Monday, May 24, 2010


In a lecture, one of the professors of the Master’s College, Abner Chou said “love” is a relational term. Now, reading that the temptation might be to say, “Well, obviously love is a relational term.” But I think that that is the very problem. Because it is obvious that love, if it is truly love and not a modern misuse of the word, is a relational term, it is often overlooked, forgotten, and the implications of the truth are ignored.

First, I would like to remove the term “love” from the twenty-first century uses of it and bring back to it it’s true meaning. Love is first of all not a feeling. The emotion in our heart when somebody we love is near is not love, it is a product of love. Love, then, does not negate the idea of feelings being involved, but those feelings, that rush of the heart, is not love. Do not mistake the effect for the cause! And a case against the pursuit feelings is found in the Romantics, who prove that feelings are unsatisfactory and the pursuit of them leads to self-destruction. This word has been cheapened in another way in the many times we use “love” to describe or feelings towards things, such as, “I love ice cream!” Or, “I love Disneyland!” Or “I love that outfit!” Can you really have a relationship with ice cream? It’s pretty one-sided if you do, and if you were to treat your friends like you treated ice cream you wouldn’t have any. Love, then, is only left in the relational aspect, as we have already mentioned.

To obey the Lord When the Scriptures exhort us to love one another we have to be in relationships with other believers. The church is the place for those relationships. So if you are attending a church, but don’t know the people you are attending with, you’re not obeying the command to love one another. You can’t love the person you’re sitting next to unless you have a relationship with them. This probably means stepping outside of your comfort zone—at least for me it does. I find it hard to get past the first word, but every time I have done so I have been able to maintain a good conversation. That initial fear can be paralyzing, but once you act the fear is then seen as irrational.

The first aspect that entered my mind, however, was not in relation to believers, but in relation to those who have not owned up for their guilt at the cross. People say that the most loving thing we can do to those who don’t believe is to share the gospel with them, but is it a truly loving act if it is outside of a genuine relationship? Perhaps we need to think more of having relationships with non-believers, and through showing our love to them in that relationship they might see that serving our God is a good thing, and then when we share the gospel they are ready to accept it. But the relationship is key to the act being loving! Look, then, for ways to build relationships with those who do not believe with the intention of bringing the gospel to them. That is love.

I realize that this last paragraph I just wrote could be taken further than I intended, and I believe though to make my point I had to come across as strongly as I did. I am not recommending we give up street evangelism, but I am suggesting that that method becomes less our focus as much as on building and starting relationships with the intention of bringing the Gospel to them, to show them Biblical love.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Original Truth

As I was thinking about my previous post and that nothing said in it was actually original to me (only how it was said could be called original), I began to recall that no truth I've proclaimed is original to me. All my thoughts find their source in the words others have spoken. As this train of thought continued, I realized that no truth is invented or is original to whoever said it; it lies outside of the one proclaiming it.

This is why those who see truth and proclaim some aspect of it no one has ever seen before are called "insightful," not "creative." Insight is the gift of being able to look at what is already there (God, the Bible, the world, mankind) and see an element about it that no one has really seen or expressed, and then sharing it with others. I learn new truth when the truth already present is apprehended and then communicated to me in a way I can understand. The truth-teller points away from himself, not at himself.

Therefore, when shown a wonderful truth we have never seen before, the Author of that truth should receive the glory, not the messenger bringing that truth. However wonderful he might be, he did not invent or create the truth, and if the truth is so marvelous that we praise the one to discover it, how much more should we praise the one who made it? The one bringing it, though recognized, should fade away as the One from whom the truth found its origin receives the greater attention.

It is like a marvelous piece of music written by Bach but found and reintroduced by Mendelssohn. Who gets the praise when Bach's music is played? Bach does, not Mendelssohn. Though Mendelssohn is mentioned and praised for discovering Bach's music, Bach is the one who gets the most glory of the two.

In the same way, when a great man like C. S. Lewis shares a truth that is marvelous and eye-opening, God, the author of the truth, should get the praise. Though C. S. Lewis is recognized for his discovery of that truth and praised for it, God should receive the greater focus. He created the truth found within the essay, "The Weight of Glory"; should He not receive the greater praise? I believe C. S. Lewis would prefer that, especially now as his sin nature has now been fully eradicated.

This is how truth-proclaimers remain humble, by recognizing the true source of the truth that they proclaim. Even if I, or you, or anyone else do stumble upon a droplet of truth, we have to remember where the droplet came from, and look up, and recognize the hand of the Creator behind it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Image of God

The first time man is mentioned in Genesis, he is related to God in specifics way, first as creature, and then as an image.  The implications of this, other than raising man’s status above the animals, are first clearly seen in God’s words to Noah, when He tells this survivor that those who kill another man are to be killed by men for they destroyed the image of God.

Which is interesting, because Noah lived after the fall, as did all but Adam and Eve, so the image was not completely lost in that disastrous act.  But it was shattered, changed, no longer a true image.  We were meant to display to the creation the invisible attributes of God—His love, His patience, His goodness, His grace, His wisdom, His mercy, His kindness, His faithfulness, His beauty—but because of our perversion as a result of the fall we no longer reflect these attributes.  But that is only the least of it.  What we actually do is something far worse.  R. C. Sproul writes something chilling:

“When we sin as the image bearers of God, we are saying to the whole creation, to all of nature under our dominion, to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field: “This is how God is. This is how your Creator behaves. Look in his mirror; look at us, and you will see the character of the Almighty.” We say to the world, “God is covetous; God is ruthless; God is bitter; God is a murderer, a thief, a slanderer, an adulterer. God is all of these things that we are doing.”

This imaging of Yahweh that we were intended to do now has been completely perverted.  Instead of showing the world God’s glorious attributes, we are in a sense accusing Him of evil, accusing Him of basically being Satan.  How can we even contemplate sin if this is what it says about our Sustainer?

I desperately want to show in my life, not only to the creation, but especially those who are disenchanted with the “image” of God they see in man, the invisible attributes of God.  This aim is impossible in myself.  In no way are we in our own strength capable of reflecting God’s qualities.  He, the one who created us to image Him, has to reach down and rescue us from our complete and utter enslavement to sin so we can do what we were originally created to do, to display His invisible attributes to the creation.

The question of what we do with our lives grows small, even for someone nearing the brink of the rest of his life like me.  The question that truly matters is “How will I do what I do?”  Before doing anything with my time, or saying anything, my thought should be “What does this action say about my Creator?  Am I showing the world what He is like?  Am I mirroring my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

One aspect of a mirror is that nobody ever sees a mirror, nor are they supposed to.  A mirror is supposed to show what it is reflecting.  A shattered mirror makes the world see itself, it does not reflect; a mirror that God is through a miracle fixing makes the world see Christ.

(Adapted from the message by Brandon Hix for the 2010 Homeschool Graduation ceremony in Eau Claire, Wisconsin)