25th May 2018
As I said last week, I visited Glastonbury recently. I was walking along the High Street when a young lady approached me. She was very sweet and gentle. She told me she was asking people for wisdom, and she asked me if I had any spiritual insight I could share with her. That sort of thing doesn't happen much in Gosport.
I told her I was a Christian, and she seemed rather supportive of the idea. I was touched by her non-judgemental attitude. I said that my answer would have to be one of the sayings of Jesus. She responded, reasonably enough, by asking me, "Which one?" But how can a person choose one of the sayings of Jesus over all the others?
I wanted to be helpful, so I quoted John 1v25-26, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even if he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." I hope that enabled the young lady to think more clearly about eternal life, and I pray she will find Jesus, because He's the only source of the peace and truth she's looking for. She then offered me an invisible flower (really). I hope she wasn't offended that I chose not to accept it.
Her question stayed with me. I spent a large part of that evening asking myself which of the sayings of Jesus really is my favourite. I suspect that the answer to that question changes over time but, at this stage of my life, the one that's speaking most powerfully to me is:
As we learn from the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18v9-14, those who are confident of their own goodness, their own righteousness, their own spirituality, are disqualified from the kingdom of heaven. But those of us who know we're sinners, who cry out to God for mercy and forgiveness, are justified by faith and may enter the kingdom of heaven.
May God keep us humble.
I think this is what separates true Christianity from all other spiritual and religious endeavour; A true Christian knows he's a sinner. He knows he can never justify himself. All other religions, including the sort of "new age" spirituality that interested the young lady I spoke to, is about wanting to find peace by believing that we're good people. We want our spiritual leaders to tell us that we're nice, we don't need to feel guilty, we're at one with the universe. The Bible teaches us that we're not nice, we do need to feel guilty - because we ARE guilty - and we're enemies of God. And the only solution is the precious blood of Jesus.
We don't need to be told that we're pure. We need to know we're forgiven.
If we're poor enough in spirit, perhaps we can admit these things to ourselves and to God, and then find forgiveness through faith in Christ's redeeming sacrifice. Otherwise we're lost.
Heavenly Father, thank you than many people in our country are seeking spiritual reality and peace. We pray for them that they will find that peace and reality in Christ, who died to pay for their sin. In Jesus's name. Amen.