Summary: Is it possible to spend my life in a Christian environment & not know Jesus Christ?
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-- unless, of course, you fail the test?
I have a rather pointed question to pose to you today. Is it possible to spend my life in a Christian environment & not know Jesus Christ?
Is it possible???
Let us examine Saul’s journey through life to find the answer.
• Raised in a very religious home
• Life centered around the Tabernacle
• Learned how to talk properly (did not learn foul language)
• Learned correct mannerisms
• Associated with only Jewish children
• Went to religious schools
• Felt completely at home in the church culture
Paul not only survived in this society, he excelled. He became a religious leader, a person of renown, a person of integrity. A man known as morally right.
He became a Pharisee, and by the account given, a seemingly rising star of the Jewish faith. Yet it was this same man who hunted followers of Christ and had them thrown into prison.
So one day Saul was on his way to Damascus when a light from Heaven flashed around him, and he was confronted by Christ. And his response was, “who are you Lord?”
In the 1940s, Fred Craddock began serving as a missionary to India. When World War II ended, Craddock’s church wired him funds for a steamer ticket to return home. Arriving in his port of departure on Christmas day, Craddock discovered a disturbing sight. A ship of German-Jewish refugees had been allowed to temporarily dock, and these exiles had been stuffed in small spaces with no human comforts. Craddock used his money to buy pastries for as many as he could. When he informed his church, they asked, “Don’t you know they don’t believe in Jesus?” “Yes,” Craddock replied. “But I do.” (author unknown)
When we believe in Jesus, we become radically different. For we are infused with the Spirit of the living Jesus, and our heart and eyes and hopes are freshly attuned to seeing our world the way God sees it.
If we’re curious to know whether or not our faith is growing . . . if we’re curious to know whether or not our actions are becoming more Jesus-like, if we’re curious to know if in fact we “know God,” we must answer this: Do we love? “Anyone who loves . . . knows God” (1 John 4:7).
It’s rare these days to come upon an unequivocal answer, a black-and-white, right-or-wrong way forward. But in 1 John 4 we have an acid test. If you truly love—you know God. If you do not truly love—you do not know God. Period. (borrowed from email)
When a friend leaves me feeling lonely, when my father walks away from my family, when I encounter another’s need, when someone intentionally hurts me without cause — in these moments, do I love? And this love isn’t simply an act of mustering up some inner reservoir of goodwill. “To truly love is to give away what God has generously given to us.” — (Winn Collier)