This is painful. Not explainable. Must I write about it? Of course.
I am at a crossroads. I never thought I would be forced to choose between the road that pursued godliness and the road that pursued Christ. I thought we were always suppose to pursue both. Is pursuing godliness the same as pursuing Christ? Does it matter? Do these things really need to be thought about?
I am not of the persuasion that there is such a thing as a benign false teaching, so let us peruse both roads long enough to examine where they might lead and if there is a problem at all, or if, as the story goes, it is just semantics.
First up. Pursuing godliness. The first thing that strikes me is a lack of direction. Indeed it is a road, but it could lead anywhere without some definition. It could be left to be defined by evil taskmasters, control freaks, or misguided zealots. Let us, assuming we are Bible believers, adhere to the Bible. So, some perimeters in place, as I read the old testament I find a lot of rules. Dear me, if that is the definition of godliness, and it appears that it is, I am doomed.
Let's take a look at the new testament just because I need a break from this. It appears that not only are the commandments repeated, the heart issues must change as well. Well, who can change those? "Be ye Holy, for I am Holy." I am assuming that God means holiness from the heart, as He continually says that He sees the heart. This road is a dead end.
Crossroads again. The sign reads "Pursue Christ". Already I can tell this road is going to be different. There is a clear direction right from the start. I find peace in that. Bible in hand, I start looking for this Christ. A Creator, Designer, Judge...just in the first 11 chapters. Someone I can not stand before sinless, but seems to be willing to extend grace. I must know more.
New Testament. Jesus. Wow. Servant, healer, friend to sinners. Hey! I am one of those sinners. He said "Follow me," so I dropped my net by the sea, and I followed. All of the sudden I stood out. It seems the more time I spend with Him the more conspicuous I become. I don't have to pursue godliness, it's pursuing me as I walk beside Him. He is changing me from the inside out. We've done a lot of things the religious zealots don't approve of. I guess we don't "look" holy to them.
This Jesus, friend to sinners, friend of drunkards and thieves never once complained to me, was never unloving, never once used someone else for his gain. He broke bread with me and said,"Do this in remembrance of me." He was leaving. He would die to set me free.
I understand what these two roads mean. Pursuing the only Remedy or pursuing me. One road I could define, and take my time, choose my own standards or let them be forced upon me, my destination Christ-less. The other road, He controls, He guides, He directs. He IS Holy, in His presence, I can't be anything else.
Me, the outcast, religious drop out and more, found a place to kneel at the cross on the road that pursued Christ.