- Most of what they knew came from Jesus and scripture.
- But most of what we know comes from 2,000 years of human ideas about Jesus and scripture.
Christians 2,000 years ago either knew Jesus, or knew someone who knew Jesus, or knew someone who knew someone who knew Jesus.
So they had that, and they had the Old Testament scriptures (which most of them, if they were Jewish males at least, would have been exposed to in depth for all their lives), and they had what we now know as the New Testament (the written accounts of Jesus and people who knew Jesus).
We today think we have that, as well. But unless we've done some extra work on our own, it's far, far more likely that what we have are human ideas about Jesus and the Old and New Testament scriptures as they have been interpreted, reinterpreted, and misinterpreted by 2,000 years of human opinion.
That's not the same thing at all, though we're taught to believe that it is. And the more we believe that devil's lie, the more we push it onto our fellows and our kids, the more garbage we pack in between us and the real, saving Jesus.
Now, there's nothing wrong with commentary or opinion -- if it never tempts you to believe its on the same truth-level as Jesus or scripture. This blog, in fact, is one among millions around the world dispensing the author's commentary or opinion about Jesus or scripture (or people or issues related to Jesus and the scripture), and we certainly don't see anything wrong with that. In fact, it's one part of our prophetic ministry ("prophetic" as in John the Baptist, and not as in Benny Hinn) -- something God puts in our hearts to do.
And we are certainly blessed, in turn, by other Christians' blogs, teachings, and so on -- by those who also dispense commentary and opinion.
But what about all that worship practices and tradition and doctrine and dogma that's put forward as if it came from the mouth of God Himself? Hhhmmm.... Now that's dangerous!
Why dangerous? Because there has never been nor will there ever be (outside of Jesus Christ Himself) any human being or group of human beings on the planet that is guaranteed to even mostly understand and explain God and God's ways correctly.
Yet there are millions upon millions of Christians and other religious people who think their pastor, priest, pope, church, denomination, whatever has it right enough that all they need do is shut their brains off and just do and believe what they're told.
- ...even though the Bible itself tells us that even the apostles got things wrong, over and over again, so that they had to confront and correct each other (one example is here) and be confronted by Jesus.
- ...even though the Bible itself tells us that those who question even the apostles are counted as better than those who do not (one example is here).
So, what all needs to be dumped?
First of all, everything outside us that claims it stands in or speaks for Jesus.
Jesus does just fine on His own! So we need to remove ourselves from the spiritual vacuum of that pastor / priest / pope / church / tradition / denomination / worship practice / whatever that claims to be being or doing Jesus for Him and/or us. Those who think to stand in for Jesus (rather than kneel before Him) are going to answer to God in the end for all that, if they don't repent (and we certainly don't need to get caught in their trap, as well!)
And second of all, everything that's inside us that claims it can stand in for or speak for Jesus.
Despite all that we're taught or like to think, the best and only thing we can do for Jesus is to speak and demonstrate His Gospel to others, one person at a time. We need always beware the temptation to imagine that we are "special" in some way, because that's a contract with the devil.
And you've seen people (perhaps yourself) do just that, even if you didn't recognize it at the time. Anyone doing the whole "I'm a pastor", "I'm an apostle", "I'm a prophet", "I'm a priest", "I'm a reverend" nonsense should be desperately embarrassed (and repentant) to be doing a crappy fake of the old Mosaic priesthood that Jesus canceled with the Blood of His New Covenant. Jesus proclaimed us all on the same level with only Him above us (in computer terms, that means there are no Christian "super-users"). If we really have a gift that's actually from God, then we don't need to advertise or name it. We're just supposed to use it. God -- who alone has rights to it anyway -- will use it publicly or not as He sees fit, and if we are really putting Him first in our hearts and mind then people will come to see less and less of our titles and displays and directing, anyway, while from within us they will just happen to see more and more of Jesus.
Dumping garbage to make more room for Jesus can actually seem like a scary thing. That tradition and submission and so on actually start to feel comfortable very quickly. But they feel comfortable like booze in a bar: making us feel all warm and fuzzy and surrounded by friends, when actually we're toxic and tipsy and surrounded by the worst and most superficial of ourselves and our neighbors.
Making more room for Jesus, though, actually means making more room for joy and peace and health in our emotional, physical, and spiritual lives.
Making more room for Jesus is like cleaning house with laughter and tears of joy, getting ready for the best Someone who's ever happened to our life, coming to stay forever.
Making room for Jesus, is making room for Love.