My friend Mark and I are running a Mens Small Group for the next ten weeks. We are following CVMs Codelife together and investigating what it means to be a Christian man. I have decided to write a short blog each week of the ten covering what we were looking at.
Jesus is my Captain, Brother, Rescuer and Friend. I owe everything to Him. I will do anything for Him.
In Mark 8, Jesus and His disciples are walking and He asks them what people were saying about Him. The disciples reply, “Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, some say one of the prophets.” Then He asks them the question that I think the whole of the Christian faith hangs on, “ Who do you say that I am?’
If we are asked this question our answers will differ widely. Often our answer is something like Friend, Son of God, Master, King of Kings or Saviour. We each have a go at answering. With each answer we actually betray an attribute of God’s character more than another name would. For example, if we see Jesus as our friend we show our affinity with His loyalty and His kindness. If we are drawn to Jesus as our King we show our affinity to His Leadership and Sovereignty over everything. These are great things to learn and great things to hold on to.
Each of these will not only effect our view of God but it will also effect how our faith works out in our day to day life. If we understood God as a God of wrath our faith will work out in anger. If He is a God of generosity our faith will produce a generous lifestyle.
The danger comes when we only understand God as one of these things. When we lose sight of God’s mercy and draw close to His justice we can become angry and condemning to others. Our understanding of His infinite mercy tempers our understanding of His infinite justice. If we understand God only as our rescuer we can lose sight of His restorative work in our life. If we feel we are always in need of rescue and ignore the fact God is transforming us into a new creation we lose the point of our faith. We become only saved from our sin and forget to be saved for the blessing of others. Our faith descends into a pity party driven by guilt rather than an adventure driven by redemption.
We must learn to hold all of God’s character in tension in order to discover Him. It is not until we allow the character of God to stretch us in all directions, towards His infinite love, wisdom, mercy, justice, strength and leadership that we can truly discover what it means to serve Him. When we fully engage with God’s expansive character we can fully engage with our unique assignment in His service.
If we could understand God in His fullness it would become natural to us to offer Him everything we are, as we would soon realise we owe everything to Him.
In a world where we are bombarded with the impossibility of self-sufficiency a relentless hope in and reliance on the God who provides all things releases great hope. An admittance that we cannot walk through life alone is the first step to experiencing the restorative power of the Holy Spirit leading us to more than we could imagine.