Is Jesus more than a philosophy, a collection of teachings, a code to live by, a doctrine of love? Is the Bible just a collection of laws to follow, a type of moral code? Is Christianity nothing more than a collection of stories to illustrate principles of life that might be a good idea to put into practice? Is it just something to give us a false hope in a world lacking hope? I don't believe it is but the way we live as Christians certainly makes it appear that way.
Some of the most popular movies are those that add a bit of magic to life. We love to escape from our boring, mundane and grey world by slipping into fantasy, even if it is for a mere few hours. Yet, we deny the fantastic colours of life that are demonstrated to us in the Word of God. We reduce Jesus to a philosophy and the Bible to a collection of laws to follow. We strip away all the power, the wonder, the miraculous, the spiritual. After all, it is easier to believe what we can put into practice than to believe in what we cannot see.
I want us to think of Joseph for a moment. He was nobody special, just a guy like you and me. He had a lot of tragedies that he had to face and he was at a really low place; a slave, imprisoned in a foreign land for a crime he hadn't committed. But Joseph was a man who had experienced the unexpected from Yahweh through dreams and he had been given the gift of dream interpretation. Little did he know that this gift would lead him to ruling Egypt, a land in which he had entered as a slave. But Joseph never for a moment thought that this gift came from himself:
“It’s not me. God will give Pharaoh a favorable response.” (Genesis 41:16)
Now if we fast forward to Daniel we discover an even more amazing thing. Again, Daniel was a prisoner in a foreign land but Yahweh had lifted him up to a position of importance. He too was a receiver and interpreter of dreams. Only this time the king didn't just want an interpretation. The king wanted someone to tell him what his dream was without being told. Again, the servant of the Lord did not take credit for what was from Yahweh:
Now fast forward to the first century Church where they were just learning who they were in Jesus, what this new creation looked and felt like. Empowered by the Spirit, who all of us have received from Jesus, each believer was given a demonstration of the Spirit. They were no longer members of a grey world but a colourful Kingdom:
That's you and me, empowered by the Spirit, to demonstrate the reality of Yahweh to a dying world. But to operate in the Spirit we must walk in the Spirit. We have to become intimate with him every moment of our day. The thing about these people I have mentioned is that they were completely sold out to Yahweh. I doubt you would find them in a movie theatre, a Super Bowl game or anything else that would distract them from their relationship with Yahweh. The reason we don't see the power in the Church today is because we are too distracted. We have allowed the world to become so loud in us we can't hear the Spirit so we settle for living laws and discussing philosophies.
The Spirit is calling us back, calling us to repentance and sanctification. He is calling us back to our mission and purpose. He is calling us back to our first love, our Lord Jesus Christ. Are we brave enough to respond?