Monthly Archives: January 2011
I believe Paul wrote this down as a profound encouragement…
“Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now” [1 Cor. 13:12, NLT].
I want to point out a few things:
- we know imperfectly
- we will soon know with perfect clarity
- perfect clarity = the same way God knows us (everything)
What this is implying, is that no matter how close and personal you and I may get to God in this life, there is always more! We should be on a constant drive for more of the inexhaustible beauty and presence of God, knowing that the more we experience of Him, the more there is to be had and enjoyed!
A.W. Tozer put it best,
“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.”
1 (theology) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
2 (christianese explained) when God in His reckless and bizarre compassion effectively turns you back from the destructive course you keep choosing, and opens your eyes to the pleasure of His infinite worth, without which you would be enticed by something else.
Religiousity can be described as holding a standard to achieve, without also having the power, ability, or true desire to ever reach it. This can plague us on a variety of different fronts:
- In our body…
“This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8).
We have all the outward showings, but nothing changes inside.
- In our behavior…
“For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers” (Luke 11:46).
We can’t help other people achieve what we cannot even achieve!
- In our beliefs…
“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people’” (Luke 18:11).
In our religious world, the only way to feel great about our emptiness, is to compare it to the faults of others.
These are similar to the way my older cousins used to put their hand on my head when I was small, provoking me to swing at them, but never letting me get close. The result was fatigue, frustration, and disappointment. So also, religion parades under the fake reward of a righteous feeling that it will never be able to supply you, and the result of living in religion is fatigue, frustration, and disappointment.
The Gospel frees you from trying to perform like a hamster on an exercise ball. It’s good news that Jesus performed perfectly on your behalf. The joy of knowing this should fuel our hearts to live like Jesus, and yet relieve the burden of trying to reach some impossible goal.
Jesus paid it all. All that is left for us is the enjoyment of following after Him.
Look at the disciple’s reaction to Jesus’ normal missional life…
His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman (John 4:27)
The disciples might have initially been put off by the radical nature of Jesus’ specific mission (to the Samaritan woman), but eventually, He would rub off on them…
- Peter heals a woman (Acts 9:40)
- Philip goes to Samaria (Acts 8:5)
- Peter and John go to Samaria (Acts 8:14; Acts 15:3)
- Paul initiates a woman named Lydia into a movement that would flood a Roman colony with revival (Acts 16:14)
Is there an outcast in your sphere of influence that would provoke other Christians to flee? Are we loving them radically?