Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More important than your facebook status

Through the Bible in 90 Days: Day 86

Read: James 3:13-5:20; 1 & 2 Peter; 1, 2, & 3 John;

Verse that stood out:
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! - 1 John 3:1

God’s love is so different from most of the pseudo-loves we encounter in this world that the very idea of it leaves many people doubting whether or not they could really be considered God’s children. "No one could love me like that," we think. The apostle John seems prepared for our objections: “You say it isn’t so? That God couldn’t love us to the point of making sinful humans his own children? We’ll frankly, it doesn’t matter what you think. For God calls us his children and that is what we are!” I like his phrasing. Sometimes we can get far too wrapped up in what we think about things. Self-expression seems to be both the blessing and the curse of our generation. All around us people are constantly telling us what they are thinking. We are no longer a world that values expert testimony. We want to know what the common man thinks about things.

Take Facebook for example. This social networking site has exploded in just a couple of years. Why? Pretty simple really. Facebook lets you almost constantly keep your several hundred closest friends updated as to what you are thinking. That primarily takes the form of status updates – short little blurbs about what you are doing or thinking.

Taylor is playing with his kids.

Alyson is reading a book.

Matt is thinking he’ll go to Double Dave's for lunch.

Fascinating stuff isn’t it? For awhile, those status updates started including a lost of top five lists. John’s top five movies. Carey's top five cereals. One time, I even had this one come across my screen: Michael’s top five people he’d like to punch in the face.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong in any of this (OK, maybe there is with that last one). Mostly, these sights are just a way to keep of with friends and have a little fun. But the subtle danger is that we can mistakenly come to believe that what’s most important in this world is what we think about something – that our thoughts somehow define reality. This can be especially true when it comes to what we believe about God. I mean it sounds correct to say, the most important thing in the world is what you think about God. It might sound good, but it’s wrong.

Here’s the thing, we think a lot of different things about God. Some of us think of God as an authoritative judge out to get those who do wrong. Others think of God as a hippie dude in the sky just out to help everyone have a good time. Still others imagine God as an absentee father who God this whole world started but has since checked out. Sometimes one individual may think all these things jumbled up together. Yes, people have lots of different views of God, but that doesn’t really change who God is. We can be wrong about God. Our feelings about God can certainly come and go, but ultimately what we need to know, what matters most is what does God thinks of us.

C. S. Lewis, in his classic address, “The Weight of Glory,” put it this way:

How God thinks of us is not only more important [than how we think of him], but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except insofar as it is related to how He thinks of us. It is written that we shall ‘stand before’ Him, shall appear, shall be inspected. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God . . . to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness. . . to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son – it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But it is so.

Whether or not we fully understand it, whether or not we feel it, it is so. God loves us and has made us his children. God doesn’t pity us. He delights in us. We are a very real ingredient in the divine happiness. It may be too much for us to grasp, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

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