This is absolutely not the first time this comparison, illustration, analysis, has been drawn.
But it’s certainly a testament to how counter-cultural the ways of God are.
In pagan myths and legends worldwide, the power and deity of the gods was demonstrated in their immortality. The proof that they weren’t hoaxes, was by the strength of their blood — no one could spill it.
During the first century when the Greek and Roman pantheons were of great cultural significance… the one who was (and is) a true God did the exact thing that — if he were a pagan god — was not to be done. And he did it willingly!
An unscathed god was meant to be a display of power, the crucified One was true proof of His.
For what god is a god if he is afraid of death? Or nervous around it, or would not prefer it?
Christ showed us what He can do. Death did not phase him, He knew he’d be victorious before the battle in the grave had even begun. So confident was he, that he let it happen at every opportunity to save himself.
There was only one thing that made Jesus nervous: His Father’s wrath. This didn’t just psych him out, this was stress to hematidrosis – sweating blood.
If the guy who could crush Death like an insect was stressed out by this, why are we taking it so lightly?
Why do I avoid warning people about this for the sake of my relationship with them? Why am I more afraid of them than I am of Him?
Every excuse that I can come up with is matched by His Truth.
I’m afraid of them thinking I’m a weirdo religious nut — Ephesians 2:10 says you are God’s workmanship.
I’m afraid of them never speaking to me again, and I’ll drive away all my friends, and be all alone — Hebrews 13:5 says I will never leave you nor forsake you, Matthew 28:20 says behold I am with you even til the end of the age.
I’m afraid of being wrong about all this — Romans 11:33 speaks of God’s unsearchable and inscrutable ways.
I’m afraid I’m not ready or equipped to be your messenger — 1 Peter 4:10 says as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another.
I’m afraid nothing I do is usable by God, that nothing will change for anybody — 1 John 3:20 says God is greater than the heart.
I’m afraid I’m not smart enough to go up against their arguments — 1 Corinthians 1:25 says the foolishness of God is wiser than men.
And then all I can muster is… I’m afraid.
And in His embrace, He says in Isaiah 41:10 and Joshua 1:9… Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
How can I learn to not care about the “religious nut” label? How can I learn to not be defined by my network and connections? How can I learn to hold the shield of faith steadfastly against the arrows of doubt? How can I learn the ins and outs of Your Truth? How can I learn to see myself as only the witness and messenger, not the Saviour? How can I learn the wisdom, knowledge and understanding of God? How can I learn to drum up this courage at will?
I stand before you God / The Greatness of Your renown / I have heard of the majesty and wonder of You / King of Heaven in humility, I bow / As Your love in wave after wave / crashes over me, crashes over me / For You are for us, You are not against us / Champion of Heaven, You made a way for all to enter in / I have heard You calling my name / I have heard the song of love that You sing / So I will let you draw me out beyond the shore / Into Your grace, Your grace.
You make me brave. You call me out beyond the shore into the waves. You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the love that made a way. You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the promises You made.
I was never very good at eating healthy.
I got the family sweet tooth, and ever since my Mom’s cravings for croissants during her pregnancy I’ve loved carbs and butter.
Even knowing all the health problems I’m going to face eventually, you’d think doing everything I can to prevent or at least minimize these future problems would come easily. Or more importantly, the fact that the Bible tells us to take care of our bodies… and not just for our own sake, but because we are God’s image bearers. This body is a gift. Take care of it. Steward it.
And yet I come up with any excuse, any justification to abuse it in that sense.
But I wonder if this kind of diet goes beyond delicious and destructive food. Throughout Genesis, it seems that people get into a lot of trouble because of their appetites… they are more eager for the blessing than they are for its provider.
Am I loving food more than I’m loving God? I’d like to be able to say no, but my actions seem to speak otherwise.
Sometimes I’ll skip dinner because of a big lunch. I’d still be hungry, but I’d ignore it until it went away and then I could say I’m “full.” That is, full equals not hungry. It seems I’ve bought into the lie that hunger is bankable, and this isn’t limited to the physical, but spills into the spiritual as well.
Sin, like humanity’s first, is a delicious and destructive fruit enjoyed in rebellion.
There’s no prayer quota in number nor in length. There’s no Bible reading quota in number nor in length. By His grace, we have a relationship, not a scoreboard with God. Christ did all the work for us on the cross. Because of this, praying in the morning doesn’t justify ignoring God the rest of the day. Doing a week of comparatively intensive mission or ministry doesn’t justify laziness during a spiritually dry season.
Sometimes I’ll snack while I work late, or get the munchies when I’m watching TV. I feel the hunger, but I apply a temporary fix. In the same way, how often have I opted for the world’s way when God’s way would have satisfied. How long before I faint of hunger, how long before I get sick of the rubbish I keep stuffing myself with?
We are always hungry and thirsty for the Lord, but will I let the world convince me I’m full?