I have committed myself to a bold lifelong pursuit. This pursuit is not really that different than the one I have held to most of my life. As a child, I fell in love with Jesus and gave my life wholeheartedly to Him at age 11. Like many who grow up in the faith, life got bumpy along the way. Coupled with a lifetime that included being taught church doctrines, Bible college, and years of seminars and conferences, I found myself with more questions than answers! Yet my pursuit remained always the same: to know Him, love Him with all that I am, and become like Him in every way possible.
In 2009 Jesus shook up my life by taking me to Israel and back to my heritage – and His! I met a very Jewish Jesus that year and it set me on a pursuit for truth like never before. I realized that in all my Christianized efforts of living my life with Jesus I had missed the Messiah – a Hebrew King that walks with and rules the hearts and lives of a people called Isra’el. My heart was stricken with a new awe of Him as I set out to discover the Hebrew roots of my faith in this Messiah, Yeshua. This incredible journey has led to a whole new depth of understanding in who I am as a believer…one who has been grafted into the Olive Tree that is Israel. Israel’s people, history, Scriptures, land, God and Messiah are also mine. I am, as Paul affirms, of the seed of Abraham. Every believer is. This is who I have become, in Him. I love it!
What energizes and makes my lifelong pursuit so very interesting is that with each new understanding that I gain of my Hebrew Messiah Yeshua and of the Kingdom over which He reigns my desire to know much more of Him only increases! I want to know Him inside out. I want to know his heart, his thoughts, his beliefs and perspectives, his habits, his character. I long for my life to become identical to His. Yes! I want for my life everything that empowered Him to live life upon the earth the way that He did!
I want more than belief in Jesus as my Savior and King….I want the beliefs of Jesus to become my beliefs.
I want more than faith in Jesus…I want the faith of Jesus to become my faith.
I want his Spirit, his very Breath dwelling in me, to give His beliefs and His faith a lifechanging power that influences not only my life but the lives of those around as never before.
Most of us readily agree that Yeshua walked on earth in a powerful anointing that flowed from the very essence of who he was as both God and a man. Something in us draws us to Him. We want to love like He loved, touch lives around us with the same gentle and healing power, know right from wrong as He did, and restore hope as He did. He brought order to the chaos in a person’s life. We want Him to do that for us. We want to be able to help others in that same way. Interestingly, Yeshua said that those who come after Him, living in His name, would do even greater things than He did. Do I really believe that? I am not sure that I do. Yet I know I should. That “personal gap” within me is exactly why I know I need to know Him better than I do.
I’ve been dwelling lately on the reality of Yeshua’s oneness with the Father. He spoke of it often, and in John 17 we find Him asking the Father to give to us that same oneness. “Holy Father, guard them by the power of your name, which you have given to me, so that they may be one, just as we are….the glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as we are one – I united with them and you with me, so that they may be completely one..” (John 17:11, 22-23)
I have come to believe that Yeshua’s oneness as a man with the Father is just as great a “good news” as our salvation through His death and resurrection! This must have been so crucial to Him. Our oneness with him in the Father was the last thing on his mind in the very moments before His arrest in Gethsemane. In fact, it was the driving passion within Him that carried Him through torture and death. He knew his sacrifice was the only way this oneness with the Father could ever become available to all who would follow after Him. We were saved for much more than obtaining “eternal fire insurance”. We were saved to become one with the Father – just like He is! We were saved to live on earth as Yeshua did – in the destiny and purpose God originally had for mankind in the Garden. Wow!
When we go back to Genesis 1 and think about it, this “oneness with the Father” the Yeshua wants for us makes perfect sense. Isn’t that exactly what Adam and Eve had? They were created in His image (nature, character, attributes) and lived in perfect unity with God. (Keep in mind that Yeshua was in the beginning with God and is God! John 1:1-14) I believe that since mankind’s fall away from this oneness with Him, God has been pursuing every possible means to restore us to one state of being: “I will be their God and they will be my people and I will dwell with them”. He wants to be with a people after his own heart, on the earth he created, forever. The Old Testament prophets and The Book of Revelation inform us that God WILL reach his goal with a holy and redeemed Bride called Israel – the seed of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has spoken it. So it will be.
So where does this leave me in my relationship with Yeshua, my Messiah? Do I really have the option of doing “faith in Him” my own way? Is it a correct choice to follow after what a man-made doctrine or tradition would instruct? Or is there a “His way”?
We are instructed by the apostles to become imitators of Messiah, allowing our minds to be renewed and our lives transformed from the paganism of our Gentile, worldly ways to His thoughts and ways. We’ve been taught – and correctly so – that Yeshua lived out human life to perfection just as God originally designed us to function. He did so that we could know that we too can live in such a manner. This is part of the Good News of the Kingdom of God! I do not have to remain a slave to my own shortcomings and failures. My life can change! But for that to happen I must allow Him to change me on the inside – a circumcision of my heart. This lifelong process is a cutting away of my own worldly warped thinking, beliefs, and habits. The essence of who I am needs to flow from the same rich river of wisdom, beliefs, and understanding that runs from the very heart of my Messiah. As that transformation happens, I begin to become one with Him and thus one with the Father. Just as with faith to accept Yeshua as the Messiah, to walk this journey with Him happens by my choice. Once saved from the penalty of eternal death for abandoning His and His Ways, I must choose to learn how to live my life like His.
Now that leaves me with a life altering question. How well do I really know my Messiah? I will never become like someone that I do not know. It certainly isn’t enough to know what others can tell me about Him. I need to know Him up front and personal. As I mentioned earlier, I grew up in the Protestant church with all its varied doctrines, teachings, and theologies. Frankly, it all became quite confusing. My experience was what I call “Heinz 57”. I was as good a Baptist, Nazarene, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Spirit-filled Word of Faith believer as possible. Then I went to Israel and encountered the Hebrew Messiah. My belief system unraveled in His presence.
Within those 14 days, I realized that I knew next to nothing about who my Messiah and King truly is. Up until then, I knew only the Western Christian version – but not the Hebrew Messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures. (Clue: Mary was not a Catholic. John was not a Baptist. Jesus was not a Christian. They were all Jews.) In fact, my whole Christian faith came into an ancient and very revealing Light. It wasn’t pleasant. It was utterly life-shaking. I fell on my face before my King and begged, “Please show me who you are. I’m tired of what man says about you. Teach me truth. Correct me wherever I have misunderstood or believed wrongly about you and your Kingdom.” He took me at my word. He gave me a starting point, which for me meant returning to the very beginning of time on earth to the pre-Hebrew, Genesis chapter one Sabbath. I fell in love with Him, the Master of His Sabbath, all over again!
Since that day eleven years ago, my life in increasing oneness with Him has become unbelievably exhilarating! I’ve come to understand why He saved me – and have realized that one earthly lifetime is far too short to get it all in! It will take living throughout eternity with Him – and I am not going to waste a second of it!
Learning takes time. Even more so letting go of what I thought I knew as truth (unlearning) and absorbing something that is, frankly, counter Western culture. Much of my time studying Scripture involves going “back to the Beginning” with my King as He helps me to understand the Torah. I’ve come to realize, just a John did, that Yeshua is the Torah – the Word of God made flesh to dwell with us. His Spirit now dwells in me, writing the Word (Himself) in my minds and upon my new heart. I now understand that to do away with the good and perfect Torah would be the same as doing away with Messiah. How absurd! I thank Father for opening my eyes to Truth – His Truth. I will not deny my Savior the fullness of who He is for any man or church, period. I can’t, because I have come to love Him with all that I am!
I have understood for some time now that Yeshua lived the Torah out before the people of his day in such a manner that it infuriated the religious, self-righteous Jews but gave tremendous hope & comfort to the everyday Hebrew. He stripped away a cold religious legalism that had twisted and perverted His Word and revealed instead the grace, mercy, love, and hope of the true Torah. To know and understand this Messiah far much more than ever before is the deepest desire of my heart. As I read the Gospels with an ever-increasing foundation of the Torah and the Hebrew culture that it gave rise to, I find Messiah’s teachings to be even more remarkable than ever. The freedom and life He put back into His Word for the everyday person is astounding! I indeed belong to and serve a remarkable God unlike anything the human mind or hand can fashion.
I am quite certain that my life-long pursuit will continue into eternity. I want the beliefs of Jesus to become my beliefs. I want the faith of Jesus to become my faith. I want the nature and character of His life to become mine. I want to know him…not know of Him. I want to be one with Him. You are welcome to join in this journey. I hope that you will!