It has become incredibly easy for us to hear a lot about God but to miss out on the joyous reality of actually knowing God intimately. We’re busy people with saturated lives and crammed schedules. While our souls yearn for that depth and relationship with our Creator, we often settle for the quick and convenient. But that’s not nourishing, and now many of us are feeling the side-effects of an impoverished spiritual diet. Those small-bites of rushed theology don’t always lead to deep and steadfast roots. Whether you’re a grandparent and nearing retirement or a young 22-year-old about to graduate and step into the world, what connects us all, personally and practically, is a spiritual hunger for intimacy with our Creator God. To know and be known by Jesus. We want more.
So when we’re asked why our team at Passion City Church would craft an opportunity like CORE with these nine unique and purposed courses focused on practical theological discipleship, that’s our reason: to help address that spiritual hunger and to foster moments where we can all go deeper and grow in maturity. We see this as immensely valuable because we know that when intentional investment takes place, Christ receives more glory, you receive more joy and satisfaction that transforms your everyday life, and the Church as a whole more fully accomplishes its purpose and mission here on Earth.
I believe that there is no greater calling for the life of a man or woman following Jesus Christ than to fall ever more in love with His person and work and to find our fullest satisfaction in Him. When we do this, we foster a deeper understanding of theology, which then translates to an enriched and more consistent lifestyle of worship. As we grow in this knowledge, we begin to more practically live out our affections for Jesus, which brings Him more glory.
In the book of Job, after experiencing devastation on a titanic level, Job cries out in anguish as he thinks of the holiness and purity of an undefiled and righteous God. How can we, as sinful and impure people, ever stand before this God? At the height of his desperation, Job says in chapter 9:33 that “there is no arbiter between us (God and man), who might lay his hand on us both.”
Today, there is such an arbiter. What Job once longed for has come to be a reality in the person of Jesus. As such, Jesus is infinitely worthy of our affection, our intellect, and our labor. Both Son of Man and the Son of God, our faithful high priest forever, the propitiation for our very record of sin, Jesus has changed everything. He has put his hands on both our brokenness and God’s wholeness and He has rectified in his unique person the shortcomings of a sinful people and a perfect God. This is why in Him, the fullness of deity is pleased to dwell (Col 1:19).
If our greatest calling is to deepen our love and satisfaction in the person of Jesus, we must then be intentional in our pursuit of being so conformed to His image. Though saved by no merit of our own, we are, each individually, “to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (Eph 4:15). Therefore, we would do well to aim our entire lives towards the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4:13)
As the Apostle Paul makes clear in Ephesians 4:11-16, we choose to press on, to train for such godliness for two distinct reasons, one personal and one collective. First, we should aim to deepen our affections for Jesus because there are real, deceitful schemes that work to steal our glory from Jesus. If we truly see Jesus as all-deserving, and if we truly believe that our greatest satisfaction comes the more we glorify in Christ, we must be incited by any such attempt of thievery. We, therefore, aim to become more like Jesus because it gives Him more glory and consequently, it gives us more goodness.
The second reason we aim to grow into the full measure of the stature of Christ, becoming like Him through the transformation of our mind and spirit is for the sake of the collective body of Christ. We see in Ephesians 4:16 that the body of Christ is meant to build itself up in love. However, that outcome of a thriving, blossoming Jesus-loving Church is only possible “when each part is working properly.” We are the parts of the body, the joints, and ligaments as Paul repeats in Colossians 2:19. Our individual proper functioning is implicitly related to the collective purpose and assignment of the Church as a whole. When we are mature, we work properly, through which Christ builds the church up in love.
So again, we return to our original premise: Why did we find it important to craft an opportunity like CORE, where you can be challenged and grow more mature in Christ? Where parents and teachers and professionals and men and women from all ages and all walks of life can come and be satisfied in their search for a rich, intimate relationship with the God of all creation?
Because like Paul taught the Ephesians, we believe fully in the value of the glory of Jesus. We believe all glory should go to Christ for his work of putting his hands on both humanity and God. But we also believe fully in the maximization of your satisfaction, in helping you find your truest and most fulfilling joy in this life. A deep, soul-abiding walk with God isn’t cheap or lightweight. It’s an anchor, a ballast, a source of great peace and security in every season. And then lastly, we believe in the purpose and success of the local Church, that we are meant to, through the love of Jesus, build the body up and out, into our neighborhoods, into our cities, and into our nations.
We’d love to invite you to join us at an upcoming CORE class and to experience this transformational and enriching growth yourself. You can find more information about how to join and what classes we are offering at passioncitychurch.com/everybody/core.