Summary: If you want to truly live, experience Christ Personally and share Him with others.
One summer evening, during a violent thunderstorm, a mother was tucking her little boy into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, “Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?”
The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. “I can't, Dear,” she said, “I have to sleep with your daddy.”
A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: “The big sissy.” (Source Unknown; www.PreachingToday.com)
Ever since childhood, we have all longed for somebody close, especially in the storms. We want to be connected. We want to know we belong. The problem is a lot of people go looking for it in all the wrong places.
Monty Roberts’ work with horses inspired the movie called The Horse Whisperer. And during a 60 Minutes episode, Monty Roberts taught the world the secret of his horse whispering. It involves his getting into the corral with the untamed mustangs and staying as far away from the animal as possible, without leaving the enclosure. He also refuses to allow any eye contact between him and the horse. By moving slowly, but surely, away from the horse, and by keeping his eyes averted from the animal’s gaze, Monty slowly draws the horse to himself. Even though the beast is pounding the earth with his foot, and snorting and circling with great speed, Monty keeps steadily moving away from the horse. He won’t look at it. He won’t approach it. As astounding as it sounds, Monty can have a wild mustang saddled and carrying a rider quite happily. When asked about his secret, he says, “The animals need to be with others so much, they would rather befriend the enemy than be left alone.” (Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, Hendrickson, 2003, p. 98; www.PreachingToday.com)
People will befriend even the enemy of their souls rather than be left alone. They will do things in the search for intimacy that are only self-destructive in the end. They will look for it in the bars. They will look for it in internet pornography. They will look for it in bad relationships.
But there is a better way to find intimacy. There is a better way to find the companionship we’re all looking for. There is a better way to find the fellowship and joy we all so desperately need. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to 1 John 1, 1 John 1, where the Bible shows us that way.
1 John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (ESV)
Find fellowship and joy through the Word of Life. Find the delight of intimacy in a relationship with Christ. Find the pleasure of companionship in Him.
That’s where John, the one who penned these words, says he and his friends found it. They were rugged fisherman, used to the hard life of the sea. They worked hard to earn a living, putting up with the unpredictable storms that often arose on the Sea of Galilee. Life was not easy for them.
In fact, John and his brother, James, were actually nicknamed “Sons of Thunder,” not because they were nice, easy-going fellows. No. They were the ones that wanted to call fire down from heaven on a town that rejected Jesus. They were not sissies in any sense of the word, and yet these rugged fishermen found joy in their companionship with Jesus. I get the sense that they had a lot of fun together.
They experienced God himself in the flesh. They heard Him with their own ears. They saw Him with their own eyes, and they touched Him with their own hands. They weren’t making this stuff up!
In his book, Faith Is Like Skydiving, Rick Mattson illustrates the reliability of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and resurrection by drawing a horizontal spectrum on an easel pad. He labels one pole 0% and the other pole 100%. Then he asks people to imagine that four friends named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John attend a sporting event together and afterword write down what they saw. If 0% of the four reports harmonized with each other, we’d think the guys got their wires crossed and attended separate events. Matthew reported on a baseball game. Mark reported on a football game. Luke and John reported on completely separate sports events. By contrast, if the accounts were 100% verbatim, or pretty close to it, we would also be skeptical. We would think Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John huddled in a room somewhere to fabricate a single harmonized account.