By Anthony Casperson
Recently, I was having a conversation with one of the players for whom I Dungeon Master in D&D. He was trying to figure out how to best play out his character’s previous life of rebellion with their relatively recent choice to become a paladin. There are a lot of rough edges…and that’s for an inquisitor!
He began to wonder whether through seeing others become redeemed that his character could realize their own need for redemption. As the DM, this had been my hope for his character as he’s been building them.
You see, the Aspect (read, “denomination”) to which his character belongs highly values the journey to truth. They desire to worship Elsus (the singular God of the world) through the act of discovery. They prefer to not give every answer, but rather let the worshipper continue to ask questions so that they can grow in their trust of Elsus to reveal the truth in his time. The journey to discovery of truth being just as important as the truth thus discovered.
For the player’s character, this is important because it allows their time in rebellion to be a part of the process in finding a proper relationship with Elsus. But as the player and I continued talking, the conversation went somewhere even more interesting.
Being a follower of Jesus is more than just having all of the right answers. More than doing all the right things for all the right reasons. It’s about having a relationship with God. Now, that might sound trite because a lot of followers of Jesus talk about having a relationship with him. But, think about what a relationship really is.
It’s a journey shared with another. It’s sharing present experiences, sharing your past, sharing your dreams for the future. It’s a journey of revealing who you are with another. You reveal your hopes, your fears, your secrets. It’s a journey of discovery. While interacting with another, you discover who you truly are, who they are as a person, and what in you could change.
Yes, God calls us to grow in him. Yes, he wants us to understand his ways. Yes, he desires that we become holy as he is holy. But when we focus only on the end result of maturity in Christ, we miss out on the discoveries that come along with a relationship with God.
The journey to discover the truth of God is just as important as the truth thus discovered. If God only cared that we had all of the right answers, he could just download them into us when the Holy Spirit enters. If he only cared that we did the right things, he could overwrite our sinful nature the second we choose to follow him.
But he doesn’t do that. Why? God is interested in us as people journeying with him in this life and letting us discover his truth in his time. God made humanity to be traveling companions with him. And to reveal himself more deeply as we journey together.
Look at the way that Jesus interacted with his followers. Why did Jesus need the Twelve? Why did he have these friends and co-workers? Was it because he needed bodyguards to keep the crowds off of him? No. Was it because he needed assistants to keep his schedule straight? No. Was it because he couldn’t do the whole ministry by himself? No. (Though he did use them to minister, that was not the reason.)
Jesus called the Twelve to walk beside him in relationship. So that they could journey with him and discover him. Not discover the fact that he was the Messiah, or that he was God in human flesh, but that they could discover him. The journey of being with Jesus brought growth that couldn’t have come in any other way.
And the same is true for us. We followers of Jesus are on a journey of discovery. We discover more of who Jesus is, who we are, and what it means to be in relationship with him. That doesn’t mean that the end result of maturity in Christ, or our sinless perfection of eternity aren’t important. But it does mean that our journey is important too.
Are we trying to skip to the end? Or are we willing to discover the beauty of the journey?