Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sacred Pathways

Sometimes Christians feel they must get up at 5am and read their Bibles for 2 hours followed by an hour and a half of dedicated and passionate prayer. This, they feel, is the only way to really connect with God and show Him and yourself that you mean business when it comes to relating to God. I am exaggerating a bit but hopefully you get the point. Sometimes Christians think they have to conform to a set of disciplines or copy other Christians who have been successful in their walk with God.

While it is true that being disciplined in our pursuit of a relationship with God is necessary. It is also true that this relationship is meant to be a source of tremendous joy and peace.

Gary Thomas has written a wonderful book called "Sacred Pathways". In it, he invites Christians to try many of the methods of walking with God that are offered in scripture and used by Christians throughout church history. For example, some people find it easy to meet God and pray when they are enjoying Him in creation. Others find that they meet God best when they are somewhere free from distraction. Who is right? Some people connect with God by studying the Bible very rigorously, others would prefer to connect with God by reading the Bible more devotionally.

The goal is to find out which pathways seem to work best for you right now in your life and lean into them (use them lots). But also to experiment with all of the pathways.

One thing I need to clear up lest I sound like a Universalist. I am not suggesting that there are many paths to God in the sense that there are many religions or systems or gods you can believe in and they are all basically the same god. I do not believe this is true. There is only one God and we can meet with Him only through Jesus Christ. But our encounters with Christ can happen in many different ways.

It is something like dating my wife. I am only dating my wife and no one else. Trying different pathways does not mean trying different people to date. It simply means trying different kinds of things to do on a date. One time we might go for dinner, another time we might go for a canoe trip, another time we might play tennis or laser tag, another time we might go out with a group of people. In doing so we would find different ways of connecting. Hopefully we would find some ways that work really great for us.

One of the cool things about your relationship with God is that because there is no one else on the planet who relates to God exactly like you. So you don't need to copy other people's methods. But you do needs to find some methods that work...and work them.