Emmaus Road Theology…Introspectively; Part I

December 8, 2009

Christian Life, Theology

I’ve often wondered within myself how I can be sure that I understand God correctly. 

I grew up in the church and have always known of Jesus Christ.  Being born into a Christian home meant I always carried about in Christian circles.  But one thing which was true then and has carried through into middle age is that I’ve always sensed there to be gaps in my knowledge about God.

Sometime before I was ten, (I don’t remember exactly, I was very young) I remember praying to God for wisdom.  It was very important to me at the time and I remember being somewhat emotional about it.  I probably had recently heard the story about Solomon and his request of God, but I can’t be sure.  I think, though, too, that I’ve always had an intuition that I could easily be wrong about things; the world is very deceitful and truth is always (it seems so anyways) masked by what is seen.  Regardless of all that, though, I knew I wanted to know more about God.

It’s difficult at times to understand why God doesn’t reveal everything about himself all at once.  It would seem to make sense for him to do so.  After all isn’t it true that we think ourselves able to accomplish and do the things that we know?  If obedience is better that sacrifice, then surely if we know how to obey, then we should be able to do it?  Now, if you’re truly mature in the things of Christ, then you can understand me when I say that I’ve beat my head against the wall for a lengthy period of time.  Truly, knowing how we should obey and actually doing it don’t go hand in hand.  But that understanding is not something that comes readily with a confession of faith.  All I knew was that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.

So, I could see myself a sinful man, but yet I couldn’t beat my flesh into submission.  I couldn’t understand God.

Of course, when I was young, I wasn’t so concerned about being a sinful man.  I had no capability of understanding that concept, I just knew God thought favorably of those who sought Him in truth.  After all, Solomon got the goods along with the smarts.  But, I guess, as a teen I figured I knew most of what I could know about God, anyway.  The rest would have to be up to me.  So I set off to carve a life as I pleased.  This type of thinking led me into my narcissistic years; about half my life, just trying to fulfill  my desires in the world, but not going too far so as not to feel guilty.    I tempted fate with my thinking and my actions and honored myself as strong for doing so.  To “Hell” with what anyone thought.  I’d wrestle a bear to submission and box his ears when  done.

Problem was, I wasn’t getting anywhere.  My life was nowhere.  One evening as I sat on the couch watching TV, I looked down and all that was there was an empty cigarette pack, an empty beer can and a maxed out credit card.  Just emblems of a life without Truth.  Of course, in retrospect, for whatever reason, God wasn’t going to allow me to get anywhere; and to this day I thank Him for that.  The world would say I failed, Joel Osteen would say I needed his five steps for my best life now,  Jesse Duplantis would say I spoke too many negative words and I had no faith, and Jesus would say come to me, stop trying, I’ll give you rest. 

Ah, Jesus.  I’ve made my life a mess but Jesus would surely help my clean it up!  It’s 1994, I’ve “unarrived” and I know I need to know more about God.  So I contemplate this for a while and decide my course of action…..I turn on Robert Schuller.

Sometimes I wonder if God just doesn’t have this weird sense of humor.  You know, I mean I can’t help myself so I turn on mr. selfhelp himself.  Yougottabekidding.  It’s like I’m on the trail headin straight out into “the bush” (just a little Alaskan vernacular).  Oh well,….I wasn’t there long.

From this point and for about the next thirteen years, I was part of the Calvary Chapel movement.  And I truly thank God for that.  Much of what I know of Christ I learned from the preaching of their pastors and the role modeling of some dear friends.  Some are sleeping, but I will see them again.  During this time I came to believe God’s word to be inspired and fit for all doctrine and teaching.  But unfortunately, some gaps still existed and I couldn’t find rest until I found answers.

It’s not right to say that something in my life has given me understanding, rather, It’s God who has chosen to reveal himself to me in a certain way throughout the events of my life.  But life experiences don’t make a theology.  So, if you’ll allow me to beg your patience, tomorrow I will tie this story and my thoughts together….till then.

Luke 24:13-35

13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread

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