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I was in the office early. First to arrive, every morning. I was the one who turned the lights on (and often the one who turned them off each night). Large triple shot coffee in my hand as I scanned overnight emails and my always too large work-in-progress folder.
Another restructure was in the wings and I knew with a new MD having recently arrived putting the heat on the sales team, of which, I was one of its leaders, we were to come under close scrutiny. Changes were inevitable and I knew my role, the jack-of-all-trades role that it was, would be closely scrutinised.
I wasn’t too concerned. In fact, I was ready for a change.
But to what?
I’d never aspired to be a CEO, unlike my twin brother, but from early in my corporate career I had expected I would end up in one of the senior roles reporting to the CEO. Yes, I managed it once, in the Virgin business I co-founded but the desire for such an executive role had diminished. However, given the right company and right boss I’m sure I’d happily jump into one. There just wasn’t that burning desire to do it.
And for the umpteenth time in recent months I find myself staring into an abyss.
My heart yearned for something more. But no longer was it for the big corporate gig.
But for what?
So I started talking to God about it on our daily commutes. My dissatisfaction with my career was troubling me but I soon began to realise it was more than that. I was frustrated with my relationship with God. Surely there was more?
It didn’t take long before I got my answer. It was blunt and too the point.
“But, you don’t know me, Ian.”
No, I didn’t hear it verbally but in my heart.
So I asked Him how I could know Him.
Once again the response was short and very clear.
“Read my Word.”
Those words jumped into my heart. Sure there was a sense of guilt but mostly relief. That was the answer. I was excited to get started.
Of course He was right. How can you love somebody if you don’t really know them?
“You can believe in God and still miss life with Him. You can know about God and still live as an Orphan.” Allen Arnold
So I dived into the Word. New Year’s Day 2009 I committed to read the Bible everyday. I’m pleased to say that in the years since I started there have only a handful of days when I haven’t read the Word. That’s probably the one and only New Year’s resolution I’ve made and stuck to.
Meeting Jesus in His Word
I relished reading the Word, discovering so many new aspects of God’s character and finally truly getting acquainted with my Savior. I grew up attending a traditional Church of England church and loved how we used the Green Prayer Book each Sunday and sang old hymns. But I really only met God, the Father.
And my first impressions of Him were greatly impacted by my relationship with my dad. This is common. So I was often fearful (not in a reverent way) and felt He was more the disciplinarian.
Yes, I knew of Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the trinity was just too much of a mystery for me to spend any time reflecting upon.
It’s only been in these last ten or so years where I’ve come to ‘meet’ and get to know the other two members of the trinity: the Son and the Spirit. My first impressions of Jesus were He was a super hero of sorts. He was more God than human. So He had an advantage over the rest of us because He could always play the God-card.
How wrong was I?
Yes, I’d read the gospels (and most of the rest of the New Testament) many times over the years, had it preached and talked about but still I lived in this deception.
“We need to hear the Gospel everyday because we forget it everyday.” Martin Luther
I love the fact that no matter how many times I’ve read a passage I discover something new each time. That’s why the Word is a supernatural book.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning… The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:1-2, 14a NIV)
Jesus is the Word. The Word is living and breathing. It was only in studying Him, His Word, did I begin to discover who Jesus really was. And that He wasn’t a super hero of sorts.
Falling in Love with Jesus
“... but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man]” (Philippians 2:7 AMP)
Jesus became completely human. He was fully man. And fully God. But each nature, ie, His humanity and His divinity, remain distinct. All part of the mystery of Jesus.
It’s been in discovering the humanity of Jesus that I’ve discovered His divinity. A contradiction? Maybe. But in realising He completely understands me and even with all my shortcomings loves me like mad. Accordingly, I’ve become more accepting of myself, developed greater confidence in who I am and my anxiety has gradually diminished. As Thomas Merton says: “If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.”
“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3 NIV)
I’ve always loved this verse but I never really appreciated it’s meaning. Until I spent time meditating on and repeating it day after day after day did it dawn me that we can only experience what we were made to be until we fall madly in love with Him.
As Dallas Willard states we are called to a love affair with our Creator.
I want the love affair. The whole kit and caboodle. With Jesus.
Grace and peace, dear friends.