I Must Experience it First
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 2 Peter 1:16
I’ve previously mentioned that I grew up in a Christian home and environment. My father was a pastor, and I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God. Part of that faith has always involved believing that there is a right way and a wrong way to live. As good Christians, we didn’t drink, smoke, or swear, and I grew up understanding that I bore some responsibility to share my faith with those around me. In this mindset, living that faith out meant that I spent a lot of time disapproving of the rest of the world. I wasn’t taught this, but it was quite easy for condemnation to become the extent of my faith – pointing out the sins, failures, and flaws in everyone else. This was a convenient version of faith because it allowed me to ignore all my own flaws – as long as they weren’t that terrible or obvious.
This is why I can now be thankful for my addiction. Without it, I’m not sure I’d have ever got around to actually living the faith Christ described in Luke 9:23. If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. The Christian life isn’t about picking on the sins of others while letting our own little sins slide. The Christian life must first be experienced, which means we must daily abandon ourselves to follow Jesus, allowing him to radically transform us. It is only in knowing Christ and being saved from ourselves that we have anything authentic to share with those in need.
In today’s passage, Peter said something similar. He reminded his audience that he wasn’t preaching some fictitious myth. He preached what he knew, and he knew Christ. He knew Christ because he walked and talked with him. Peter’s life was transformed and so he spent the rest of his days sharing that transformation with others who needed it. Peter didn’t sit back and preach some theoretical religion. He truly knew Jesus and as a result, couldn’t help but share him with the world.
We don’t need to be addicted to drugs to find God. We’ve all got our own flaws and failures and we all naturally follow our own way. We all need to be saved from ourselves. If we’re willing to admit it and daily abandon our way to follow Christ, then we’ll be transformed in knowing him. It’s only in knowing him that we truly have something to share with the world.