The Christian faith is not meant to be a dry set of beliefs, mental assent to a body of rigid doctrines, but instead it is essential for what the Bible considers to be true life, running deep and rich, flowing out into every aspect of the human experience.
According to the Psalm-writer, the truly alive person
is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. (Psalm 1:3)
This life does not stem from superficial self-help psychology, discovering oneself through eastern mysticism or good old hedonism, but from
delight[ing] in the law of the Lord…meditat[ing] day and night. (Psalm 1:2)
The idea of meditating on God’s laws seems to run contradictory to the idea of a good, full life in our modern way of thinking. How can filling our minds with irrelevant and pointless laws help anyone attain a good life? The answer however is that God reveals something of himself to us through the law.
God reveals himself to us
One of the remarkable things about the God who created the universe is that he is determined to be known by that which he has made – he wants us as people to know him.
The chief way that God makes himself known to us is through the Bible. There he reveals himself to us in ways that we can understand – his character, his faithfulness, his will, his saving activity and more. This is why the Apostle Paul prays that the believers in Colossae
May be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)
Here Paul links knowledge and understanding with bearing fruit – again the metaphor of a fruit-bearing tree, well watered and flourishing. As the Bible progresses, it becomes clear that God’s most transparent self-revelation is through his own Son, Jesus Christ. He is the image of the invisible God (Hebrews 1:3). We only need to look to Jesus to know God himself.
But Paul goes even further:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord [Christ] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Cor 3:18, italics added)
This is quite staggering. Paul is saying that we are able to gaze at the glory of Jesus Christ, and in so doing, become increasingly like the one whom we behold. The more we behold, meditate on, drink in, understand and absorb the glory of Christ, the more we shall resemble his perfect image.
Therefore, we are a church that moves in
We are a church that is committed to moving ever deeper and further in to our relationship with God in Christ, as enabled by the Holy Spirit.
For this reason, we prioritise our teaching ministry – opening up God’s word to us in the Bible, explaining it clearly and then applying it to our lives. God’s word is life, therefore we shall commit ourselves in understanding it, meditating on it, singing it, memorising it.
This happens in a huge variety of ways. We teach from the Bible on Sunday mornings as our pastor and other members of the teaching team invest time in study and prayer as they bring God’s word to us every week.
We teach our kids in Sunday School and youth fellowship events. We encourage each other to study the Bible individually and as a family, equipping and guiding them as a church.
We are a church that moves in.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:2)