I am attempting to grasp for a truth here. A quest for a deeper sense of reality. One that surpasses superstition (i.e.: fear as opposed to faith).
‘the more you fulfil yourself the less you will seek God…seek, and you will find…” Get to work – narrow your focus and interests to this one…Experience is a doorway, not a final goal. Beware of building your faith on experience, or your life will not ring true and will only sound the note of a critical spirit. Remember that you can never give another person what you have found, but you can cause him or her to have a desire for it’
(Chambers, June 10, ‘my utmost for His highest’).
This message in my devotional this morning prompted me to ask the questions:
‘Do I treat Jesus as a crutch?’
‘If I do, isn’t this superstition and idolatry?’
Look at the meaning of the word “crutch”. It is defined by ‘the sage’ – (great program b.t.w) – as:
‘anything that serves as a means to an end. An object, wooden or metal that fits under the armpit and reaches to the ground; used by disabled (or if you prefer the PC term ‘differently-abled’) people while walking’
I am not sure about you, but I don’t think I like the image of putting Jesus under my armpit just to prop me up when I need to move around. Sure, if Jesus chooses to be like a crutch and help me than that is His gracious and FREE choice. I am grateful when He does.
Just as Karl Barth wrote: ‘His reconciling being among us with and in us…is always His movement’ (CD IV.4:88)
Jesus the Christ is NOT my personal slave and I should NOT “use” Jesus as though he was. If I viewed my FREE access to God in this light it would be a response of ingratitude-as-superstition, and not an act of gratitude-as-faith. I cannot take Christ for granted, or hold to assumptions over a faith grounded in the knowledge of Christ’s self-revelation.
This raises further questions:
a) Do I see Jesus as a means to an end?
b) Do I see that Jesus IS the end of all means?
As Christians we must endeavour to raise Jesus out of this ‘’utilitarian-situation’’ ethic. This is because the tendency to perceive Jesus as a “tool” is superstition.
Jesus is not an object, a commodity or a pharmaceutical band-aid. He is not a superstitious myth that we cling to for comfort and reassurance. He is ‘the way the truth and the life’, wholly human, yet wholly God. In other words He is reality par excellence. Because of Christ we are heirs of ‘eternal hope’ (Barth, CD:IV.4:114).
In my observations, it is true that we reflect not just what Jesus enabled, but what He enables and is enabling. This involves God’s ‘yes and no’ to us in Jesus Christ. This in no way exposes a flaw in my argument, because saying that Jesus enables, places the focus on Christ’s action, and not on any attempt to conjure Him up in order to meet my own self-fulfilment.
Being enabled is evidenced in Creator God’s extraordinary act in redeeming the ordinary. You are chosen. WE are chosen; elected because of the election of Christ (Barth).
Take for example Barth’s statement that
‘Baptism is a going forth to Jesus Christ. It is not a movement into the unknown. It is encircled by the light of promise shining from the goal. It is not a chaotic or arbitrary movement; it is commanded and ordered’ (CD. IV.4:94).
If you are like me, you are a Christian who desperately needs to ‘narrow their focus and interests to seeking the God who seeks us, and less on seeking our own fulfilment’ (June 10, ‘my utmost for His highest’).
The reminder is this: by focusing our efforts on seeking God, it presupposes trust in the God of promise, who, by His Spirit chooses to enable, empower and join us to His will through Jesus the Christ.
This becomes a real and tangible act of faith, that is in contra-distinction to an artificial act of superstition which is ultimately, only based on fear.