“Seek God in Scorn of the Consequences” (John Stott)

In seeking God [i.e., to consider God, his actions, and his self-revelation as recorded in scripture with a genuine willingness to accept what one finds] we have to be prepared not only to revise our ideas but to reform our lives. If the Christian message is true, the moral challenge has to be accepted. So God is not a fit object for man’s detached scrutiny. You cannot fix God at the end of a telescope or a microscope and say ‘How interesting!’ God is not interesting. He is deeply upsetting. The same is true of Jesus Christ.

‘We had thought intellectually to examine him [Jesus]; we find he is spiritually examining us. The roles are reversed between us… We study Aristotle and are intellectually edified thereby; we study Jesus and are, in the profoundest way, spiritually disturbed. … We are constrained to take up some inward moral attitude of heart and will in relation to this Jesus. … A man [or woman] may study Jesus with intellectual impartiality, he cannot do it with moral neutrality. … We must declare our colours. To this has our unevasive contact with Jesus brought us. We begin it in the calm of the study; we are called out to the field of moral decision [Carnegie Simpson, The Fact of Christ, 23-24].’

We have to be ready not just to believe, but to obey. We must be prepared to do God’s will when he makes it known. … This, then, is the spirit in which our search must be conducted. We must … seek God in scorn of the consequences.

[The hindrance to this sort of search is fear.] Fear is the greatest enemy of truth. Fear paralyses our search. We know that to find God and to accept Jesus Christ would be a very inconvenient experience. It would involve the rethinking of our whole outlook on life and the readjustment of our whole manner of life. …

We do not find because we do not seek. We do not seek because we do not want to find, and we know that the way to be certain of not finding is not to seek.

John Stott, Basic Christianity, 17-18.

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