I have a friend who doesn’t believe in having a personal relationship God, but does believe that Jesus was a good teacher.
My friend, like many people who are not followers of Jesus, hold this view:
- Jesus was a good teacher.
- His principles are worth following.
- He taught was other religions taught.
- He was a wise leader whose teachings have changed the world.
My friend hasn’t surrendered his life to God, doesn’t follow Jesus as a Christian.
My friend wants to be a good person. My friend tries to absorb ethical truth from every perspective in order to be a good person. My friend doesn’t want to be a religious fool.
My friend is an agnostic who wants to grow spiritually, but not yet ready to commit to any one religion or God. Rather than hold a position of an atheist who declares “God doesn’t exist,” my friend would hold the position of an agnostic who says “I don’t know.”
My friend has a level of spiritual thirst that has moved beyond intellectual curiosity. This person wants to learn and apply so that personal growth might happen.
Thus, we are having regular conversation about Jesus, about the nature of God, and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. My friend is on a journey towards Jesus and I get the joy of helping my friend discover grace.
I hope you encounter such people on a regular basis and pray for such conversations regularly.
My Friend is on a Spiritual Journey
We have developed a good rapport from being friends and spending time together.
He has moved from a defensive resistance to my Christian faith to an acceptance that my faith is part of my life.
He has moved from that acceptance to a place of curiosity as he sees how I am living out my faith in front of him, while not being overly aggressive at saying he must believe like me.
- Distrust to trust – trusting a Christian
- Complacent to Curious – the shift of spiritual thirst.
- Closed to change to open to change – hardest threshold to cross (personal life)
- From Meandering to seeking.
- The actual conversion to the Kingdom of God (surrender).
I see evidence of my friend being in the 3-4 range of this phase list.
How I talk with my friend
Recently, our conversations have shifted to looking at the teachings of Jesus. After all, my friend wholeheartedly agrees that Jesus was a good teacher.
We’ve started looking at some of the sayings of Jesus:
- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6
- All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18
- Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters – Matthew 12:30
- Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. – John 10:1
- I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins – John 8:24
My friend didn’t realize Jesus said these things.
He is beginning to realize that if Jesus spoke truth, then some kind of response is required of him.
He could either
- Not agree with it and say that Jesus wasn’t always a good teacher (limit the impact).
- Jesus didn’t say those things (question the source)
- Agree that Jesus was a good teacher and that Jesus will hold him accountable to these words.
By looking directly at the teachings of Jesus, my friend is getting uncomfortable with his own position. He is realizing his claim that he wasn’t really following the teachings of Jesus if he didn’t believe them.
This dissonance is creating spiritual thirst and a desire to do something about it.
Let me ask you this?
- What is your favorite Jesus saying that might give a person pause, like my friend?
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