Luke 24:5-6 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
I have heard this passage used many times to encourage people to leave “dead” churches and go to one with more “life,” but often enough that is a thinly veiled excuse for “sheep stealing.” However, it is very true that we often seek Christ, or seek God in general, in the wrong places. Even churches can be hotbeds of “New Age” teaching. If you encounter a church like that, indeed look elsewhere. However, sometimes the churches quoting this passage are those “New Age” ones! The most important point is actually seeking Christ, rather than seeking a particular experience or even a particular tradition and/or theology. It is my observation that theology can become an idol itself, a substitute for a relationship with a living Lord. It’s not at all that theology is unimportant, but rather that theology must be lived to be meaningful. We can get tied to words instead of relationships. Recently Marie Kondo’s philosophy of discarding things that “don’t give you joy” has become quite a fad. Taken casually that’s far too shallow for our spiritual life, but with a bit more thought, it can be very helpful. When we define joy as that which brings us closer to our Lord, then it can help us avoid “seeking the living among the dead.” There are disciplines, such as regular morning devotions, that can at times seem burdensome, but if our focus is on drawing closer to Christ, they are no burdens at all. Different people respond differently to a number of things, which is one reason we have denominations, but our focus must be on Jesus Christ our Lord.
Being at a conference focused on “One New Man; Israel and the Church,” I am being exposed to various unfamiliar traditions. However, there is remarkable – and glorious – agreement that Jesus alone is Lord, and He is worthy of our total devotion. Even in Paul’s day there were people who were trying to retreat into Jewish traditions, prompting him to write the letter to the Galatians. The people who are here from Israel are not in the Galatian camp! I am not to jump on some “bandwagon” just because it seems interesting. Rather, I am to focus on my Lord and recognize that His plans are far greater than any human system. As is being stressed, the unity that He desires isn’t just between Jews and Gentiles, it is among all ethnic, racial, and national groups. That’s a strong Word here in Japan, with deep-seated feelings toward some other Asian nations! I am indeed to seek that which draws me closer to my Lord and His children, whatever label those children might carry.
Father, thank You for all that You are doing on so many levels. It’s certainly more than I can keep track of! Help me hear You clearly and follow You fully, doing what You have for me to do and supporting the rest in prayer, so that in all things Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!