Friday, August 24, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Body Image or Soul Image?

A follow-up on that last post

Take something about your appearance that bugs you.

Your weight, your looks, some other “body image” issue…

How much do these issues consume your thoughts? How much do you think about and long for change and improvement?

Okay. We all do it. Men and women alike. The question I’m asking is how much more ought the misshapenness of your soul consume your thoughts and prayers?

You might obsess about your weight and the dieting you need to do to look the way you want to look. Why do you not obsess about the obesity of your soul that runs to food instead of Jesus to find comfort, security, etc.?
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "… the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
You might obsess with working out and eating healthy (I’m all for working out and eating healthy, by the way!). Why do you not obsess with training your soul – eyes on the Forerunner – to run the race set before you with endurance?
1 Timothy 4:7-8train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
You might obsess with your appearance, spending lots of time at clothing stores and in front of the mirror. Why do you not obsess with what you really look like, in the mirror of the Word, and with donning the truly beautiful clothing that ought to adorn your life?
Romans 13:14put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
1 Timothy 2:9-10women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness--with good works.
1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear--but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
1 Peter 5:5Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Lord, help us to walk by faith and not by sight…so we can see who we really are and what we really need, and pursue conformity to the beautiful image of Christ!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What Are You Most Ashamed Of? Or... What About Yourself Do You Most Want to Change?

Puritan writer and pastor Abraham Wright (1611–1690):
Many are ashamed to be seen as God made them;
few are ashamed to be seen what the devil hath made them.
Many are troubled at small defects in the outward man;
few are troubled at the greatest deformities of the inward man;
many buy artificial beauty to supply the natural;
few spiritual, to supply the defects of the supernatural beauty of the soul.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hermeneutics At Home (Or, What Andre The Giant Has To Do With Matthew 17:20)

At dinner two nights ago: 

Sam: Dad, I have a question about a verse.

Dad: Great! I love questions like that, buddy! I’m glad when you are thinking about what you’ve read and asking questions.

Sam: Actually, I didn’t read it. I was listening to the Seeds Music [editorial note: highly recommended!] and the verse is in one of the songs. You know, the song that says, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, or you can say to this tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey.”

Dad: I see. Yes, I know that song.

Sam: Well, I went outside and told a tree to be uprooted and planted in the sea. … And nothing happened. (not in childishly na├»ve or worried way, but in more a curious, quizzical, maybe even slightly indignant way) I believed that it would! Do I not have a mustard seed of faith?

Dad: Well, that’s one possibility. The other possibility is that the mountain and the tree are met…

Sam: That’s what I was thinking – that they’re more metaphorical.

Dad: So what do you think the point of the verse is? (pause) Is it possible to move a mountain or uproot a tree with words?

Sam: No. ... But nothing is impossible with God!

Dad: You’re right. But what do you think is the point of that verse?

Sam: I want you to tell me, Dad.

Dad: I want you to think about it. Let me ask it this way. Do you think the point of the verse is: If you have really, really, Olympic-strong faith, then you can do anything! You can tell this mountain to move and you can say to this tree be uprooted and it will obey, IF your faith is strong enough! Do you think that’s the point?

Sam: No.

Dad: So what do you think the point is? Where do you think the focus is? Is it on the strength of your faith?

Sam: No.

Dad: Then where’s the focus? (pause) Let me ask it this way, if the focus isn’t on the strength of your faith, then where is the emphasis?

Sam: On the strength of Jesus?

Dad: Yes! In what way?

Sam: I don’t know! That’s why I’m asking you!

Dad: How about this – If the focus is not on the strength of your faith, isn’t it on the strength on the one in whom you trust? The focus is not on the strength of your faith, but on the strength of the object of your faith.

Sam: (smile starts to break out at “the object of…”) Ohhh… Yeah!

Dad: Think about it this way. If I ask Jono to move fifteen 200 pound rocks for me while I’m gone at work, and I really believe he can do it, what will I find when I get home?

Sam: The rocks will all still be in the same place.

Dad: But what if I really, really, really believe that he can really do it?!

Sam: (smile)

Dad: What if I ask Andre the Giant (assuming he was still alive) to move those fifteen 200 pound rocks for me while I’m gone at work? And, what if I’m not really sure he can do it. What will I find?

Sam: The rocks will all be moved – no problem.

Dad: Pretty encouraging that the focus is not on the strength of our faith, but on God’s strength, huh? All we need is small, weak, (but genuine) faith. And the impossible can happen. Not because of our strength, but because of God’s. Pretty encouraging, huh, that you don’t have to have Olympian faith in order for God to use you in powerful ways?

Sam: Yeah. (smile)