Intimacy Not Ethics

Two types of Christians stand out to me, both for opposing reasons.

The first are those whose faith is based upon ethics. Their adherence to the Bible and a code of stringent morality most often sets them apart from others who do not encompass the same value set. The result is a cloistered lifestyle, and making anyone who lives to the contrary feel uncomfortable and judged.

While this often starts with good intentions, it quickly becomes a breeding ground for a religious spirit cloaked in the guise of purity if not challenged to maturity. It is birthed in self-righteousness, and if left unaddressed it kills the Christian and those around them.

The second are those who base their faith upon relationship with the person of the Holy Spirit. While certainly pursuing an understanding of God through classic forms of reading, prayer, and meditation, they emphasize a keen and dominant interest in knowing the Lord intimately, choosing Jesus Christ’s righteousness to be their morality through impartation.

The result is an individual who actually attracts those living outside of a pursuit of Christ, and in fact makes them jealous for it, often without being able to articulate it. This Christian thinks nothing of the public association with the wayward, and feels most alive when loving them selflessly.

Unbelievers loved being with Jesus. The dirty, the drunken, the destitute, the broken, the orphaned. And he loved being around them, to the point that observers thought he might actually be drunk in the bars and cavorting with the prostitutes.

Yet he was without sin.

Everywhere Jennifer and I go we desire to be attractive. Loving. Open. Full of Jesus. But sometimes we try and sneak into a restaurant for a date unnoticed.

Only one problem:

You can’t hide a light under a basket.

Our server Friday night, Christina, couldn’t put Levi down. And though her speech was more Mandarin than English, one thing was clear: she loved being around us at dinner. So did the restaurant manager. And the rest of the servers. There was something contagious in the air. The smell of Jesus. And they wouldn’t leave us alone.

Don’t substitute you’re pursuit of ethics for divine relationship. Intimacy with God will always produce morality, whereas ethics never produced heaven.

Souls are waiting for your personal freedom. ch:

20120115-123335.jpg

  • Mare

    There are no other words needed. Perfection.
    A+

  • Enie

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I often wondered if I was doing “it” right until this past spring.I have many non-Christian friends but wasn’t sure I was reaching them with any part of the Gospel because I didn’t preach to them. I prayed about it and asked the Lord to show me and within that week 2 friends called to talk and ask me questions. We talked for many hours and I was actually able to give them the Word.After 7/8 years of knowing them they knew that they could ask me. Another thought is this, that True Intimacy with the Lord will lead to greater morality.

    • Enid

      My name is ENID not ENIE. LOL

    • “True Intimacy with the Lord will lead to greater morality.”

      Precisely! Since he is the standard of morality himself. When we look at him we become transformed; when we look at ourselves we become deformed.

      I like your story and seeing this played out in your own life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Beth

    Growing up, I always wanted to just blend in. After being around people like you and Jenny I have realized that standing out in a natural way is just being Christ-like. I have seen how you guys attract people, it’s a natural thing. You don’t hide that Jesus is in you.
    If we aren’t ashamed of Jesus then we shouldn’t try to hide Him.
    Love this post!!

  • AMEN BROTHER!
    Love ’em like Jesus… and if necessary use WORDs! Thank you Christopher & Tribe Hopper for letting your light so shine!

  • Beautiful post, Christopher Hopper! You and your beautiful family are very attractive and contagious… Jesus’s loving light shines brightly out of all of you and it’s hard to not avoid it, nor want some of it. I feel like I’ve grown better in my relationship with God, from reading your wonderful stories and getting to know a little of you and your fam. For sure a blessing in my life.

    I was once asked why I was always happy, by someone who was sadly nicknamed Eeyore. My simple reply was Jesus, but she had a hard time believing it and thought I was even more crazy. Eventually she opened up to it a little… and begun to try to have a relationship with Jesus, which brought happiness to her life. Sometimes our actions are worth more than our preaching… for it shows rather, than just tells.

    • Well said! Thanks for adding your story to the post. Great addition. And your kind words really mean a lot; if your growth in the Lord was the only net-effect then it was worth it. Blessings!

  • Susie

    I know this is a day late, but it’s so true! True joy just shines out of those who walk intimately with Christ. People often ask me why I’m so happy despite circumstances that are thrown at me. I’ve had so many people who came in my office for just a few minutes and they feel presence of God. it’s amazing. They think its just “good energy” but I know it’s something more. 🙂

    • “I’ve had so many people who came in my office for just a few minutes and they feel presence of God.”

      This is precisely what I believe the Holy Spirit goes for. That atmospheres would change because we become a target for heaven to fall.

  • shane marolf

    I had been thinking about this since you posted it. Many times in my life I had been on the wrong side of this. Sometimes easy to get at that place. Really love the way you put this. Good stuff

    • Thanks for your honesty, Shane. I actually think we all deal with this. Sometimes from wounds, sometimes from allowing the pendulum of our “standards” to swing to the opposite extreme when we get free of something. But in all cases, we can only maintain it until our pursuit of Jesus provokes growth, and thus maturity. I’m on the same path as you, always hoping to mature in the things of God.