I just finished reading Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis again, making it only the second book, along with Don’t Waste Your Life, that I have read twice.
At the end of the book, the authors made the point that what they are really after is not a church method that will sell books or put butts in pews, but to spread a passion for God. They write:
Have you noticed how possible it is to speak about doctrine and yet remain reluctant to speak of the Savior in intimate terms? I find it easy to speak with other Christians about mission or church. I can talk all day about the exegetical complexities of Romans 7. I enjoy nothing more than a lengthy discussion of some point of doctrine. But I find myself stumbling when conversation drifts toward Jesus! I suspect I am not alone. I have been attending conferences for more than twenty-five years; yet rarely have conversations in those meetings turned toward the loveliness of the Savior. What a tragic irony! One of the great glories of the new covenant is that it consists of personal possessive pronouns: Jesus is my Savior and my Lord; to me he is the all-together lovely one and the fairest of ten-thousand! Consider Paul’s great boast: “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
It is so easy for me to slip into this trap. Theology and doctrine are good things. But they are only good so long as we see Jesus first and foremost. If doctrine leads to anything else other than love for God, it is, as Paul would say, worth nothing (see 1 Cor. 13).
Lately, I have been praying more and more that the aroma of Christ would ooze from my being, and that God would rescue me from the stench of puffed-up knowledge about Jesus. Having Christ’s aroma only comes from being near him — close enough that his scent rubs off on me. Oh how I long to intimately and intensely love Jesus, rather than simply know pithy trivia about him.
Lord, help my theology and knowledge to lead to love for you.