As essential as Holy Scripture is, the Book itself is not the goal. While you must never depart from it, you must also never get stuck in it. The life you seek is not in the Book. Jesus warned the religious of his day about just this: “You’re so devoted to the scriptures, thinking that they’ll give you eternal life; but you’ve missed Me” (John 5.39). Everything they were looking for was standing right in front of them, but they were so attached to the words they missed the Word, so fond of the goads they lost sight of the Goal. You don’t want to do that. But don’t judge them. It’s easy to become merely religious. Merely religious is what you’ll be if you get attached to the outward forms of religion but miss its interior power (2 Timothy 3.5). It’s also easy, even fashionable today, to be “spiritual, but not religious.” Go this route and you’ll seek the interior power of religion but you’ll want nothing to do with religion’s exterior forms. Both extremes are mistakes. Look, if the Incarnation means anything at all, it means that form and Spirit are one; you can’t have one without the other. Jesus embraced the mortal human form and made it divine, but didn’t hold it so tightly he couldn’t let it go when the time came for something new (Philippians 2.6-8). You too must learn to “let go” of what you know and cherish. Unless you do, you’ll never see the fullness of God (John 20.17).

So, don’t get attached to the forms of religion and get stuck in them. But don’t reject them either. Instead, hold them loosely, honoring them as Jesus did. Scripture, in particular, has one purpose—to unite you with God, to gather you into life eternal. The prophets, sages, and apostles are pointing the way.  Now go, eagerly—or better, run desperately . . . as desperately as you’d run toward water if suddenly you found your head was set on fire.

The Goal is Everything.

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AuthorChris Neufeld-Erdman