God’s Will Be Done

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Who is in charge of your life?

If God is in charge of your life, then you want to participate in the advancement of God’s kingdom and to do his will. Jesus treats them as the same thing. Remember, Hebrew poetry does not rhyme; it doubles. The second phrase repeats the first, but in different words. The more subtle the doubling; the more beautiful the poetry.

To see this doubling, ask yourself a question: how do you know that you have entered a kingdom? A kingdom exists where the king’s edicts are obeyed. Jesus prays: “Your kingdom come, your will be done.” (Matt 6:10)

The third phase in the prayer reinforces the first two. Where does Jesus pray that God’s kingdom will be? Let it be a kingdom on earth as in heaven. Where does Jesus pray that God’s will be done? Let it be done on earth as in heaven. We aspire that earth be like heaven.

James, the brother of Jesus, echoes this distinction in his contrast between faith and action. He writes simply: “faith apart from works is dead” (Jas 2:26). Our faith may model heaven, but on earth our actions must reflect it.

Did you notice the subtle reminder of God’s creative power in Jesus’ prayer? Hint: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1) Earth is modeled after heaven in the creation order. It still would be but for the corruption of sin. In praying the Lord’s Prayer, we are petitioning God to restore creation and are, in effect, participating in its re-creation.

A Hebrew doublet sometimes takes the form of a negative contrast. In Psalm 1, for example, we read: “for the LORD knows the way of the righteous [will prosper], but the way of the wicked will perish [not prosper].” (Ps 1:6) One is a blessing of the law followed; the other is a curse of the law broken. The logic of the pattern invites us to fill in any missing pieces.

In Jesus’ prayer, two negative contrasts are implicit. It is your kingdom come; not my kingdom come. It is your will be done; not my will be done. Submission implies choosing God over self.

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Ascension

Photo by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Photo by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” [1]

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

The ascension is where Jesus commissions the church.

The Gospels of Mark and Luke briefly describe Christ’s ascension. For example, Mark reports the ascension with these words: “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19) Luke 24:50 places the ascension near Bethany. The Gospel of Matthew ends, not with the ascension, but with the Great Commission [2] while the Gospel of John focuses more on specific instructions to given to the disciples [3].

The key to understanding the ascension arises in the Book of Acts, which outlines a parallel between Jesus’ work and the work of the disciples. In life on earth and in life after death, Christ is our model.

Just like Christ asserts God’s sovereignty over heaven and hell in his death on the cross, the disciples are commissioned to assert God’s sovereignty over the earth after the ascension. Just before he ascended, Jesus said:

. . . But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

This parallel ministry is also discussed in John’s Gospel: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21) We see parallel language also in the Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10) [4]

Christ’s ascension also includes one of the lighter moments in scripture:

And when he [Jesus] had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9–11)

In other words, Christians are not supposed to leave their heads in the clouds and stare off into space! [5] What seems humorous is actually serious and includes a warning. Disciples who leave their heads in the clouds are warned that Christ will return, which is, perhaps, an allusion to the parable of the talents that includes judgment of slothful servants (Matt 25:14–28).

The ascension links us to Christ’s work in heaven. The Book of Hebrews describes Jesus’ work as a high priest in heaven interceding in prayer for us (Heb 8:1–2). It should come as great comfort that Jesus, who we know, will sit in judgment when we appear before God’s judgment seat [6]. If heaven works like the North Star in our Christian walk, then Christ’s ongoing work in heaven is the heart of that star (Alcorn 2006, xi). And Christ inspires the church’s work here on earth.

[1] The references in this chapter to the Apostle’s Creed are all taken from FACR (2013, Q/A 23). Another translation is found in (PCUSA 1999, 2.1—2.3).

[2] “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:19–20)

[3] For example: “Jesus said to him [Peter],’ If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’” (John 21:22)

[4] Also: Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4, and John 14:26. The Great Commission in Matt 28:18–20 also links heaven and earth in evangelism.

[5] C. S. Lewis (2001, 134) observed: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”

[6] As the Apostle Paul told the Athenians: “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30–31)

REFERENCES

Alcorn, Randy. 2006. 50 Days in Heaven: Reflections that Bring Eternity to Life. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Faith Alive Christian Resources (FACR). 2013. The Heidelberg Catechism. Cited: 30 August, 2013. Online: https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=372.

Lewis, C. S. 2001. Mere Christianity (Orig Pub 1950). New York: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.

Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PC USA). 1999. The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—Part I: Book of Confession. Louisville, KY: Office of the General Assembly.

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Hell

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“he descended to hell.”[1]

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

What is hell?

Scripture has many colorful terms that translate into the English word for hell. Among them are: Sheol (OT only; 65 verses), the Abyss (or bottomless pit; 13), Gehenna (NT only; 11), Hades (9), Abaddon (7), and place of darkness (1). Jesus’ favorite term was Gehenna which refers to a dump in the Valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem where garbage was burned [2].

The list of words for hell here is, however, incomplete because most of the colorful expressions referring to hell are metaphorical. For example, an angel in Revelation 18:2 cries out in John’s vision:

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast . . .”

In other words, hell is a kind of prison reserved for the demons, the sinful, and the ritually unclean—all sorts of creatures that oppose heaven and God himself (Isa 7:11). Hell is sealed for everyone, except for God (Job 26:6).

Non-biblical visions of hell also exist. For example, C.S. Lewis (1973, 10–11) pictures hell as a place where people voluntarily move further and further apart.

So why does Jesus go to hell for three days?

The culturally expected answer in the first century would have been that Jesus was dead and that was where dead people went. We read, for example: “For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?” (Ps 6:5) But Jesus was not just another dead guy!

A better answer is that with the crucifixion, God’s sovereignty over heaven and earth—including hell—was confirmed (Ps 139:8). This might explain, for example, why Jesus’ death was accompanied by an earthquake and by resurrection of dead saints from tombs in Jerusalem (Matt 27:51–54) [3].

The best answer to the question is that the reason why Jesus descended into hell remains a mystery. But, hell’s existence is no longer a mystery—Jesus went there.

[1] The references in this chapter to the Apostle’s Creed are all taken from FACR (2013, Q/A 23). Another translation is found in (PCUSA 1999, 2.1—2.3).

[2] γέεννα (BDAG 1606).

[3] Of course, later with the resurrection death and Hades itself were overthrown.

REFERENCES

Faith Alive Christian Resources (FACR). 2013. The Heidelberg Catechism. Cited: 30 August, 2013. Online: https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=372.

Lewis, C. S. 1973. The Great Divorce: A Dream (Orig Pub 1946). New York: HarperOne.

Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PC USA). 1999. The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—Part I: Book of Confession. Louisville, KY: Office of the General Assembly.

 

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Holy Conception

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.” [1]

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Do you ever feel isolated from God?

This isolation is not an accident. In the absence of Christ, two gaps exist between God and humanity: a gap in being (infinite versus finite) and a gap in holiness [2]. Jesus’ conception by the Holy Spirit (Holy Conception) to bridge both gaps (Matt 1:18ff).

The first gap requires that a mediator be both divine and human. In bridging the first gap, the Holy Conception introduces the divinity of Christ before his birth. He is then born by the usual means. Jesus could then serve as a bridge between an infinite God and finite humanity [3]. As the angel told Mary: “nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

The second gap requires that any mediator between humanity and God be without sin—holy. Jesus also bridges the second gap by living a sinless life. This work starts when Mary assents to the angel’s request (Luke 1:38) and continues through Jesus’ lifelong work of teaching, healing, and reflecting God. Jesus’ work ended on the cross when he declared: “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

Jesus’ birth follows the promise-fulfillment motif in the Old Testament record. The prophecy—“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa 7:14)—reminds us of several miraculous pregnancies. The pattern of prophecy and pregnancy (e.g. promise-fulfillment) occurs again in births of Isaac (Gen 17:17), Jacob [4], the prophet Samuel and of John the Baptist [5]. However, in the case of Jesus, the role of prophecy was amplified.

For example, in the case of Isaac, both the timing and means (miraculous pregnancy) were prophesied. For Jesus, the instrumentality (virgin birth—Isa 7:14), his character (Isa 9:6), covenantal role [6], the place of birth (Bethlehem—Mic 5:2), and his lineage (House of David—2 Sam 7:12–16) were all prophesied. The elaborate birth narratives of Matthew and Luke testify to the reality of the humble nature of Jesus’ birth. The prophecies point to his divine nature.

The Holy Conception also reminds us of the absolute and creative sovereignty of God. When God creates the heaven and the earth, he creates them ex nihilo—out of nothing (Gen 1:1) [7]. The idea that Jesus is conceived ex-nihilo (without a biological father) at birth and then resurrected after death expresses God’s absolute and creative sovereignty. It also suggests that, through Jesus Christ, God remains actively present in our lives too. This is very good news!

[1] The references in this chapter to the Apostle’s Creed are all taken from FACR (2013, Q/A 23). Another translation is found in (PCUSA 1999, 2.1—2.3).

[2] The need for an intermediary is first articulated by the prophet Job: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” (Job 19:25)

[3] Heb 2:14, 17.

[4] Gen 21:1–3, 25:21.

[5] 1 Sam 1:20; Luke 1:5–25.

[6] Deut 18:18; Jer 31:33.

[7] For example: Sproul 2003, 111.

REFERENCES

Faith Alive Christian Resources (FACR). 2013. The Heidelberg Catechism. Cited: 30 August, 2013. Online: https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=372.

Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PC USA). 1999. The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—Part I: Book of Confession. Louisville, KY: Office of the General Assembly.

Sproul, R.C. 2003. Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

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How Do We Know?

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the people of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

In the Koran, Christians are described as people of the book. Part of the reason for this distinction may be that the New Testament was the first text bound as a book. Books were cheaper to produce and more portable than scrolls, which continued to be used, for example, to record the Hebrew Bible. It is noteworthy that more New Testament texts have survived from ancient times than any other ancient manuscripts [1].

Athanasius suggested the twenty-seven books which now make up the New Testament in his Easter letter of AD 367 was later confirmed by the Council of Carthage in AD 397. The common denominator in these books is that their authors were known to have been an apostle or associated closely with an apostle of Jesus. Pope Damasus I commissioned Jerome to prepare an authoritative translation of the Bible into Latin in AD 382 commonly known as the Vulgate (Evans 2005, 162). The Vulgate remained the authoritative Biblical text for the church until the time of the Reformation when the reformers began translating the Bible into common languages.

During the reformation Martin Luther, for example, translated the New Testament into German in 1522 and followed with an Old Testament translation in 1532 [2]. Luther kept the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, but followed the Masoretic (Hebrew Old Testament) rather than the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) in selecting books for the Old Testament [3]. The books left out became known as the Apocrypha. These books continue to distinguish the Catholic (Apocrypha included) from Protestant Bible translations (Apocrypha excluded) to this day. The list given below, which excludes the Apocrypha, is taken from the Westminster Confession:

OLD TESTAMENT
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

NEW TESTAMENT
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation

In our study of the Bible, Jesus’ attitude about scripture guides our thinking. Jesus said:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17–18).

The Law of Moses refers to the Law (first five books of the Bible) and the Prophets (the other books). The last book in the Old Testament to be written was likely Malachi which was written about four hundred years before the birth of Christ. The last book in the New Testament to be written was likely the book of Revelation which was written around 90 AD.

The Bible represents the work of many authors, yet its contents are uniquely consistent. This consistency adds weight to our belief that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

[1] The technical description is the Bible was the first publication to appear in widespread circulation as a codex (bound book) (Metzger and Ehrman 2005, 15). Stone (2010, 14) cites the existence of 5,500 partial or complete biblical manuscripts making it the only document from the ancient world with more than a few dozen copies.

[2] Luther completed the entire Bible in 1534 (Bainton 1995, 255).

[3] Luther translated the Apocrpha in 1534 but specifically said they were not canonical, just good to read (see: http://www.lstc.edu/gruber/luthers_bible/1534.php).

REFERENCES

Bainton, Roland H. 1995. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. New York: Penguin.

Evans, Craig A. 2005. Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to Background Literature. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.

Metzger, Bruce M. and Bart D. Ehrman. 2005. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. New York: Oxford University Press.

Stone, Larry. 2010. The Story of the Bible: The Fascinating History of Its Writing, Translation, and Effect on Civilization. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

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What Should We Do?

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Have you accepted Christ into all aspects of your life?

Walking into an office, whose picture normally hangs on the wall? The picture on the wall usually depicts the one casting the vision of the company. It could be the founder, the current president, or a chief executive. Why? It is helpful to remind us who is in charge and what we are about.

Assume you are a new office manager. Suppose when your supervisor was out of the office, a stranger walked in and questioned your supervisor’s instructions, saying—you are in charge now: take it easy. Then, being naive, you declared independence, kicked the feet up on the desk, and slept all afternoon. What would happen when your supervisor returned? What would you think then if the supervisor, even as you are being fired and walked to the door, made a promise—when my oldest son comes, you can come back and he will make sure that stranger does not bother you anymore?

This is essentially the story of Adam and Eve. The story has three parts: creation with great expectations (hired), fall into temptation (fired), and promise of restoration through divine intervention (second chance).

Creation. Just like the business with the picture on the wall, in our hearts we have a picture of God because God created us in his image. This family resemblance gives us human dignity. We were created with great prospects and a bright future.

The emphasis in Genesis 1:27 is on being created in the image of God together with our spouses. We were created to live in families with one man and one woman. To prevent any misunderstanding, Adam and Eve were blessed, put in charge on earth, and given a mission: “Be fruitful and multiple.” (Gen 1:28)

Fall. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eve with just one restriction that came with a penalty: do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil under penalty of death (Gen 2:17). In deceiving Eve, Satan questioned God’s integrity saying that the penalty was a lie: you will not die (Gen 3:4). In giving into this temptation, Adam and Even sinned and rebelled against God. God then expelled them from the Garden of Eden. Left outside Eden, Adam and Eve faced life outside of God’s presence and under the penalty of death.

Restoration. In God’s curse of Satan, he prophesied the coming of Christ. Satan’s usurped kingdom will be over-thrown by a descendant of Eve (Gen 3:15).

What does the story of Adam and Eve say about our identity? Tension arises in our lives because we do not live up to God’s expectations. Our dignity arises from being created in God’s image; yet, we sin and rebel against God. The Good News is that when Christ died for our sins, he overthrew the rule of Satan in our lives and restored our relationship with God, just as it was in the beginning.

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Who is God?

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. (Ps 19:1–3)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

When I was young, I wanted to be a pilot. I learned to read a map, work with a compass, and navigate by the stars in pursuit of my goal. The idea that God would use a star to guide the wise men to the baby Jesus fascinated me. Equally fascinating is how God reveals himself to us in the creation story. The Bible starts telling us that: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1) What do these simple words tell us about God?

The phrase—in the beginning—tells us that God is eternal. If creation has a beginning, then it must also have an end. This implies that creation is not eternal, but the God who created it must be. If our eternal God created time, both the beginning and the end, then everything God created belongs to God. Just as the potter is master over the pottery he makes, God is sovereign over creation (Jer 18:4–8). God did not win creation in an arm-wrestling match or buy it online or find it on the street, he created it—God is a worker[1].

God’s sovereignty is reinforced in the second half of the sentence when it says: God created the heavens and the earth. Here heaven and earth form a poetic construction called a merism. A merism is a literary device that can be compared to defining a line segment by referring to its end points. The expression—heaven and earth—therefore means that God created everything[2]. Because he created everything, he is sovereign over creation; and sovereignty implies ownership[3].

So, from the first sentence in the Bible we know that God is eternal and he is sovereign. We also know that he is holy. Why? Are heaven and earth equal? No. Heaven is God’s residence. From the story of Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush (Exod 3:5), we learn that any place where God is becomes holy in the sense of being set apart or sacred. Because God resides in heaven, it must be holy. Earth is not. Still, God created both and is sovereign over both (Rev 4:11).

Genesis paints two other important pictures of God.

The first picture arises in Genesis 1:2; here the breath, or spirit of God, is pictured like a bird hovering over the waters[4]. Hovering requires time and effort suggesting ongoing participation in and care for creation. The Bible speaks exhaustively about God providing for us—God’s provision. Breath translates as Holy Spirit in the original languages of the Bible—both Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament)[5].

The second picture appears in Genesis 2, which retells the story of creation in more personal terms. As a potter works with clay (Isa 64:8), God forms Adam and puts him in a garden. Then, he talks to Adam and directs him to give the animals names. And when Adam gets lonely, God creates Eve from Adam’s rib or side—a place close to his heart.

Genesis 1 and 2, accordingly, paint three pictures of God: 1. God as a mighty creator; 2. God who meticulously attends to his creation; and 3. God who walks with us like a friend. While the Trinity is not fully articulated in scripture until the New Testament, God’s self-disclosure as the Trinity appears from the beginning (Chan 1998, 41).

The Lord’s Prayer casts a new perspective on Genesis 1:1 when Jesus says: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10) Because we are created in God’s image, we want our home to modeled after God’s.

[1] Hugh Whelchel (2012,7).

[2] Heaven and earth can also be interpreted as proxies for God’s attributes of transcendence and immanence (Jer 23:23–24; Dyck 2014, 99).

[3] God’s eternal nature is also defined with a merism: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev 1:8)

[4] This bird (avian) image appears again in the baptismal accounts of Jesus. For example, in Matthew 3:16 we read: “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him.”

[5]Breath itself is necessary for life—part of God’s provision.

 

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Why is Spirituality Important?

Stephen W. Hiemstra, Question Marks
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6 ESV)

Why is Spirituality Important?

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Some questions defy pat answers: Who is God? Who am I? What must I do? How do I know?

African Runners

At one point in world competition among marathon runners, Ethiopians ruled. The Kenyans had talent, but Ethiopians trained harder and trained better. Training at high altitudes built their strength; training as a team built their competitiveness.

Africans were not always allowed to compete in these games. The right to compete did not come all at once, but it started with efforts to abolish slavery. William Wilberforce, a devout Christian, spent most of his life leading the effort to abolish slavery in nineteenth century Great Britain. He later wrote about the need for spiritual training saying:

no one expects to attain the height of learning, or arts, or power, or wealth, or military glory, without vigorous resolution, and strenuous diligence, and steady perseverance. Yet we expect to be Christians without labor, study, or inquiry. (Wilberforce 2006, 5–6)

Spiritual Journey

Wilberforce must have had me in mind. For years, I professed Christ as savior but did not embrace him as Lord. My faith was incomplete. As I learned to apply the lordship of Christ to my life, I experienced a more sustained sense of Christian joy.

The content of faith is critical. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) If I have faith that eggshells are white, I have only defined eggshell color. But, if I have faith that Christ rose from the dead, my whole world changes—God exists and death no longer has the final word. The call to faith defines our identity in Christ.[1]

Postmodern Dilemma

The idea of Christian faith has become unfashionable. The postmodern world we live in is often like the Sahara desert where mountains of sand blow about daily. Direction in a world of shifting sand requires a surveyor’s marker that establishes location. Standing on a marker, a map shows both direction and distance. Without the marker, however, a map becomes a puzzle—like words without definitions—whose pieces have meaning only relative to one another. Scripture is our map; our marker is Jesus Christ[2].

The sun does not always shine; neither does it rain every day. Spirituality is living out what we know to be true on good days and bad.

 

[1] “Through the CALL of Jesus men become individuals. Whilly-nilly, they are compelled to decide, and that decision can only be made by themselves.” (Bonhoeffer 1995, 94).

[2] Benner (2002, 26) sees the role of a spiritual director as of pointing to God’s work in a person’s life.

REFERENCES

Benner, David G. 2203. Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship & Direction. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. 1995. The Cost of Discipleship (Orig. pub. 1937). New York: Simon and Schuster.

Wilberforce, William. 2006. A Practical View of Christianity (Orig. pub. 1797). Ed. Kevin Charles Belmonte. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Christian Classics; Hendrickson Publishers.

Also see:

Christian Spirituality

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