Air1 Radio Features – February 2014
C. S. Lewis on “Jesus As God the Son”
One of the most amazing truths in the Bible is that Jesus Christ is God. What would it be like for God to come to Earth to rescue us? The legendary author, C.S. Lewis, wrote: Jesus, “The Second Person in God, the Son, became human Himself: was born into the world as an actual man… (He is) The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe. (Jesus) became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.” (Mere Christianity) Perhaps the only miracle that compares to God becoming a man is when men and women are born again they too become sons of God.
We represent God to our children; therefore, how we respond to them will likely be interpreted as how God would respond to them. Do our children believe us when we speak, or do they expect us to repeat our words in order to be believed? In time, if we do not mean what we say, they might believe God doesn’t mean what He says. When our children were growing up we trained them to obey us the first time we spoke in a normal voice, without being upset. We did this because we wanted them to obey God the first time He spoke. Sure, in the beginning, it took extra effort. But in the end we had a much more enjoyable relationship with them because their souls were trained. This brought extraordinary peace to both their lives and ours, and still does.
We live in a hyper critical world. It’s easy to find fault…to see what’s wrong in others and even in us. If there were one person who could easily find fault in everyone, it would be God. Yet, He gets far more pleasure covering our sins than fixating on them. The Bible says, because Jesus reconciled us to Himself by His death on the Cross, “As a result, he has brought you into his own presence… you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” (Colossians 1:22, NLT) Wow! Without a single fault! That level of forgiveness is mind blowing. It’s also why later in the same book, Colossians, the Bible says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13, NLT)
What is the most prevalent hatred on Earth? Would it surprise you if I said it was self-hatred? How many people wake up and go to bed disliking, belittling, and even hating themselves—wishing they were someone else, unable to get past a deep-seated regret, past sin, or personal flaw. If we focus more on what we’re not, than who we are in Christ, then we’ll always feel our lack more than His love for us. The Bible says the love of Jesus covers a multitude of sins. God even places them in the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered (Micah 7:18-19). Today, receive the complete forgiveness God is offering you. Accept that if a perfect God can love you, imperfections and all, then seeing your life from His perspective will make all the difference in how you see yourself.
Hell and Judgment
Our attempt to make God appear more kind by never mentioning Hell or judgment actually makes Him less loving. The depth of Christ’s love for us can only be seen in light of the extent of His suffering. The judgment He endured by becoming sin for us, dying an excruciating death, and then going to Hell in our place is the clearest demonstration of the depth of His love. If we didn’t deserve to receive the wrath that Jesus suffered on our behalf, then we have nothing to repent of, and no reason to receive Him as our Savior and Lord. I will always deserve to go to Hell, but by the grace and mercy of God I am not going. If there is no Hell, then Heaven is merely a pleasant option for nice people.
There’s never been an age that provides contact with a wider assortment of people, while simultaneously fostering a shallower connection. We’re becoming masters of disconnected communication. I know about you, but I don’t really know you. Fragments of fractured information provide a shadow of our actual persona. Faster, briefer, more impressionistic social mediums are in vogue. One of them, Snapchat, is a photo messaging app that allows users to set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps: from one to ten seconds, after which they are hidden and deleted; thus requiring even less responsibility for our words and actions. Jesus suggested a deeper, more lasting way to connect, “This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.” (John 15:11-15, The Message)
Walk By The Easy Button
A friend of mine wrote a wonderful post. He said, “I have found in life, that nearly 100% of the time, the difficult choice in a given situation is the most the godly one. It has proven to be the difference between living my life as a peacemaker vs. being a peacekeeper. Too often, “difficult and hard” are synonymous with “bad” in our society, when in reality the exact opposite is true. Hard choices are good for the soul, and ultimately build the character of Christ in us. I’m in process, as are the rest of us on this Earth, and in my frailty I don’t get it right every time. But, there is a principle I endeavor to live by: ‘walk by the easy button of life without giving it a second look!’”
Our Worst Moments
How many of us would like others to think of us in terms of our most selfish moments? Not me! How many would like God to think of us in terms of our most selfish moments? Definitely, not me! How many of us would say we have significantly changed since our most selfish moments? By the grace of God, absolutely! So, we shouldn’t think of others in terms of their worst moments. Where they once were may not at all be where they are today. We should all learn to forgive the selfishness of others, because that’s what Jesus did for us. The Message Bible says, “Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
I love this quote by Jefferson Bethke. “Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn’t yours.” We live in a culture with all kinds of concepts about dating. I believe a single person should treat others the same way they would like someone else to treat their sister or brother. This is really an extension of the golden rule that Jesus proclaimed: “…as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31, ESV) No one wants to be used. We all want to be treated with respect and valued for who we are, not for what we can do for someone else. This is a great principle to follow, not just when dating, but in all relationships.
Nibbling Around the Edges
Is there a secret to God transforming a life? I believe there is. God says, “…you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 19:13, NKJV) In my 41 years of following Jesus, the people I’ve witnessed getting truly free are those who recognize they needed God in a heavier dose than ever before. They didn’t nibble around the edges. Though it’s understandable, and even for a season reasonable, if that’s as far as a person goes (nibbling around the edges) they’ll never really get to know God, they’ll never really get healed, and they’ll never find the peace God promises and they long for. Only the fully abandoned—fully open the gifts God has for them. Jesus, today I am seeking You with all of my heart!
A young mother in our church family was stricken with cancer. She and her husband hunkered down to fight, and their relationship with God went to a new level. Completely out of character with their personalities, they began worshipping at the front of the room, beyond the chairs, practically on the stage. They worshipped with abandon, hands raised, side-by-side, all in. It was beyond exhilarating to watch. It was divine! They weren’t just reaching out to God; they had found God in the middle of their struggle. They weren’t pleading; they were embracing…hugging God with all their might. They’d come to realize they were made for worship, to worship. This continued after the criticalness of the hour had subsided, and even continued when the criticalness of the hour returned. They had come to a new level and they weren’t going back.
Change, God’s Way
Do you think of “change” as a dirty word, or do you regard it as a lifeline to God’s will and a marvelous future? The Bible calls God’s version of change: “repentance.” When thinking of repentance, many people believe it means “turning from sin,” but this is not the biblical definition of repentance. In God’s Word, “repent” means, “to change one’s mind,” and always results in a change of action. Paul the Apostle declared, “I preached that (people) should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” (Acts 26:20, NIV) So, when should we repent, that is, “change our minds?” How about every day? Every day is a perfect time to repent, to change our minds and actions, and when that happens, OUR best hopes are at last aligned with GOD’S best hopes for us.