This blog is about faith crises, but this particular crisis is more of a neurosis then a crisis. It began in Hawaii. While attending a Discipleship Training School, I heard a teaching that I believed with my gut and based my life on. I bought it hook, line, and sinker, but didn’t recognize how unhealthily I had embraced it until years later. Namely the teaching called “Seeking God to Know Him”. I wanted to know God. I believed knowing God would be my salvation because Jesus actually said exactly that, in the Gospel of John, kind of. What he said was, “this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God…” And back then I thought salvation and eternal life were the same thing.
The teacher of this class preached that God was not interested in casual inquirers; you needed to be persistent and passionate in your pursuit. Also it was like a marathon race, not a sprint. It was a long and arduous undertaking. Only those who took it seriously and committed themselves to a lifetime of wholehearted desperate seeking, would by the grace of God, who sees how faithfully you have searched unrelentingly for years … only those people would, someday, know him. God, in my opinion, was worth the time and effort. So I signed up.
The other caveat to knowing God, according to the teaching, was a pure heart. Sure enough the Bible, actually Jesus himself, says in Matthew 5:8, “blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” God loves a pure heart and God knows when it’s not. He see you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake … wait, what?!? Anyway, your motives can really mess up a heart as far as purity goes. This was a major block in my progression toward knowing God and I was sure it delayed the answer significantly. I spent an inordinate amount of time purifying my heart, or maybe a more accurate description of what I was doing was worrying that my heart wasn’t pure and trying to repent of sins I couldn’t quite identify. So I conjured up things that might possibly be wrong at the core of my being and repented of that.
None-the-less God is merciful, and despite my misguided path I did experience an occasional breakthrough and felt the real “presence” of God. I lived for those feelings. And when I didn’t live for those feelings, which I equated with living for God, I felt guilty and fearful because my heart had grown dull and lifeless. It was exhausting. But I knew that was the cost, and the price I had to pay. It’s what I signed up for when I decided that my highest goal would be to seek God to know him. I was proud of my diligent pursuit of God … oh crap! Pride! My worst sin!