The informal meaning of “When Push Comes to Shove” is when one must commit oneself to an action or decision. “Sink or Swim” also comes to mind. I’m sure there are others.
Every once in a while I receive a question about Christianity from someone who has stumbled upon my blog. If it is a sincere question, an honest inquiry, I try to answer it. Sometimes the question only serves as a lead-in so that the person who submitted the question can then demonstrate their superior knowledge and intellect and ridicule my faith and beliefs. It’s not difficult to determine what kind of inquiry I have before me. Their response to my initial response to their question usually illustrates the motive behind the question. And in the big scheme of things, that’s all fine. I get it that some people enjoy demeaning others. I try my best not to jump onto the same band wagon.
There are a number of scriptures in the Bible that deal with getting involved in “disputes” that I have to remind myself of infrequently. A short selection of some of these verses follows:
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Tim 3:2-5)
“But shun profane and idle babbling, for they will increase to more ungodliness.” (2 Tim 2:16)
“Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.” (2 Tim 2:23)
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6 NIV)
Key words are “turn away“, “shun“, “avoid” and “do not“. In these four quoted verses, three of which are authored by the Apostle Paul to Timothy and the latter by Jesus Himself, to His followers, one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to get the general drift.
If one seriously looks into the wonder and order of the universe, the uniqueness of our solar system, the intricate balance of our planet, the complexity of the “simple cell” and the information contained within DNA, it doesn’t take too long before most people come to the conclusion that this couldn’t possibly have all happened by sheer undirected chance.
Psalm 19:1 NIV “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Sure, you’ll find some very learned people who deny God exists, who say it all just happened by itself and originated from nothing. You’ll also find some very learned people who say exactly the opposite. Short story is you have to take the time to examine the evidence and make a decision for yourself. There are opposing views, different perspectives have to be looked at, then you make your decision.
Then you have the different world religions including Judaism and Christianity. Judaism gives us the Old Testament and Christianity gives us the New Testament. Please note that the New testament is rooted in the Old Testament. Once again you’ll find some very learned people who say that the records of the Old Testament and the New testament are all rubbish, stories written by men, unworthy of consideration. Conversely you’ll find other very learned people who say exactly the opposite. Even here there are opposing views, both sides have to be looked at, then you make your decision.
When I was first exposed to Christianity, I had never read through the New Testament and was only vaguely familiar with some of the Old Testament stores such as Noah and the Ark. I had never really considered who Jesus was and what He actually said. I had heard things, maybe even believed that there may be a God, but I had no clue as to what it really was all about.
Another common expression is that “the proof is in the pudding”. The general meaning behind that expression is that you can only judge the quality of something after you have tried, used, or experienced it.
Many years ago, after asking God to reveal Himself to me, where upon the next day He had one of the leaders of a Christian Youth Group on the military base that I was stationed at, sit down beside me, I eventually decided to actually read the New Testament. I considered the words and testimony of Jesus and His disciples. I even decided to read the Old Testament. Of course, once again you encounter those who throw the authenticity of the Old and New Testaments into question but you will also encounter, if you look at both sides, those who validate the Bible’s authenticity. These are very learned men and women, on both sides, with opposing perspectives. The Old and New testaments have been around and highly esteemed for a long long time. There’s a good reason for that.
Then there’s the actual words that Jesus spoke, his teachings and his message. If you really take them to heart, you’re going to come to a place where you have to make a decision about who Jesus is and how He relates to you. That is where I came to a place where I mentally acknowledged who He was and why I needed to accept Him for who He is. It’s called head knowledge. Some people stay there, accepting Jesus for who He is without actually seeking His guidance and direction on a day to day basis, which is what I did for a long time. Of course, there are others who reject what Jesus said and will not acknowledge who He is. Once again, you have to take the time to actually read and consider what He said to actually make an informed decision on who He is. There are opposing perspectives, and head knowledge only takes you so far and differs greatly from heart knowledge. Think of it as entering into a house and there is a hallway and you are in a room in that hallway. Then you hear a knock on your door, but you don’t open the door. Head knowledge just gets you into the hallway, you know Jesus is at your door but you haven’t opened that door and let Him in to where you live.
Revelation 3:20 NIV “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Heart knowledge takes what you have in your head, into your heart. It’s where life lessons necessitate the transfer of His sovereignty to your whole being. Head knowledge keeps you in the driver’s seat, heart knowledge puts Jesus there. This is a biggie. And it’s really at the core of everything that Jesus had to say. There are many who never make it to the heart transfer place. It’s not easy, it can be extremely difficult because in essence, Jesus asks that the “I” in us is willing to become transformed into His likeness. And most people never appreciate how difficult that is until they actually try it. This transformation is progressive, it takes time and it is where God reveals of Himself in ways that he who is just questioning and he who has only head knowledge can never comprehend. Being in the presence of God is just plain beautiful.
Jesus doesn’t want your head (part of you), He wants your heart (all of you), that’s the long and the short of it. Of course, there are some who try and then walk away and there are some who just say no and others who keep going.
Matthew 7:14 NIV “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
This life that we have been given is about decisions. The decision we make about God’s existence determines what happens next. Do we want to know Him or do we not. If we honestly want to know Him, He will respond to our questions and hearts desire. If we don’t want to know Him, then He will basically leave us on our own, as we ourselves have chosen. My journey began many years ago when I asked God to reveal Himself to me because I wanted to know if He was there. He responded to me and He will respond to you if what you ask of Him is sincere. And if you don’t want to find Him, you won’t.
John 20:24-29 NIV “Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. He rose again from the dead for our sanctification and our justification. He is our righteousness. He is the way, the truth and the life. No, I haven’t seen Him but I believe.
When push comes to shove, I believe God exists, when push comes to shove, I believe the testimony of the Old and New Testaments and when push comes to shove, I believe Jesus is who He said He is. And that my friend, is where, the journey He asks us to walk in, truly begins.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!