Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jesus Who?

"... the Jesus of some of our churches, denominations, family, and friends may not be able to deliver us, heal us, and stun us with amazing feats, but the Jesus of Scripture can." (Beth Moore in Beloved Disciple)

I've spent the past several months thinking about Jesus. That makes sense, right? And besides, it's my job. I am one of the "religious professionals." Of course I'm thinking about Jesus. But what do I really think about him? That question has captured my heart. I have been convicted of acting as if, in the words of J. B. Phillips, my God is too small.

Bob Luhn was (and is) the pastor of my home church through high school, and he preached a sermon I'll never perfectly remember, but will also never forget. He talked about "If I Really Believed...," giving example after example after example of how his and other Christians' actions too often reflect belief in a little god, far different than the God we profess. If I really believed in God's goodness, I would allow peace to replace anxiety in my mind. If I really believed in God's power, I would do what I can to improve the situations I face and simply trust God for the rest. If I really believed God's instruction to obey the authorities, I would make a habit of driving the speed limit. If I really believed God's grace, I would forgive people who hurt me. If I really believed God listens when I pray, I would remain in constant, personal communication with God. If I really believed God is faithful, I would know that He'll watch over me in the future as He has in the past. I've been thinking about Pastor Bob's words for about eighteen years now. How often do I allow my human fears and my human self-reliance to pull me away from God's real self, exchanging it instead for a poor imitation?

Is your God too small? Have you settled for a cheap caricature, or are you experiencing the true God -- holy, wise, just, merciful, all-knowing, the definition of love, completely faithful, full of grace -- that we meet in the pages of scripture?

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