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Leading people into a maturing new life in Jesus Christ

The Abnormal Christian Life

life in Christ

Four of the most important words coming from the mouth of God in Scripture are, “I am with you.”

As we aspire to lead people into a maturing, new life in Jesus, one thing is certain — we must be participating in this new life ourselves if we are to have something to give away.

To encounter God we must first face the menacing truth that our spirit has been formed more by both the secular and Christian sub-cultures of North America than by the Spirit of God. And while this is perhaps normal in our place and time, it’s not healthy.

In addition we must ask an important question — how will it be known whether the Edmonds Adventist Church is truly a people of the living God? To answer this we must grasp an over-arching view of the criteria God uses to distinguish his followers. But since this is a newsletter article rather than a book, I’ll simply express my opinion based on my view of what the writers of the Bible say.

A good example is found in Moses’ response when God informs him that an angel, rather than God himself, will lead the Hebrews to their final home: “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. … Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16 italics added)

Four of the most important words coming from the mouth of God in Scripture are, “I am with you.” From the very beginning God has wanted to “be with” those made in his image. But over and over again we’ve rejected his overtures of friendship and love.

Rather than seeking to encounter his person we reduce the “Christian” life to what we are able to do through the weakness of our humanity. We take the great Scriptural drama of God’s passionate desire to reunite with us and substitute our own systematized abstractions — which we refer to as “knowledge.” Our polite acknowledgment of the God’s omnipresence keeps us safe from the power of his manifest presence — safe from “deception” — secure in the spiritual death we call “life,” ever pushing forward resentfully without passion or divine power.

There is, however, good news. You and I together can learn to engage our hearts, thoughts, choices, and feelings with the person and activity of the Spirit of God. As we travel this path our hearts are revived and re-formed, our minds renewed as we begin to see things from God’s perspective, from within his will and kingdom. Through experiencing the presence of the Spirit we become sure of who we are in Christ. The profound distinction of being a people of the presence humbles us, while at the same time building our confidence and identity in him alone. This creates a boldness to declare his works and release his presence from our hearts into the atmosphere around us.

This is the abnormal Christian life that so few today find their way into, but which is worth giving everything to attain. That’s what we’re searching for, and yes — to some degree — experiencing at Edmonds as we continue to seek God’s person, presence and power.

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Contributed by Pastor Larry Zuchowski

 


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