Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From a Glass Half-Empty to Overflowing

I have the gift of seeing what's wrong with things. It's actually a curse, or part of it. But it's true, there is something wrong with most everything. Why? Because we live in a less-than-perfect world. Let's be honest.

To make things worse, we live in a world filled with self-important people who are dedicated to telling us how wonderful they are, or how wonderful their products are. They populate the most coveted positions of business and politics, areas of influence in educational institutions, and sometimes the house next door. They consistently hide the truth from us about their limitations and shortcomings. I call them liars.
In a less-than-perfect world, it would be good to limit the hyperbole, the exaggeration. It just is not believable. It makes people not want to listen to anyone. Tone it down. Tell the truth, the whole truth. And just so you know, I do the same thing. I often fail see what's wrong in me. I have way too high an opinion of myself.

But the point of this essay is this: there is a Person about whom we can talk concerning whom hyperbole is impossible. There is a Subject of which it would be unthinkable to exaggerate. The Person is Jesus, and the Subject is the Salvation which He introduces.

There is nothing wrong with Jesus. He is perfect. He has never done anything imperfect. He defines perfection. And the salvation that He introduces to this world is complete and perfect, so much so that we cannot imagine it. Our minds, which are less-than-perfect, cannot conceive of such perfection. 1 Corinthians 2:9 quotes loosely from Isaiah 64, and describes "Things which eye has not seen and hear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him."

So here is my confession: the person who can see what is wrong with most everything (other than in himself) does not give nearly enough credit to God for doing everything right. No, not just right. He does all things magnificently, wondrously, and with absolute perfection. We cannot think thoughts too exceedingly high, nor speak words too exceptionally noble, of this God and His Son, Jesus Christ, or of the wonders of His plan and design.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who is Breaking Your Heart?

No one? Really? No one at all? Then I'm afraid that you are not involved in ministry.

You may be a busy, productive person. You may be social and friendly and well-connected. But that is not the same as ministry.

You may be part of a church, and you may actually be busy and active in that faith community. But nonetheless, if no one is breaking your heart, I suspect that you are not involved in ministry.

Ministry is defined by loving relationships with sinners for the sake of the Savior. And every time that you truly love a sinner, and you come up against the stubbornness of sin, it breaks your heart. Oh, it will make you mad. And at times you will become self-righteous. But, as you come to your senses, that you remember that you yourself are a sinner as well, it will break your heart.

So if you are doing all sorts of good things, but your heart is not broken, humbly repent of the protective cocoon into which you have crawled. And come on out here, where the sinners are. Love them, for the sake of Christ.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blessed Trinity

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”
(2 Corinthians 13:14 NAS95)

The subject of the Trinity in Scripture is not so much taught as inferred. As we read through the pages of God’s unfolding drama of redemption, we see the Three Persons of the Trinity in communication and cooperation with one another. Centuries of reflection on the biblical testimony have agreed that these Three Persons are equal, and yet they have differing roles. Here we are, finite persons, our only field of experience being relationships between finite humans, seeking to explain relationships between infinite Persons. Our minds and language are inadequate, but it is nonetheless part of our worship. We are humbled and overwhelmed as we approach this subject.

So it is with humility, and a little embarrassment that I offer this illustration of the Trinity. Think of a paint color chart; a gallon of paint, and a paintbrush.

In the mind of the Father exists the most beautiful color ever conceived. Its beauty is beyond anything we have ever seen. We do not know its name.

The Father was pleased to “show off” this divine color in the context of His creation. He sent the Son, the manifestation of this heavenly beauty, now visible to men, and given a name, Jesus.

But paint in a can is not the intended end result of what God desires. The Spirit now applies this heavenly beauty that has come to earth in substance to the lives of those who have come into relationship with God through Jesus Christ. They are changed and covered, so that they resemble more and more the hue of heaven as opposed to the grimy grayness of earth.

So to know God, know Jesus. And to know Jesus, accept Him, that His Spirit might apply His beauty to your life.