A glimpse into our lives: We have a soap dispenser next to the kitchen sink that has a motion detector, so when you hold your hand under the spigot it senses movement and squirts out a portion into your hand.
Nearly every time I do dishes there is a little pool of soap that has dropped onto the base of the dispenser, as you can see in this photo. (The little guy on the left is our potato scrub brush; Barb’s doing, lol)
Here is where the trouble starts
Now when it comes to kitchen duties, I am the pot and pan man, so I take a scrub pad, wipe up the pool of soap on the base of the dispenser, and wash the pots and pans. If I need more soap THEN I hold the pad under the spigot and let it squirt some out.
I don’t recall how I ended up with clean up duty, all I know is Barb is a great cook and practices the belief that a dirty pot or pan can be set aside for ‘later’ so she can focus on completing whatever she is cooking. My name is ‘later’.
We’ve had that dispenser probably 5 years, and other dispensers before this one. I’ve known Barb pretty much since we were 7 or 8 years old. We went to the same birthday parties when we were kids because we had the same friends. Our parents knew each other. My grandfather was their doctor. My uncle was a partner in a law firm with their next door neighbor, whose daughter was Barb’s best friend and one of my best friends. We started dating at ages 15 & 16. We have a LONG and deep history between us and our families.
But I thought…
The other day she was at the sink and asked if I wiped up that little pool of soap on the base, and I replied I did and told her my routine. She asked me not to do that because when she washes her hands she doesn’t want a whole squirt of soap, she just swipes her fingers across that little pool to get just enough to wash her hands.
Why is this the first I’ve heard of it? I’ve always swiped up that little pool of soap first, thereby saving soap by using the excess, doing what I thought was a favor to her and keeping the kitchen just that much cleaner looking in the process.
Over 35 years of marriage and I’m just now learning I frustrated her all these years by wiping up the little pool of soap? I didn’t know until that moment I was frustrating her efforts to wash her hands. Argh!
And so it is with many Christians who think they are doing God a favor – good hearts but wrong application. Maybe by religious formulas and exercises, maybe tallying people they’ve won to the Lord like notches on a wild west gunslinger’s belt, or marveling over their huge auditorium with Italian tile they built for Him, or counting up the record number of people in the Easter service, they think that is what God wants.
Or maybe they’ve filled auditoriums with 3,000 others to shout and yell for an open heaven and pray for revival in that city, and being told by the leaders revival would come within 30 days if they fasted 30 days.
Perhaps like me frustrating Barb while I thought I was doing her a favor, what they think He wants and what they are doing is actually frustrating to Him.
They overlook that amazing fact that Christ lives in them, and they can stop doing things to impress Him and just walk with Him through life. He enjoys the process, so enjoy it with Him.
We think we are doing the Bible thing, to constantly remind ourselves that Jesus died for us because He loves us. We witness to the unsaved that Jesus loves you SO much that He died for you – and all that is true, but only half the truth for He didn’t stay dead. Taking people only 1/2 way to the resurrection keeps people focused on death and sin instead of resurrection power.
When brought before the leaders after healing a lame man, Peter didn’t stop at the cross: “Be it known to you and all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands before you whole.” (4:10)
When the believers were gathered in such unity in Jerusalem after Pentecost, meeting from home to home, having meals together – what was there focus? “And with great power the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord.” They weren’t giving witness to His death on the cross, but of His resurrection, because it was resurrection power that had changed their lives. (4:33)
When the apostles were imprisoned and an angel opened the prison doors to set them all free, He said: “Go stand in the temple and tell the people all the words of this Life.” (5:20) He didn’t tell them to talk of the death of the cross, but rather ‘this Life’.
Is it any wonder then that Paul opens his letter to the Romans saying, “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection of the dead.” (1:4)
Paul’s heart’s desire was, “To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings…” (Philippians 3:10)
Know or believe?
Is it any wonder our church culture has raised up ‘believers‘ in the Lord rather than ‘knowers‘ of the Lord. You cannot know a dead person, and because people are focused on the cross only, they believe in Jesus who died, but without going to the resurrection they aren’t able to KNOW the risen and living Lord!
Because they are believers in His death rather than knowers of His resurrection, they veer off in their faith to erroneous teachings, chasing after whatever fad doctrine is selling right now, chasing the spectacular while missing the supernatural work the Lord is trying to do in their heart.
They mentally agree He is raised from the dead, but in daily life they identify with the dead Man on the cross. The New Testament is all about the risen Lord and that power changing lives.
Back to soap
I started dating Barb a few months after I turned 16. Give me a situation and I can predict how she would react, what she would say. But I still had no idea she liked swiping up the little pool of soap that collected under the dispenser.
Many who have walked with the Lord for years are just now discovering they’ve perhaps been frustrating His grace all this time. Thinking He wanted formula and process, they are just now learning to simply walk and talk with Him in the conversational lifestyle of a knower and disciple.
How can you become a knower rather than just a believer?
Christ in you is the focus of the New Testament. The risen Lord is the focus of the New Testament. How can you make it your focus? Knowing Him is the source of revelation…and more on that next week.
Until then, blessings,