June 13, 2023 – Romans 9:19-10:4
Before becoming a pastor, I was a high school math teacher. And one of the things I loved teaching was geometric proofs. So, I know what you’re thinking: “Dang, he’s cool.” Anyway….
If it’s been a while for you, proofs are written out as line-by-line or paragraph justifications for why a particular mathematical statement is true. In other words, you must prove – like a lawyer – that the statement is true beyond a reasonable doubt by utilizing all the rules you know.
One of the things I always begged of my students was to never memorize a proof. Instead, I wanted my students to know the proof. In other words, I wanted the students to get to the heart of the matter. Being able to recite theorems and postulates and putting them in the right order might get you through the test, but it does not help you to understand the math any better than you did before. Instead, you have chosen the path of saying the right things without truly knowing the right things.
The same temptation my students faced can also be a big obstacle for our faith journey. We can spend so much time learning about God, memorizing different facts and verses, that we fail to get to truly know the real God. In other words, we can talk about God without developing a true relationship with God. Doing so can hold us back from experiencing the true freedom God has for each of us.
Paul was lamenting this very phenomenon for his Jewish brothers and sisters. He saw them trying to ensure that they got the right answer by performing certain tasks under the law. Paul put it this way, “Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law” (10:3). Paul wanted them to experience a bigger truth that requires more than the law alone could provide. He desired for all to have a relationship with Christ, the one who is actually the fulfillment of the law (10:4).
There is a solid temptation for Christians to do more for Christ than they do with Christ. But Jesus does not just want us to learn about him, he wants us to truly get to know him. In getting to know him, we actually allow him to transform our hearts. And a transformed heart based on truly knowing Christ will always outlast and outshine the ability to pass a test about Christ.
Questions for reflection:
- In what ways do you feel most connected to Christ? Why?
- Which areas of your life do you feel are most disconnected from Christ? Why?
- What step can you begin taking today to make space for Christ to transform your heart in the disconnected areas for the sake of truly knowing him better? Will you take that step?