Christianity Gone Sour

Christianity Gone Sour

One hot, summer day I came into our air-conditioned house after working outside and building up a tremendous sweat. My throat was parched and I could not wait to get something cold to drink. I hastily opened up the refrigerator door and I spotted a jug of milk which had one serving left in it. “Perfect,” I thought! I love milk and I joyfully grabbed the jug. At this point I did something mother’s across America warn their children not to do, specifically their boys, and I decided to drink straight from the jug. I figured, “I am going to drink all of the milk anyway. Why not cut out the middleman? The glass is completely unnecessary.” I twisted off the cap and in one motion I began to chug. My first thought was of the milk’s coolness, but then my mind began to catch up with my senses and I thought to myself, “Is milk supposed to be chunky? AAAGGGGG!” I spit it out as quickly as I could, but some of it had already gone too far down to retrieve. What a horrible discovery. Something supposed to be so refreshing and give so much pleasure instead made me gag!

In this study we will take up the subject of Christianity gone sour. Paul warns us against three influences which sour the Christian faith. He first warns us of the lure of legalism. He then will warn us of the magnetism of mysticism. Finally, he will warn us of the souring influence of the appeal of asceticism.

Each of these takes the new life we posses in Jesus Christ, a life from God which is supposed to be refreshing, enjoyable, and immensely satisfying and sours the new life so as to make it spoiled; a faith to be turned away from and spit out.

In Colossians 2, Paul pulls the alarm of warning to awaken the church against these influences which are very attractive, appealing, and tempting to everyone of us. They look so good and if we are not careful we will chug them down in one swift motion and it will be impossible to spit out all of the awful consequences of having swallowed them.

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

I believe the appeal of these three influences is as strong for us in the 21st Century as it was for the believers in Colosse in the 1st Century. May God give us grace to throw these influences out of our lives and out of our church, before they ruin our joyful and sweet relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

The first souring influence we are going examine is the lure of legalism, in Verse 16. In view of the fact we have been joined to Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, and in view of the fact we have received all of the fullness of God in Jesus Christ, as we read in Verse 10,

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

Legalism, as I define it, is the attempt to please God by measuring up to a list of external rules of conduct. The context of this warning of Paul is there have been some influential visitors to the church of Colosse who began teaching the new Christians there about the Christian life and they were false teachers. These visitors came and told the believers at Colosse they had made a very good beginning by embracing Jesus Christ as Savior and as God, but they were missing out on a deeper spirituality. These visitors had a very condescending and belittling attitude toward the young faith of these Colossian believers.

One of the things they taught which would make these Colossian believers move deeper into their walk with God, to become really, really spiritual, is if they would pick up, again, the Laws of the Old Testament, specifically to pick up the Laws in regard to diet and in regard to “days”: festivals, Sabbath, and New Moon celebrations.

Here we find two categories which are always emphasized in the “Doctrine of Legalism”. In the first we find things which believers are to avoid: eating “this” kind of food and drinking “this” kind of drink. The second is we find things which believers “must” do: attend to “these” special days, “these” Sabbaths, and what they are to do one these special days and on these Sabbaths.

The teachers at Colosse told the believers they needed to keep a list of “laws” in regard to diet and days in order to have a right relationship with God. Paul comes along and, in his letter to the Colossian church, rebukes them by saying, “Listen, Jesus Himself is sufficient. You do not need the Law in order to have a right relationship with God. Jesus is all and in all. Do not let anyone point you away from Jesus and His sufficiency by turning your attention away from Him and turning your attention toward the Law. Legalism will not make you superior and will not cause you to grow deeper in your walk with God in any way; rather, it will cause you to become shallower and inferior.”

In this case the false teachers specifically condemned the Colossians for their dietary laws. This was not something which was unusual in the 1st Century and it is not something which is still unusual. It is something Jesus Himself addressed, for instance in Mark 7, in speaking to the Pharisees who were wondering why Jesus’ Disciples did not obey all the Laws surrounding food, and He is going to remark,

15 “Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’ 18 “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)

Food cannot make a person unclean, but it is what is issued from the heart. Jesus is the One who fulfilled the Law on our behalf and He is declaring food to be clean. Paul is going to make a similar argument in 1 Corinthians 8, when he said,

8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

In other words, the Scripture does not forbid us from holding to certain dietary principles for ourselves, just as long as we do not make it a blanket restriction or commandment upon all in the Christian faith. We are no worse off if we do eat, but we are also no better if we do not eat is the clear teaching of the Scriptures.

In Colossians 2, the Apostle Paul says, “Do not let anyone judge you on these matters. Jesus alone is the Judge. Why are you letting these people, who come with this condescending attitude tell you there is a superior way to live out your life before God.” in Verse 17, Paul is going to go on to say, in regards to these principles these false teachers were advancing within the church,

17 These (laws) are a shadow of the things that were to come…

They were telling of something which was coming and Paul is reminding them this “something” has already come; it is Jesus. Paul goes on to say,

17 …the reality, however, is found in Christ.

We have the reality of our union through Jesus Christ and that is also Paul’s point in Verse 9,

9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ…

Paul is telling us we have begun in Christ and we are to remain in Christ and there is no value living in the shadowland of the Law. We are not to focus our life on the external rules which were given to point us to One who would ultimately fulfill everything God required for them. Everything for us is found in Him. Friends, nothing can sour a sweet walk with God like legalism. Beware and do not let anyone judge on these matters.

Is legalism a threat which exists for us today? Yes, legalism is always alluring and tempting to every generation, though it takes various forms in every generation, because it basis our relationship with God upon human achievement. There is something in the willful pride of man which loves a legalistic environment to think, “I can be accepted upon the basis of what I do and I can win the trophy of God’s righteousness if I work hard enough and accomplish it for myself.” Our naturally pride focuses upon the things we can do or it focuses upon the things we can avoid in order to be in right relationship with God.

Our pride loves to have some external measure which is achievable, so in this way legalism always falls short of God’s standards of righteousness because it leaves so many things out. It leaves the inner qualities out of the list. Legalism also loves this measure, not only so we can feel as though we measure up and we made the grade, so we can go around with that measure and look at other people in the church of believers and say, “Does this person measure up like I measure up?” This promotes the pride and boasting of our natural self.

How can we recognize legalism? There are five marks of legalism. The first mark of legalism demands uniformity. Within a legalistic environment people become uniform and tend to dress alike, look alike, talk alike, and act alike in all social settings. Often a lack of uniformity in these external matters, within the context of a legalistic environment, if one strays from the uniformity from these externals, that removal from the uniform code is viewed as a level of “apostasy”, that is to say, if one does not conform to these uniform, external standards, one is considered to have left the faith altogether.

The second mark of legalism: legalism loves lists of carefully crafted rules and very elaborate rituals; rules which go well beyond Scripture and rituals which are never given within Scripture. Legalism creates laws from minute details of behavior and conduct. No personal discernment is required and that is why, in a legalistic environment, personal discernment is not even a goal presented to people to attain because it is not required in a legalistic environment. All of the thinking in regards to the application of Scripture has already been done for one, “Here it is and here is exactly how you apply the Scripture and how you must apply the Scripture in your life.” The rituals in legalism often become very detailed and very elaborate and they are to be performed without any room for deviation with regard to our worship of God.

The third mark of legalism: legalism promotes authoritarianism. It is promoted by people who seek to control and to lord over others. Legalistic leaders lead by force and by threat rather than by love and by service. Such leaders become outraged when their authority is questioned, even in the most humble of ways and they become outraged when their specific demands are not obeyed or submitted to.

The fourth mark of legalism: legalism defines relationships by external law rather than by love. It looses sight of the true core of friendship. Christian friendship and fellowship is based, in the Scripture, upon our union with Jesus Christ and our submission to the Lord Jesus and our conformity to the character of Jesus. This is true fellowship, as the Scripture defines it, is based upon. This is not so in a legalistic context. In a legalistic context relationships are defined upon the basis of externals. If you submit and conform to these externals you are in the group, in the friendship, and in the right relationship. It matters very little what else is happening or not happening in your life as long as you conform and so legalism defines relationships upon manmade rules.

Often, as a result of that, relationships are cut off quickly and callously when manmade rules are not agreed to.

The fifth mark of legalism: legalism devalues joy. There is not a big emphasis upon the spiritual fruit of joy in the Christian life in a legalistic context. Joy is not thought of, in legalistic context, as being a bad thing, but rather it is an optional thing. Joy is viewed with a bit of suspicion. If there is too much joy in a person’s life, then the context of legalism wonders whether or not that person is truly conforming to, as the legalist would say, is required by God.

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, and patience and as Christians joy is not optional for us. If we are pursuing a right relationship with God, joy is an absolute essential for what it means to walk with God and to have life in God.

There is a story of a pastor of years gone by who, one day, found the roads blocked by snow. It was in the day before snow plows and he could not get his horse and carriage through to get to church that day. He put on his skates and skated up the river to get to church. The elders of the church found out their preacher had skated on the Lord’s Day so they decided they were going to have a meeting with this pastor to discuss the matter. He explained to them it was essential for him to be able to get to church, to minister, and preach the Gospel that day. There was much discussion and finally one elder asked, “Pastor, did you enjoy it?” The pastor said, “No, I didn’t enjoy it”, so everything was all right. Such is the context of legalism: did you enjoy it?

Christian liberty does not give us a license to sin, but God has standards for us to live by and we live by them upon the basis of our union with Jesus and not upon the basis of our union with the Law for the Law has no power to give to us and to impart Godliness and life. Only Jesus does and when Jesus does, we so, not begrudgingly or out of necessity, with joy in our heart knowing righteousness is the path of true life. This is why Paul says,

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

As an aside, beloved, it is very important for us to think of our lives and our church with regards to legalism. We can spot it often in others, but we do not spot it in ourselves. As we seek to pass on the precious faith we have in Jesus Christ, it is vital for us to understand legalism sours the faith, and our children, as they grow up in the context of church, will either find a faith which is precious and sweet and life-giving, and say, “I want what my parents have because I find that is the path of joy,” or they will look and say, “That is a sour faith and I gag on it when I tray and drink it,” and they will move away from it altogether. Let us live out our faith in true liberty in Christ and in freedom, knowing Jesus Christ is sufficient in all things.

The souring influence number two is the magnetism of mysticism, as we read about in Verse 18,

18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.

Mysticism is the belief the Christian can and should have direct, immediate experiences with the spiritual realm, usually taking the form of visions, dreams, and internal sensations. Within each of these there is a positive aspect. In legalism there is a positive aspect to want to be righteous and that is a good thing. In mysticism there is a positive aspect to wanting to have an intimate and intense relationship with God, but mysticism rejects God’s means for entering into such a relationship. It rejects the sufficiency of Jesus, God’s Son, as He is revealed in Holy Scripture to us. The only thing we know about Jesus is what is revealed to us about Jesus in the Word, so it is the Word which tells us of Jesus and while we do not worship the Word we recognize the Word is the means by which we come to know this Jesus who is life to ourselves and who provides for us an intimacy with God.

Mysticism rejects the means of Scripture as the way to know God and emphasizes and promotes sensational experience as the dominate means of knowing God. The false teachers in Colosse promoted two mystical aspects to the Christian life. They were saying, “What you are experiencing is really good with Christ, but there is something deeper and more to enter into a whole new plane of walking with God and experiencing God.”

There are two things Paul reveals they emphasized. The first was Christians should seek after a higher spiritual reality by connecting immediately with the spiritual world of angels and the attention to angels. Here, perhaps, rather than worshipping angels they were suggesting the angels could act as intermediaries between them and the spiritual reality of the unseen world, between them and even God Himself, which by the way, is very dominate in secular society and is increasingly becoming a danger in the Christian church as well today.

The second aspect of the mysticism which was attacking the church at Colosse was a promotion of emphasizing sensational visions and dreams people would have which would connect them with God and to help them to see God. They would go into great detail as to what they had seen in their personal visions and they would promote others needed to have these same kinds of experiences of visions and dreams in order to know the reality of the unseen world. Thus, again, by promoting dreams and visions, it removed them from their submission to God’s revelation and will as given to us in the Bible. As a result, Paul said, they were “puffed up” by idol notions and crazy ideas about the “unseen world” and about God because they were looking for their source of knowledge from these mystical experiences.

How serious are the consequences of mysticism? In Verse 19 tells us,

19 He (the mystic) has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Paul is saying, “Do you want to grow in the Christian life? Do not let these mystics sever your connection from the Head.” If you get severed from the Head, which is Jesus, you will be severed from the source of spiritual growth in your life. The consequences of succumbing to the deceptive teaching given here are absolutely deadly to the Christian life. Paul will say again, in Verse 18,

18 Do not let anyone…disqualify you for the prize.

That word is used of one who is a referee in an Olympic game. He is saying these teachers will come along and say, “What you have is fine, but we are going to blow the whistle on you and say you are really disqualified from the real life with God.” Paul is telling them not to let any of these false teachers act as referee because there is only one Referee, Jesus Himself.

The consequences of succumbing to the teaching in regards to mysticism within the Christian life are absolutely grave. Having sensational experiences with the spiritual world, being privy to spiritual wonders and to spiritual secrets world, and of possessing a sensory power common people do not have is a very powerful magnetic force of attraction. To think I might be able to see things no ordinary people can see, that I might be able to experience unseen worlds, that I might not be able to only see God as through a glass darkly in this world, as Scripture says we do, that I can see God like Moses, face-to-face, with an experience right now and not waiting for the Second Coming, and for me to be transferred at my death into that life and into that reality, that is a pretty magnetic attraction to us. If God were to offer that to any of us right now, would we take it? Of course, we would, and that is exactly what these “spiritual” teachers were offering to this young church.

True Christians glory in Jesus as revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Word. True believers are content to abide in Jesus and not into his or her own mystical experiences. Our strength is drawn entirely from Jesus. We will not take our eyes off of Him in order to look at angels, spiritual visions, or any other such thing.

In my estimation there is a growing interest in mysticism among evangelical believers today so I urge and caution you to be aware of the mystic influence in your life. There are five marks of mysticism I wish to draw for you. The first Paul points out is mysticism promotes a false humility. Mystics love to act humble, that is to say, “These visions, these experiences, are not from me. They are from God!” That sounds humble, but what they are saying is, “I have a very direct line to God you do not have.” They may even go so far, in the context of Colosse, to say, “Oh, we are not worthy to go to God directly, but we, instead, have these other intermediaries,” which, in this case, are angels, “and angels have a more direct connection to God, so we are not worthy to go directly to God, but we go to these angels and from them we find out more about God.” Doesn’t that sound humble? It is the epitome of pride and a false humility because it rejects the very thing Jesus Christ came to bring to us and that is a boldness to enter the very thrown room of God Himself through faith in Jesus Christ.

If you were to challenge the validity of the subjective experience of such a mystic, you will quickly find out how false their humility is and they will become outraged at you for questioning the validity of their subjective experience. Friends, do not hold any subjective experience you may have as authoritative. Scripture says, “Test the spirits.”

Secondly, mysticism roots their authority concerning what to believe upon the basis of subjective experiences. How do I know something is true? The Christian mystic wills say, “It is upon the basis of visions and dreams and experiences. This is how I know this is true.” In doing so they remove themselves from the authority of God’s revealed will in the Scripture. God has already revealed His will and His truth to us in the Word of God and He calls us to submit ourselves to the Word of God, but the mystic will not submit to the Word of God, rather they submit to their own experiences.

Their soul becomes informed of spiritual truth, not by careful examination of God’s revelation in the Bible, but by meditation upon their own experience. For instance, if you pick up a book about what Heaven is like and it is not filled with Scripture, doubt everything in it. If it is based upon what a person had when they died or some experience they had when they ascended to Heaven and they talked with God, it is not authoritative truth for us to place our faith in. All Scripture is inspired by God and all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, rebuke, correction, training, and righteousness so the man of God might be thoroughly equipped. Everything we need to know, here in this life, is already given to us in Christ and Christ is revealed to us through His Holy Word.

For the mystic, whatever their experience reveals to them is absolutely true. No other authority can refute it. Scripture will be interpreted only in terms of affirming it.

Third, mysticism is self-authenticating. This is similar to the second mark, but we need to look at it separately. It claims the right to be heard on the basis of experience. “How do I know what I have experienced is true? The answer is: my experience needs no other validation other than my experience. It must be true because this is what was experienced. My own visions, dreams, and mystical experiences are the evidences which are enough for me to root myself in a doctrine, teaching, and an idea.”

Mystical experiences, you must understand, are not unique to Christianity. Go to any other world religion and you will find mystical experiences and the person will say, “This was absolutely real.” That is true today and it was true centuries and millennia ago in the Old Testament times. In Jeremiah 23 we read,

25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?”

Be like the Bereans who, after Paul taught, searched the Scriptures to see if these things were true.

Fourth, mysticism seeks after more intense and fantastic, mystical experiences with the invisible world. It promotes the idea in this world we can see the unseen world and we can connect ourselves to it. These Colossian mystics were urging the believers to a higher grade of intimacy and knowledge through their experiences. In there view there were two kinds of Christians: those who have these experiences and those who do not have these experiences. Those who have these experiences are, necessarily, more spiritual and more intimate in their walk with God than those who do not. Mysticism seeks after experiences as opposed to seeking after Jesus, a life of holiness, a life of worship, and a life of the enjoyment of God Himself.

Fifth, mysticism is often anti-intellectual. Mysticism employs empty meditations without thought. Be careful of anyone who promotes this spiritual discipline in your life and who says, “This is how you are to meditate: you are to clear your mind of everything.” That is not what God’s Word ever said in regard to meditation. It tells us to meditate upon the Word and to fill our minds, not empty them.

It belittles the value of the serious and intense study of the Scripture as being cold and doctrinal, having nothing to do with life. It promotes a fast-track to spiritual maturity through having these experiences. Scripture, instead, says, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who need not be ashamed.”

There is nothing wrong with mystical experiences in and of themselves, but the Bible nowhere teaches us to seek after them. It teaches us to test the spirit to see if they are from God, for as 2 Corinthians 11 tells us,

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

We need to be aware. Why would we go to other sources for the life with God other than Jesus Himself? Jesus Himself is the witness we have for the unseen world. John 8 talks about Jesus being witness to the unseen things,

38 “I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

We have a true Witness and we have a reliable story. Let us be nourished by Him.

The third souring influence is the appeal of asceticism. Asceticism is the belief extreme self-denial accomplishes spiritual vitality. Legalism, mysticism, and asceticism are found within the Christian faith to sour the true faith, but they are also found as key elements of every other world religion, because each of these things takes away from the kernel of truth and life itself. We read of extreme self-denial in Verse 2o through 22,

20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.

The “basis principles of this world” is what is called ascetic philosophy. Paul quotes the false teachers in Verse 21 who say to deny one’s self everything, all of the creature comforts of life, in order to arrive at a higher form of spirituality.

In the mid-evil times, Christianity was gobbled up by asceticism and I again see some of these things emerging within the evangelical community today as we mover further and further away from the Bible as our source of Truth. In mid-evil Christianity some teachers promoted wearing hair shirts without any undergarment. Can you imagine having the hair of an animal rubbing up against your skin all day? They promoted that by saying, “If you do that, that is the way you will become really spiritual because of your discomfort and you will depend upon God.”

In mid-evil Christianity sleeping on hard beds was promoted. That wasn’t for a bad back or because they thought sleeping on a comfortable bed would somehow unspiritual.

They promoted fastings, isolation from other people, whipping themselves, going without sleep, vows of silence, abstinence from marriage or celibacy within marriage, and a host of other denials of the body.

As Christians, we are concerned with a physical discipline which is healthy for our bodies. Many of us, including myself, will eat too much and our bodies suffer for it. We should take care of our bodies, but taking care of our bodies has absolutely nothing to do with having a healthy soul. Through asceticism, by denying our bodies certain things we do not become spiritual. Paul says this teaching does not come from God, but from the basic principles of this world; it is a worldly way to think.

There are three marks of asceticism I want you to observe so you will know it. First, asceticism demands you deny yourself the things God gives you to enjoy. There is nothing wrong to say, “I am choosing not to enjoy certain things so I can set aside some time for God,” but please understand if you do that, that in and of itself does not cause you to become more spiritual than those who do not do that. That is a danger.

You may say, “I am going to fast once a week.” That is great and I am all for fasting, but, beloved, just because you fast does not make you more spiritual than others, and because you do not fast does not make you less spiritual.

Asceticism demands you deny yourself the things God gives you to enjoy. In 1 Timothy 6 says,

17 Command those who are rich in this present world…to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

When we enjoy the things God gives us to His praise and glory that is a part of worship.
Second, asceticism promotes spiritual health through physical denial. Again, in Verse 23 we read,

23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Let us say I take up before you a man and I tell you, “This man is in the thirtieth day of a forty-day fast.” Do you think “spiritual” or “unspiritual”? “This guy has set aside himself for forty days without solid food in order to get close to God.” Do you think “spiritual” or “unspiritual”?

I set up before you another man who has chosen to wear a green tie rather than a red tie. Do you think “spiritual” or “unspiritual”? You look at him and say, “That has nothing to do with it!” That is the point! It is not wrong in itself and it is not right in itself. There is liberty in Christ. What matters is what has happened on the inside with our relationship with God. Don’t get me wrong, green ties are nice (laughter) but it does not make us spiritual.

Asceticism equates spiritual discipline with spiritual progress: if you read your Bible, you go to church every Sunday, and you pray every morning you must be spiritual. Friends, it is the grace which causes us to grow in Christ.

Do not let your Christian go sour. Legalism takes our desire for a righteous life and it sours it. Mysticism takes our desire for a warm intimacy with God and sours it. Asceticism takes our desire for a disciplined life before God and sours it. The only safety for our soul lies in a life which glories in Jesus and His cross. All of the fullness is found in Jesus and praise God it is so. Let no one take your eyes off of Jesus and onto these other things. It is in Jesus we find forgiveness of sins. It is in Jesus we find a righteousness which makes us qualified for Heaven. It is in Jesus we find a transformed heart which changes our very inner desires. It is in Jesus we have an intimacy with God. It is in Jesus we enjoy God forever, and ever, and ever. To know Jesus is our daily passion.