By Os Hillman
“I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and make you like a warrior’s sword.” - Zechariah 9:13b
In the third and fourth centuries followers of Socratic teaching and other Greek scholars began to influence the Church in ways that were different from the Hebraic roots of the early Church. The Greek influence appeals more to the intellect, whereas the early-Church Hebraic model appealed to the heart. The Greek influence resulted in more emphasis on oratory skills and cognitive knowledge of God. Over the many centuries, this influence has shown itself in a more programmatic approach to the gospel rather than a process of living out our faith. So why is it important for us to understand this?
I realized in my own life that I was a product of this Greek system. My walk with Christ focused more on what I knew rather than on an intimate and powerful walk with God. Knowledge without power to express the life within is of little value. The more programmatic the focus, the less emphasis we place on building deep and caring relationships that result in changed lives. Our early Church fathers knew there was a cost to living out the Word of God, not simply giving mental assent to it.
Are you walking with God today in an intimate fellowship? Or, are you only involved in programs and activities designed to do good things? Reflect on Proverbs 23:12: “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” We must listen and respond with the heart. Whatever service we give to God should be a result of our relationship with our heavenly Father, not an end unto itself.
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