Hunger and obedience, lifelong

August 8th, 2015

Do you have a lifetime theme verse from the Bible? Reflecting on this is a way of seeing into your spiritual autobiography, the arc of what God is doing with your life story. Our pastor recently asked about mine, and I realized there are two that stand out.

One is from the Beatitudes, Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

My path from Christian Science to the Cross some years ago was marked by the realization that Mrs. Eddy’s teachings are not the bread of life (Isaiah 55:2), whereas Jesus himself is (John 6:35).

Since then I have learned that the hungering for Him, followed by the being filled by Him, isn’t just a one-time process but a lifelong quest, an ever-rising cycle of discovery and growth.

My other life verse is less often quoted, but precious to me. Again from Jesus, this time in John 7:17: “If any man will do His [the Father’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”

This came to my attention from C.S. Lewis’s conversion story in Surprised by Joy, where he says near the end of Chapter XIV, “Really, a young Atheist cannot guard his faith too carefully. Dangers lie in wait for him on every side. You must not do, you must not even try to do, the will of the Father unless you are prepared to ‘know of the doctrine.’”

I’ve concluded that my experienced somewhat paralleled Lewis’s, though I was coming not from atheism but from a semi-Scriptural belief system in which obeying God was encouraged and “knowing the doctrine” that Jesus died to save sinners like me was strictly discouraged. It turned out, in my case at least, the two couldn’t be kept separate.

As Psalms 25:14 has it, “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will shew them His covenant.” Show me he did — and what surprise of joy to be let in on the (open) secret of Jesus Christ at last!

(Note: Lewis makes a similar point in Chapter XII, specifically with reference to God’s “unscrupulous… traps” awaiting the unbeliever who ventures to read G.K. Chesterton and George MacDonald, authors by whom I too was swept away.)

So again I ask: What’s your lifetime theme verse, and why? Ponder it, friend. You’ll be glad you did.

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