Mirror Dimly

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 1 Cor 13:12 (MSG)

In Saint Paul’s “love chapter” Paul provides us with a metaphor to explain our earthly limitations. Life before the resurrection is  life lived as though through a mirror dimly.

In context, Paul is speaking about the different aspects of worship that revolve around Scripture; singing, prophecy, preaching. These are gifts to the church to foster and serve love.  If love for God and for one another is not the motivation and goal of worship, then it is nothing more than a clanging cymbal; an out-of-place and misleading distraction. T

Paul goes on to say that we see through a mirror dimly because we and our world are infected by sin, despite our standing with Christ. The metaphor calls attention to the limitations of our ability to see and understand. Our vision is impaired, we’re stuck with a foggy overcast that beckons us to humble dependance on God. 

A mirror is used to see a reflection–of yourself, of others, of what’s around you. Scripture is the primary mirror that we use to see and know God and ourselves. But my reading of Scripture–and of who God is–is faulty and broken, and until I come to grips with this reality, I will not serve love. The God who Augustine calls, “Ever Ancient Ever New” is boundless and beyond full comprehension by me, and when I ignore my limits, I will become a clanging cymbal.

Today, Christians are bombarded with skepticism around Scripture. We are told not to trust the Bible because it’s archaic and erroneous. The temptation is to defend the Bible’s reliability in ways that ignore human limitations-we insist on the certitude and clarity of Scripture; we simplify what is complex and ignore the impaired capacity of a dim vision, the very thing Scripture attests to!

When I think about the authority of Scripture, I think of its role as firstly attesting to Christ, who is the full and final revelation of who God is, and secondarily in forming God’s people into who they are called to be. As Christians we are often good at bible study: thinking and analyzing what the bible means and what it says, while neglecting what kind of life were called to live. We often make knowledge a virtue, forgetting that it can easily become a vice (1 Cor. 8:1-2). What I want for Christians is to trust in the power of Scripture to shape their lives, perhaps only possible when we get out of the way, when we approach it with humility. Humility and acceptance of the dimness of our vision is where God encounters us and we begin to really, and truly see. That alone will serve love.

Jesus; the Sum, the Center

“Jesus is both the sum and center of our Christian faith. In a conversation I was privileged to have with noted theologian Dr. David Wells, he made mention of a very insightful fact. Unlike most religions, Christianity has no place, language, race, or culture that serves as a center to hold it together. Christians share no worldwide headquarters, no common language, no common race or ethnic heritage, and no common framework. The only thing that holds all of Christianity together is the risen Lord Jesus Christ who is alive today.”

Mark Driscoll
Vintage Jesus pg 200 –

Wether you Eat or Drink…

 

I recently heard someone preach on the verse: “whether you eat or you drink, do it all for the glory of God..” (1 Cor 10:31). The preacher went on to say that as Christians we sometimes “dichotomize” our lives. We’ve got the “secular” part of life: being with friends, going out, doing laundry, whatever. And then the “religious (or spiritual)” part of life where we go to church, we have our devotionals, we pray, we seek God. Rightly so, his point was that “dichotomized Christianity” doesn’t really exist.

This is a concept I’ve been thinking and wrestling with a lot over the last few weeks. Most might say that the subject and focus of this verse is “you.” That is true, but let me take it further and add to it.

I want to point out that the end all, the purpose, the goal, the highlight is not about what “you” (and me) are doing… but its about the Glory of God. This tells me much about God’s character, He’s interested in the ‘fine print’ of life. Ever read the Bible and get to a genealogy? Those are kind of boring, but they remind me of God’s attention to detail; to me and you those names mean nothing! But God see’s them and smiles because he knows everything about them.

God’s not so big and great and awesome that he only cares about the “important things” in life, but he’s so big, great and awesome because he see’s and cares about every little thing in every person’s life, that ever existed and ever will. In fact, the day he called Abraham he knew that I would be writing this note today. The day of the flood, he knew that you would be reading this note.

So wether I eat, or I drink, I’ll glorify God because He knows that I’m eating and drinking. But it doesn’t end there. Romans 8:28-29 says that all things work together for the good for those who love God and are called for his purpose. Everything includes the small things…. my conception of this is that God allows EVERYthing to happen so that they become an opportunity for the good, which is to be more like Jesus. It comes down to this: when you pray for more faith, will God just give you faith or will he give you an opportunity to have faith? Or maybe your dealing with patience, like most of us who like to be in control of time. Maybe you can figure that one out and let me know.

I wish I had a proper conclusion to this, luckily its not something I’m graded on… but Jonathan Edwards, an 18th century preacher said “the chief ends of man is to Glorify God; BY enjoying Him.” When all is said and done, all our unpleasant circumstances will still remain unpleasant no matter how much “Christian jargon” we add to it. BUT, there is a peace when we realize that, whether we eat or drink, whatever we do… we can glorify God, because while you are doing your thing, God see’s, he knows, he hears, and he’s setting you up, not to fail, but to succeed in becoming more like him.