Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Found In Him Chapter 2: His Life, the Movie
My life is always on the big screen in front of me.
It’s what I see, what I talk about, what I obsess about. My life, the movie.
Take the last few weeks, for instance. I’ve been very irritable recently, downright cranky–my impatience erupting in sharp responses to my husband, lots of internal arguments with people, and repeatedly calling myself an idiot. In fact “idiot” is the word that’s on the big screen of my mind right now.
“What’s going on with you?” Mark asked.
“I’m not sure. I keep asking God to forgive me, to help me, but I’m still mad.”
He suggested I take some time alone with the Lord to find out why. I began to read Scripture and promptly fell asleep. Apparently, his life, the Book, wasn’t as gripping to me as my life the movie.
God on Audio, Me on Video
Tim Keller uses the analogy of God’s voice being the audio input of our lives, while our thoughts are the video feed. Video is so much easier to pay attention to. Who wouldn’t tune out the audio, when you have a 3-D IMAX big screen playing in Hi-Def technicolor in front of you?
This Bible study started to reverse that for me today. Through the book, Found in Him, and the Scriptures that accompanied it, the Holy Spirit began to spotlight Jesus in a way that made him stand before me in 3-D living color. I began to see him as true man and true God, as an infant, as a toddler, as a boy of twelve.
Can you imagine?
The transition happened for my study today as Elyse began to flesh out the childhood of Jesus by using her imagination. The Bible gives us very little detail about the early life of our Savior. But the broad strokes painted by Luke 2:40 and Luke 2:52 provide the outlines for a vibrant picture.
Luke tells us
And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. 2:40
Not much of a movie, huh? But Elyse takes each one of these four words, grew, strong, wisdom, and favor, and shows us two things. By using her mind to contrast God and man she shows us why his childhood is wonderful. By using her imagination, she mines her memory of human experience to show what his early years might have looked like.
For example, she writes
Think of this–the one who “upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3) needed to grow in strength. That meant that in his veiled deity, as a child he was weak. When playing games with friends, he didn’t always win. He couldn’t lift a heavy water jug, nor could he remember everything that others said to him.
Have you ever thought about Jesus that way? Nobody at Bible study had. But fleshing out his incarnation is wonderful. It puts him on the Big Screen.
The incarnation invites us to imagine.
But is it OK to think of Jesus this way? Are we allowed to fill in the details in our knowledge of God with our imagination? Yes, the incarnation invites us to. When God entered our world and took on our flesh he made the entire world of human experience a tool box for seeing him better. Because he met his disciples in the homes of Galilee and the streets of Jerusalem, he can meet us in our homes and streets–through a sanctified imagination.
That’s what he did for me this week, as I tried to figure out why I was so grumpy. The next morning (when I was not quite so sleepy over my Bible) God began to show me that every time I got ticked it was because of weakness, either mine or someone else’s. I hated weakness and it was making me mad every time it cropped up!
OK, so I hate being weak. That’s on the table. But does God hate weakness? That’s where Luke 2:40 and Elyse’s writing came in. No. God became weak. He took on our weak flesh and experienced weakness. So he understands how it feels. But he also lived by faith in his weakness. Not just to show me the way, but to earn a righteousness that he would give me today. Wow.
As I got up from the chair, His Life, the Movie was still playing on the Big Screen.