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My Jesus Experiment- Pt. 2

By Chad Mattingly in Church Life on August 8, 2018

I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the son also does. For the Father loves the son and shows him all that he himself is doing. John 5:19-20

So I have started into a new experiment.  Jesus made the claim, “I have come that you might have abundant life (or fullness of life).” As discussed previously, Jesus was not talking about the afterlife, but finding fullness, abundance in our earthly, everyday lives. That is quite a claim. As Jesus followers, do we believe and practice it? So, with The Jesus Experiment by Bill Perkins as my guide, I want to test Jesus’ claim. The Bible encourages us to “examine spiritual claims and hold fast to what is good” 1 Thes. 5:21. This is the hope and intention behind my experiment.

Today, I want to examine the truthfulness of this proposition. What we do in private informs who we are in public. Do you agree? Time and time again, this premise is proven true. Sooner or later, the guiding beliefs, principles and practices unseen and private will find healthy or unhealthy expression in the public  sphere.

The life of Jesus provides example. Little is known about the first 30 years of Jesus’ life, but it is safe to say that the unknown relationships, principles and practices that guided Jesus through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood were foundational for the ministry years that followed. It was during those unknown years that Jesus developed a deep and abiding connection and dependence on the Father. We know this to be truth because throughout the gospels Jesus would again and again withdraw from the crowds (and even his disciples) to pray and be alone with his Father. Clearly it was during these times “away” that Jesus nourished his relationship with God and cultivated a strong, abiding connection that served as lifeline throughout his ministry.

Jesus claims, “Truthfully, I can do nothing without my Father. So I look around and seek to join in what my Father is already doing.” I think that his statement is directly connected to our experiment. Part of finding “abundant life” here and now involves three things; 1) realizing that apart from God, we (like Jesus) can do nothing (of real consequence), 2) developing spiritual practices that nourish relationship and cultivate dependence, and 3) seeking new eyes to identify where God is working so that we can join in.

According to Jesus, seeking and finding life with God starts with what we do in private. I invite you to experiment with prayer and meditation. Perhaps, you can take the passage above (John 5:19-20) or John 15:1-5 and prayerfully meditate on its meaning for your life. Journal about your thoughts, or discuss them with a friend. My prayers are with you as we live into this experiment together.

-Chad

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