I am convinced that when a person "TASTES" Jesus, “Things” will happen.
When a person touches an open electrical wire...they get shocked. Did you have to tell the person to jump when they got shocked?
When a small child touches a hot stove they get burned. Did you have to tell the child to remove their hand from the stove?
When the soccer team scored a goal the crowd went wild. Did the announcer have to tell the crowd to go wild?
The Only time you would need to tell anyone to do those “things“ would be if their nervous system was ruined and had no functioning sensory perception whatsoever…or... if the individual was dead.
Telling people to get their hand off the stove because it’s hot? What? They don’t know its Hot? They can’t feel it? They can’t perceive it? Is there a need to tell someone who has just touched a "live" electrical wire that contains 220 volts of electricity to Jump?
Maybe some of us have never really “TASTED” the reality of the forgiveness and love of God. If this is the case. Then why are we doing what we are “doing”. Why would someone jump if they hadn’t touched the electrical wires? Why would the crowd cheer if there was no goal scored? And Why would the child take back their hand from the stove if it wasn't hot? Perhaps they are listening to other people tell them what to do…but have never themselves “TASTED” the strawberry ice cream for themselves.
We try to do all these "things": Witness, Evangelize, study scripture, evangelize, preach etc…The truth is that when we "TASTE" and "BELIEVE" of Jesus we find our selves "RESPONDING" and "REACTING".
WE look at those who are head over heels for Jesus and who would walk through fire simply because He asked them to and we whisper to one another, “Gee…that guy is something else…look at him go…man…the dedication and devotion…”.
We understand why people like strawberry ice cream...but we can't seem to understand why people are so captivated and lovestruck with Jesus.
They "TASTED" Jesus and fell…and fell hard for Him." They "TASTED" the strawberry ice cream and found it irresistable. They "BELIEVED" Jesus and sucked upon the sweetness of His love and grace...the sweetness dripping down...the ice cream flowing....the smoothness of the strawberries on the tongue...the sweetness of the cream....and they could not help the emotions overwhleming them...A voice whispers, "What is this?" "WHAT IS THIS?"
This is strawberry ice cream my friend...this is strawberry ice cream.
THEY HAVE HEARD ENOUGH "ABOUT" THE ICE CREAM. IT IS TIME TO "EAT".
We rarely say, “Give me what that guys got…I want it too! Can I "TASTE" Can I "TASTE"? I want to know Him…Jesus…Jesus…I want to "TASTE you”. Often we're stuck staring at the individual…and miss what he or she is speaking from the depths of their being. It’s happened many times.
YOU "TASTE" WHEN YOU BELIEVE! YOU "RESPOND" WHEN YOU TASTE. IT DOES NO GOOD TO TALK ABOUT THE ICE CREAM. YOU MUST EAT IT TO KNOW WHAT ITS REALLY ABOUT. YOU MUST EAT IT TO KNOW IT. YOU MUST SAVOR IT WITHIN YOUR MOUTH. YOU MUST TASTE IT. YOU MUST BELIEVE.
It is not about becoming a “great” speaker, a “great’ leader, a “great” youth group, A “great” social club, a “great” warrior for God, a “great” church, a “great” evangelist, a “Great” Pastor …no… this is not what He is looking for. He is not looking for “great” people….no….He is not looking for “great” people…
You can "preach" about Him...you can cast out demons in His name...
You can talk about strawberry ice cream...you can talk all about how they make strawberry ice cream...
But you will never truly "KNOW" what Strawberry Ice cream is until you "TASTE" it...
...and you will never "TASTE" Him until you "BELIEVE" Him...for it is impossible to "KNOW" Him unless you "BELIEVE" Him...
What good does it do if you do not "BELIEVE" what He says?
What good does it do if you never "TASTE" the ice cream?
Once you "TASTE" Him...once you "BELIEVE" Him...you will never find another to replace Him...
You will not have a genuine "RESPONSE" if you have not genuinely "TASTED" and "BELIEVED". You will find no Joy without "BELIEVING". You will find no freedom without "BELIEVING". You will find no peace without "BELIEVING". You will find no rest without "BELIEVING". You may know what is being said...and even understand it...but if you do not "BELIEVE" it...you will never "TASTE" it. You will never "KNOW" Him.
He draws near to the humble and honest.
It’s as though we are trying to be like Paul. Yet what happened to Paul must also happen to us. It must. We too, in order to have the same zeal, fervency and love for Him must also have the same measure…the same Revelation of Jesus Christ. We too must "TASTE". He got a "TASTE" of the strawberry ice cream. Thus, we now have a “new” man with Saul. The old man was a striving,clawing and dedicated person trying to "make himself" righteous. Yet, he had never "TASTED" or "BELIEVED" what Jesus had said...Therefore he never "KNEW" the reality...He had heard all about it...but He didn't "KNOW" what strawberry ice cream was all about...He never "KNEW" what the ice cream causes a man to become....He never knew...until He "BELIEVED"....and then He "KNEW" that what He had just "TASTED" was sooo good...that others must have an opportunty to "TASTE" it as well...
So, I had a most peculiar dream this morning. . . Thought I would share some of it with you, as it was quite interesting. The main part concerning some of you special people in grace blogland is this:
I appear to be in this large dormitory sort of place. A nice one - more like a retreat center. And my room is the at the end of the hall facing out to the other end. And I go to my room, which was quite spacious. And all of a sudden people (I don't know them) start entering my room with snacks and I find myself in the midst of a little gathering (maybe 25 people?). And people are sharing whatever God is putting on their heart. Well actually it appeared to be one person in particular sharing what Jesus has done with much authority and conviction. That was Matthew Campbell. Well on he went and then there was Joel Brueske in the background backing up Matthew and verbally agreeing with him.
And in the midst of that I find myself sharing how it is the people that are the hardest to love that need your love the most, and as I am saying that I am bawling and bawling cause I am seeing God's heart so clearly as I was saying it. It was just pure revelation, no pressure or obligation (if you know what I mean). And then Matthew continues speaking with great authority and Joel continues encouraging. And then the group dispersed slowly.
So, here I am at missions college. . . (12 years ago) Surrounded by people from many different denominational mindsets. I was one of those renegade west coast hippy people (really I wasn't - but for many midwesters I was). Anyway, I spend my first year getting good grades, reading all sorts of stories of 'faithful' Christians (aka missionaries). And I am part of a class of about 50 other students, many of whom are very passionate and gung-ho (a mixture of legalism and true desire to hang out with Jesus). Many decided to get together early in the morning to 'seek' God and ask for 'revival. I like the idea - though I was so not a morning person that it just didn't happen too much. We were required to attend church every Sunday - we had to sign a form - as though we weren't already. . . So, I start attending a small lively group called 'The Gathering'. I didn't really get to know anyone there other than a few people who made an effort, but it didn't matter. . . I just cried through the whole thing anyway. Holy Spirit was busy softening my heart.
We constantly heard stories of these great 'men and women of God' who would wake up early in the morning seeking God. Obviously, I figure I should try that out. . . During this year which included working on campus in the kitchen cooking - (which I loved as we were free to dance around and listen to happy music and work with fun people) we also were required to go out on 'Christian service' once a week to evangelise the pagans. . . I chose the "coffee shop ministry" - ha ha ha.
We then had to go on a three week umm missions trip. I chose Scotland. It stemmed from seeing firsthand the damage that had been done in the name of religion (the division of families - protestant and catholic). Really I had no clue what I was doing, but I'd always wanted to go there. No one else was interested in going there so I was happy to go alone. Nothing there worked out the way I expected. I felt so obligated to "do minisitry" and it never worked out - I ended up reading Merlin Carothers praise books every day instead. I got to visit with amazing people and there were some powerful healing "coincidences" relating to my messed up relationship when I was in England. . . And then I took my 2 weeks vacation time to meet up with some friends throughout England after visiting Scotland. Somehow, in London, I found myself at this small bible study with a few friends. It was very laid back and all I really remember is this couple from Germany who prayed for me and the girl had a picture of me sitting in a tree reading a book. And she said that the Lord was saying,'Stop worrying about the fruit. It will come. Just relax.'
A few weeks later I arrive back at College. I find myself yearning for something more. Something I can't put my finger on. The person who I was partially in a relationship in with recommended that I do more church stuff to satisfy that longing. I was totally repulsed by that idea. It was so opposite of what my heart was longing for. I just wanted Him. So, here is where everything started changing in my mind. . . I tended to go through months of melancholy and futility and I would go and ask for prayer, to no avail. Well, there was a missions conference at the beginning of the 2nd year. We were required to go. One fellow speaking there was weepy all the time. He had done some messed up things, causing great pain to his family and God had totally brought him to a place of utter humility. . . He said one thing that stuck me. 'You can know all about God, but do you know Him?'
I started trying so hard to have 'quiet times'. It generally didn't work. I got pretty bored. I tried getting up early to be a holy prayer warrier. That didn't work either. It was rather frustrating. I would also try asking Him for things if I did something for him. Thought that might get Him to do things for me. It started to occur to me that He didn't work that way. This first semester was interesting. I started wondering what Jesus really did for me. I started asking a few people I respected about the cross and what Jesus really accomplished. What it all really meant. I was also doing a self lead class that included reading C.S Lewis books and Francis Schaeffer's trilogy: The God Who is there; Escape from Reason; He is there and He is not silent. Reading Schaeffer reasonings did something to me. All of a sudden it all made sense to me. I was convinced that God was truly real in a way that I had always struggled with. At the same time I was in another class where I was supposed to learn how to evangelise on the 'mission field'. And I found myself feeling so inadequate. I started feeling paranoid of falling into grave error. Even to the point of wanting to quit college. My dad (who was a pastor) was not adverse to the idea and said he would enjoy having me work alongside him in the ministry. I felt honored at that. I had also been encourage by him and another teacher and others that I should go onto seminary and become a teacher etc. . . I was flattered, but the desire was waning.
So. . . Christmas time. I was supposed to write a massive essay for my self lead class. Being that I had little self discipline I had gotten an extension. I got sick. Very sick. Asked for another extension upon returning to school. I was not premitted another one and received an F. I was stunned - I had been getting top grades there. 15 minutes after receiving the news it suddenly occurred to me that it was all so foolish - this grade thing. . . And one verse started going around in my head, 'Lean not on your own understanding. . .' I was starting to see how I didn't think all that much of God, that I took Him for granted. So, early 2nd semester I found myself at another conference where everyone who was willing to lay down their lives for God in missionary work was told to go to the front. Ooh, I did not like that! Obviously all 100's of students rushed forward. I took the path least trodden and went in the opposite direction - out the building. I was very disturbed and upset. The next day during a rather monotonous 'chapel time' sermon I heard God distinctly impress upon me, 'Don't you think that I know better?!' It was quite a revelation for my ignorant little mind. I liked it.
One day, soon after those experiences I found myself with a good friend, admitting and seeing how much I lived for the attention of others. The way I dressed. The way I put make-up on. The way I acted. It was actually quite powerful, as I hadn't realized so clearly my motives. Three days later I was invited out by a newer acquaintance ( a fellow named Dan, who was a very strong, charismatic and opionated person) to go to Denny's. This invitation was VERY unlike him, as he was very much an adherent to the school rules and would never have gone out just minutes before the curfew. He invited myself and a mutual friend Ryan. How could I say no. It sounded like fun. So, we end up at a 24 hour restaurant called Ember's downtown. It was late and there were many unique people - prostitutes, cross dressers, post clubbers. . . The whole downtown gambit.
And it was there, sitting at that table with Dan and Ryan, that I finally saw my Saviour. Dan started drawing out on a napkin what he and 2 other friends were seeing the other night. That what Jesus had done for us was like a tunnel of light that has no end. And that when we believed in Jesus we were immediately transferred into that eternal tunnel of light. And that that tunnel consisted of everything Jesus had done. And that we, because we were "partakers of His divine nature" naturally partook of eveything that Jesus did. That Jesus was the 'author and finisher of out faith'. That we no longer had to try to be Holy because Jesus was Holy and we had everything Jesus has. That we didn't have to work at being good Christians cause we were by very merit of being IN the finished work of Jesus. We started speaking things that Paul and Jesus spoke without even realizing that we were saying verses. It was stemming entirely from the revelation that Jesus had done everything for us and we received our entire identity from everything Jesus did. I remember writing on the napkins there: Holy. Free. Pure. It was in those moments that the depression/melancholy I struggled with since I was 13 was GONE. My fear of death was GONE. I had tasted what Jesus had truly done and was FREE. I knew that I could go anywhere and be fine, for Jesus had already gone ahead and accomplished it all for me. And the funny thing was we were all saying, 'Why do we know this? We don't deserve this. We are some of the laziest people around' No longer did I have any fear of false doctrine. No longer did I need to strive.
And as the days passed the revelation of what Jesus did intensified. We were all in the same Roman's class. And we happened to be reading Romans 6,7 and 8 and we got together and read it out loud and could not get over what Paul was talking about. We would read it over and over and over. There were many times that we were actually physically bent over from the revelation of what Jesus had done and who we were. There was a mixed reaction there on the campus. Some people were so interested in why we were so different and excited and as we shared they could hear and receive. And there were others who were concerned that we were 'Cultish'. . . And it began to occur to us that 'Study to show thyself approved' had been totally misinterpreted. And we saw that we did not have to be at the college anymore to learn how to be good Christians and take tests on theology and bible verses. We knew that it all came down to Jesus.
It was then that I saw so clearly that the vast majority of "churches" aka gatherings were built upon faulty foundations of works and strivings instead of the finished work of Jesus. That most christians were trying to work from the outside in instead of the inside out. Like trying to dig their way to get to the finished work of Jesus. Which is virtually impossible as no one can do it! People need to know that Jesus has done it all for us! There is a deception. . . And this deception is a nasty virus that consumes people's lives when they should be revelling in the love of God. This is my hearts consuming passion. To see people come to the revelation that Jesus blood is ENOUGH. That IT IS FINISHED. That we NO LONGER have to STRIVE to be what we ALREADY ARE. That the intense overwhelming love of God is so manifested in the CROSS of JESUS CHRIST. Taken care of. Totally perfected. Totally free to enter the Holy of Holies. Based on the merit of Jesus OUR LIFE.
And off we went into the sunset. . . (or to be continued another day)
I have 3 kids,1dog and 1 cat, have just moved to the Rockies after a couple years of travelling through Central America and moving about. Love to read, write, contemplate, walk (hike with someone), like to ride bikes, want to get back into horseback riding. I really like to cook and eat good food, but I wouldn't complain if someone else did the cooking and cleaning and laundry. . . I saw what Jesus really did for me whilst at a missions college (actually was off campus at a restaurant called Embers) many years ago now - also is how I met my husband. Love to travel. Love to hang out with like-minded friends long into the night.