we have decided to follow him.
Building a life-long relationship does take time but, the pay off is worth the trouble. With study of God’s word comes faith. As we learn to trust him, our expectations increased. If Jesus could heal the sick and he tells his followers that they will do greater things than he did….then hey! I should be expecting to see exciting things happening in my life every day, as I follow Jesus down this path! Many who have taken the important step to repent and Believe; don’t recognize the need and take the necessary steps to BECOME a disciple? To truly “know” him?
Knowing Him means to know his Word. It is part of our armor in Ephesians 6, and part and parcel of the process to test spirits and rightly divide the Word of Truth. (2 Tim 2:15, 1 John 4) If you don’t know for yourself, how can you be aware if a teaching does not totally line up with Scripture? Satan’s calling card is partial truth and twisted scripture. If you heard a false teaching or slippery deception, would you be savvy enough to catch it? These are tricky times and discernment is becoming more important every day. Just do it. It’s Training Day!