Are you “pressing in” to grow closer to Jesus Christ? I’m not asking if you are growing in your knowledge of Christian doctrine, able to quote more Bible verses, or attending more religious services. Those Christian activities can help us, but many people can have deep theological acumen, quote entire chapters of the Bible, attend church services every Sunday, and still not be in a growing relationship with Jesus.
Tucked away in the Gospel of Luke, we find this verse, “On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on [Jesus] to hear the word of God…” (Luke 5:1). “Pressing in on Jesus.” What a beautiful description of passionate hearts yearning to be closer to Jesus in order to hear the word of God. How different this is from the experience of many cultural Christians. A cultural Christian possesses a consumer mindset of passivity rather than participation. He consumes but is not consumed. She controls rather than surrenders to the control of the Holy Spirit.
Following Jesus requires us to have a change of mind, which is what the Bible refers to as repentance. The word is metanoia, which comes from two Greek words, meta—change and nous—mind. We change from being a cultural Christian to being consumed Christian, consumed by the love of Christ. When we follow Jesus, He calls us out of the world and into His love. We are transformed in mind, heart, and nature. “The old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). And so we are no longer consumers, but we are being consumed by His love. We no longer try to control our own agenda but be controlled by His agenda. We are no longer passive but active as we “press in on Jesus to hear the Word of God.”
But what does that really look like? Although there is no formula, there is a process that begins with a surrendered heart. Formulaic Christianity focuses on a checklist, where we are led to believe that as long as we do certain things and avoid other things, we’re good with God. But formulaic Christianity doesn’t transform us from the inside out. Sanctification, however, is a process of being made holy. We work out what the Holy Spirit is working in.
As in any relationship, we need time with God where we are not distracted from the demands of our schedule. We need to rest in His love. And we also need the fellowship of other believers where we can confess our sins and pray for one another (James 5:16). I ask you again, are you pressing in to grow closer to Jesus Christ? Breathe in His grace and exhale your sin and sorrow. Join others in a confessional community of God’s grace and truth. Let us be consumed and controlled by His love as we “press in on Jesus to hear the Word of God.”
“For the love of Christ controls us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).