Friday, November 21, 2008

Falling in Love All Over Again

A while back, as I was doing my devotional, the book I was reading was talking about the character of Christ, and how we should reflect it better as we come to know Him more. I was expecting to read something about being committed and willing to sacrifice, and exhibiting Fruit of the Spirit. Specifically, we should “become a progressively more joyful, loving, and winsome person.” I completely agree with the first two, but winsome? Hmm. I wanted to know exactly what the authors meant by that term, so I looked it up. Synonyms include charming, pleasant, likeable, attractive, engaging, endearing, and appealing. Our relationship with Christ cannot be akin to the friendship with our childhood best pal. We seem to forget He is God. I found the following online, and decided I couldn’t say it any better:

“…we’ve tried to present Jesus as someone people should like, someone who is
“relevant” and fun and always good to have at parties. But mostly this “new
Jesus” ends up looking about as interesting as the store manager down at
Office Depot. He’s friendly, tame, middle class and safe!

No, you can’t re-imagine Jesus! You can’t turn him into the ‘nice guy’ down
the street. You have to take him for Who He really is – as He’s revealed
Himself in Scripture. And there you find that he’s rarely “safe”. As Mr
Beaver says to Lucy in C S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia (the book, not the
movie!) ”He’s not a tame lion!” Nor is He “safe.”

In that same passage from the book, Lucy asks Mr Beaver if Aslan, the Lion representing Christ, is “safe”. To which he responds, "Safe? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

If I recall correctly, Jesus was not most concerned with people liking Him. In fact, he was rejected by many, if not most. He was bold, wouldn’t support sin, and offended people in the process. But he also had a spirit of ready forgiveness when people repented. He cast out evil spirits. He was and is mighty and loving and confident and kind and He works miracles with no strain at all. He secured His own death by refusing to acquiesce to Jerusalem or Rome. It doesn’t seem to me that His priority was to be winsome at all.

This week has been a time of refocusing, and I am so grateful the Lord called us to it. Time is important in missions, but not more important than keeping our eyes on God. I have fallen in love with Him all over again, not just as my Savior, but as the one who knows everything about me, even the less-than-winsome parts, and loves and adores me anyway. I can't think of a better way to prepare for our time on the mission field.


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