The Great Commission is a passage in scripture that we often attribute to evangelism, the telling of the good news of Jesus Christ. Most often it is attributed to Christ’s parting instructions to his disciple’s on a mountain in Galilee. However, there is so much more in his parting words. This once lost but now found God tells you he will not be lost again. God’s final words given in Christ’s human form are, as recorded by Matthew, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(28:20b)
As aliens in a foreign land, these have to be the most comforting words we can be given. They are the words that should be in the forefront of our thoughts at all times for our comfort and strengthening. However we lose those words so easily that our faith is weakened and doubt enters in. To contemplate that we have lost Christ or have never even found him is common among believers. I often run across those who, not wanting to share the depths of their experience in this dark venture, simply say they are not growing spiritually or in some lull. If the truth be told they too are having an episode of losing Christ.
Even if we have been saved we are still fallible creatures prone to periods of spiritual illness. We, while following our Savior, tend to look away, admiring the sights along the roadside. When we look up again Christ seems to be nowhere in sight. Did you ever get lost when you were a child? I have a vivid memory of losing my mother in the Family Dollar. Now that’s pretty pathetic as most Family Dollars are not very large. Anyway I did and it was terrible. I recall the horror looking down isle after isle unable to find my comfort. I’m sure she was looking for me at the same time on the other end, but we were missing each other. The key here was that we knew where to look, where we had last seen each other, and knowing that Mother would not leave the store without me, gave me some comfort that on one of the isles we would reunite. If you were to lose sight of Christ, do you know where to find him?
Happily for us, Christ has left us very obvious clues as to his whereabouts. Physically Christ, the Son of God, is in heaven. Spiritually he is everywhere. Sometimes he is more present than in other times. But according to his instructions he may always be found in differing measures by his means of grace. Typically, the revealed means of grace are prayer, the scriptures, his ordinances such as worship services, preaching and the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, and communal fellowship. However one place where he is to be found and we often overlook, is in ourselves.
Now for those of you who know me, don’t think that I have been picking magic mushrooms in my pasture this morning. Though in this July humidity they grow quite abundantly amongst the manure. I am in no way referring to any charismatic experiencing of Christ. What I am advocating is meditation. No, you are not required to assume the lotus position, I couldn’t if I tried, or burn incense. Though if these things help, and you’re into that stuff, go for it. What I am suggesting is the Haggai Technique. Hmm, you say, haven’t heard of that one. Well don’t google it, it’s my invention. At least the catchy name is anyway. You may need google to find the book of Haggai though. Sandwiched between Zephaniah and Zechariah, the prophet Haggai tells the leadership of Judah to do some meditation, he tells them to THINK. “Now this is what the LORD almighty says: Give careful thought to your ways.”(1:5) The prophet is telling you to evaluate what you are doing.
There is a fine line between healthy and harmful introspection. If you spend all of your time considering yourself it is definitely not healthy. The entire book of Haggai is only two chapters. If you only took half the time “considering your ways” in light of the word of God, as it takes to read Haggai, I’m certain you will relocate Christ. This practice of meditating on your ways is exactly what Paul tells the Corinthians to do prior to coming and partaking in the Lord’s Supper. He says “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement on himself.”(1 Cor. 11:28,29) Basically, if you expect to find Christ in the ordinance and you haven’t confirmed his presence in yourself, by realizing that your sin requires his sacrificial body and blood, then the Lord’s Supper is not going to provide for you the nourishment it is intended to give. Meditate on your relationship with Christ before you come to the observance of the Sacrament. The Haggai Technique can be used anytime. Psalm 4:4 tells of David’s anger over his betrayal. God tells him to meditate. “In your anger do not sin. When you are on your beds, search your heart and be silent.”(4:4) The Prodigal Son meditated in a pig pen. When he considered his ways he saw himself starving, not even eating as well as the pigs. Christ said that he “came to his senses.” Meditation will do that.
Whenever you approach any means of God’s meeting out his grace, whether it be attendance on the Sacraments or just meeting with another believer for fellowship, consider your ways, and look for Christ in yourself. Find him in yourself and he will magnify your view of him in the other ways he reveals himself. Now you go chew on that magic shroom.