Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pursuing a Mystery

Debbie and I were watching "Without A Trace" the other night. Without A Trace is a T.V. mystery drama where a person vanishes from their family and friends and the F.B.I. then gets involved to solve the mystery of the missing person. There is something riveting about mysteries of all kinds.
The Bible talks about mysteries, things not fully understood, veiled or that needs the help of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul says that "...great is the mystery of godliness." A few verses later Paul goes on to encourage his readers to "...discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." (1 Tim. 4:7) and a little further in his letter he instructs his audience to "...pursue...godliness." (1 Tim. 6:11). So what is the mystery that we should be pursuing with discipline?
Godliness can be the quality of ones life. To be godly is to have qualities in your life that are likened to God. Qualities like love, purity, selflessness, faithful, kind and the like. Godliness can also speak of the content of ones beliefs. This seems to be the emphasis in 1 Tim. 3:16 when it is read in its' context. Therefore godliness can be both what we believe (truth) and living out the qualities of what we believe.
To be honest, the truth about Jesus being 100% God and 100% man is quite impossible. That is without God and His supernaturalness. This truth is a mystery. How can a man also be God without any imperfection, sinful thought or activity? The resurrection is another truth that is mysterious. How can a person who has died not only be raised from the dead but also raise himself from the dead (John 10:17-18). These two mysteries are only the beginning. These type of mysteries can only be believed, embraced and defended by a supernatural changing of ones heart by the Holy Spirit (another mystery as to how this happens). One can know the facts, but believing them in your soul is quite impossible without the Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, 15:26).
Becoming a true follower of Jesus Christ is more than knowing that Jesus was born, lived a sinless life, was crucified, died and buried and then rose again three days later. Knowing these facts are important, but they alone do not transform your soul. Simply knowing these things do not transfer you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Jesus (Colossians 1:13). There is a difference between knowing truths in your head and knowing them in your heart. That 18 inches between the two can only be tranversed supernaturally, by the power of God Himself. If you have not had that experience yet but you know you believe the truth stated above about Jesus, then I encourage you to call out to God and ask Him to deliver you from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ. If you do that, be ready for some mysterious (positive) changes in your life.
So let me encourage you to pursue the mystery of godliness. Pursue both the truth of Jesus Christ and living out of that faith so that your character, over the time of your life, becomes more and more like Jesus Christ. How that has happened in my life is great mystery for which I am eternally thankful! Pursuing this mystery is a lifetime adventure.