What It’s All About

It’s all about God.

But that doesn’t really help me understand my place in it all. The reality, or at least how it helps me to perceive it, is to realize that it’s all about what kind of person I am going to be.

I was created in God’s image…just how much like Him am I going to be? It’s up to me, I’ve realized. It’s up to you; it’s up to us, you see.

All of us mar His image in us; none of us can leave it intact or grow to reflect Him accurately (depending on your position on original sin). But having accepted His Son’s costly gift so freely given, what’s left is for me to live out the reality of both 1) who I was created to be, and 2) who it has been declared that I am.

This is important stuff, you see, I have to teach my children what it’s all about. Because I’ve been trying to figure it out for the past 18 years very specifically, and more generally for the last 21, and in a much more unspecific manner, for the last 32 years (I’m 36, about to turn 37).

Somehow, in 36 years of sermons, sunday school lessons, bible classes, bible college, christian university and higher education I missed what it’s all about. I don’t think I missed it actually, because I’ve been paying peculiarly attentive attention.

One thing that encourages me greatly is that over the last year or so I’ve begun realizing the deeper significance of truths I was taught at a very young age. It is enormously refreshing to realize that it’s not new, arcane, long-hidden truths that I need, but a better understanding of those I was taught from a very young age.

My dad taught Romans to the 3rd grade class at Roanoke Baptist School. To this day, I’ve not read nor heard better fundamental explanations of Paul’s magnum opus than those my father shared with us at age 8.

But I think my teachers (my parents included) were teaching me truths that they didn’t fully comprehend. They called these things true but did not understand their significance…so how could they pass that along?

The law, the prophets, the psalms, the gospels, the epistles—they’re all there to help us choose to be like God. Am I going to keep my word? Am I going to love my neighbor? How about the neighbor that is different than me? How about the neighbor that interprets the Bible differently than I do? Am I going to take care of my family? Am I going to work diligently? Will I add beauty or ugliness to this world? Will I be like my Father in Heaven? Will I be like His only Son?

What choices will I make? Who I am is the sum of the choices I make. Each single, solitary right choice makes me different from the moment before—more like my Father.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

– The Apostle Paul, Ephesians 5:1 (ESV)

Idols & the Image of God

The Hebrew treated the idol-maker as a murderer and stoned the life out of him.

Would that we had such a hatred of idols. For what is an idol other than anything that replaces God in our affections; anything upon which we place our hope other than Him.

This hatred of making false images of God was in reality due to the dim unexpressed consciousness that there could be no image of God until God Himself gave that image;

Conscious that we were made in His image, we also recognized that this image was marred. Our hope then was in the “Anointed One” who would come and bear the perfect image of all that we hope for and in.

or to put it in our own religious language, they had some faint conception of the truth that they would be given a great Sacrament of God. For what we mean by Sacrament is an outward sign, apprehensible by the senses, of an inward verity, which is actually there, and that inward Reality is God.[1]

[1] W.H.G. Holmes, The Presence of God (London: SPCK, 1923), 36.

Life is Not Fair

All of us probably remember a specific moment from our childhood when some adult told us, “Life is not fair.” Most of us decided that was the way of the world and we better get used to it. A few of us, reject that reality and become somewhat awkward to be around.

Too often we teach our children coping mechanisms. The world is not fair so get used to it, prepare yourself to be disappointed, and then when the inevitable injustice happens it won’t disturb you so much. Very practical but not very Christian.

The problem with remaining indignant that the world is not fair is that it means you become sort of a walking wounded. Hmm…who does that remind me of? The permanent incarnation of Messiah is a man with wounds in his wrists and feet. A man who wept when his friend Lazarus died—even though he knew that in mere moments Lazarus would rise from the dead.

I’ve decided not to teach my kids to accept that the world is not fair. Obviously, I must teach them to acknowledge reality, but there is a more profound truth, the ultimate reality, the destiny of the world to come. The world is meant to be fair; injustice is not God’s design, nor His desire, and we are tasked with partnering with God in the repair of this world. Here’s to justice!!!

May I be a just servant, a just husband, a just father, a just pastor, a just friend, may my hope never flag, my faith never fail, may I be like my Father in Heaven. May His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!