Sunday, September 7, 2014

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

My quest to know Jesus has been a life-long adventure, and by no means do I consider myself as having "arrived," even at my "advanced age." There is so much more I want to know, so much more I need to discover. There are some days I doubt, and some days I question whether the things the church teaches and the things Jesus taught are the same things. There are so many preachers and believers who have great difficulty with anyone saying those kinds of things. They believe that once you find Christ, your search should be over. Once you understand that Jesus is the answer, how can you still have questions or doubts about your faith or the church? I would like to respond to those thoughts today.

In the third chapter of Philippians the Apostle Paul writes his famous words about "pressing on towards the goal." Just prior to those words, in verses 10-13, he writes the following: "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. Let's take a look at who it was that was stating that he had "not yet taken hold of it." Saul had been handpicked by God to take the gospel to the Gentiles. He was struck blind and went through a name change. He had been rejected, beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned and spat upon by those who sought to discredit the story of Jesus. He had taken the message of Christ to the known corners of the world, and along with Peter and other disciples had turned the world upside down for Jesus. Paul walked as close to the will of God as any human being ever has. And yet, he spoke those words- "not that I have already attained all that." Paul wrote those words while sitting in a prison cell, arrested for preaching the gospel. And yet he knew that there was still more to learn. He knew he had not yet arrived. He was still searching.

When the great band U2 released their amazing album The Joshua Tree in 1987, it was considered to be an album that reflected the Christian faith of several of the bands members, including lead singer Bono. Yet one of their most deeply spiritual songs, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, created a great controversy at the time. How could they claim to be Christ-followers and yet still be searching? I remember preaching a sermon on the subject at the time and pointing out these lyrics from the song:
You broke the bonds and loosed the chains
You carried the cross of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

U2 was professing their faith in the Christ who died for us all and confessing their belief in him. Paul was still searching for more even though he may have been the most committed Christian who ever lived. People hear me say that I am still searching and jump to the conclusion that I am saying that Jesus isn't enough. They could not be more wrong. What I am saying - what the Apostle Paul and Bono were saying- is that no matter where we are in our faith journey, one question is always valid-  You mean there's more? And the answer is Yes!  Always!!! The love, the grace and the wisdom of Jesus surpass human understanding.  Their depth is bottomless. There is always more for us to learn and comprehend. I cannot judge you if you feel that you have already arrived as a Christ-follower. I just know that I've got to keep pressing on, because I don't want to be "good enough." It's not a preacher, a musician or a writer I want to be like-I want to be like Jesus! And I'm not nearly there yet. Have a blessed Sabbath, my friends!

Because of Jesus,

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