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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Equipped to Fear God

Jack was born on the 23rd April, 1992, into a happy family. He had a two-years-older brother and a three-years-older sister and as the youngest boy was the baby of the family. There was just one small thing, like the rest of his family Jack was a zombie. A zombie - like everyone else in the world.
It wasn't so recognisable when he was born, certainly, he looked like any other baby. But as Jack aged and grew, the zombie side of his personality grew with him. At the age of two his teeth began to rot, and a foul odor developed around his mouth. At the age of five he broke his leg - permanently so that he was always dragging it with him like a personal issue wherever he walked (or rather hobbled). By the age of thirteen Jack looked just like the rest of his zombie family: falling to pieces, rotting to the core, every action in life tearing pieces of his flesh apart.
He saw many arguments between his parents, each one ripping the brains and the hearts of his mother or his father irreparably (though they tried to stitch themselves physically together as best as they could). He saw the brokeness in his brother and sister, sinking into alcohol - the drink burning a slow hole through what mess was left of their decaying livers. He felt hopeless, rotting and dead.
By the age of eighteen, Jack had tried everything to make himself feel alive. He tried relationships of varying kinds and levels of commitment. He tried alcohol and other recreational drugs. He tried distracting himself with movies, video games and musical pursuits. But nothing worked.
Until at the age of 22, Jack met a man unlike anyone else he had ever seen. The man looked like any other zombie, but remarkably there was something about his flesh that was clean and pure and free of rot. The odd bruise and scar mark decorated his body - but the stench of death was nowhere to be found. Jack found out that the reason for this clean, fresh look? The blood of the one perfect man to ever walk the planet - the only man without the zombie plague.
Of course the previous is a little allegorical story concept that came to me based on something Ken said yesterday during EQUIP - that really, without Jesus all of us are the walking dead. That we are rotting away and each of our actions destroy and cut and burn us all the more. Some of us try and kill the deadness with other things like drugs, exploring our sexuality, movies, video games and so many other things - but without Jesus it only makes it worse.

Ken was also talking about the fear of God, mentioning how it's meant to be a type of holy respect. He made the comment that so many of us put God into a box, because it's more convenient to turn God into the type of God that we want. We decide he can't be all knowing because somehow His being all-knowing means that we can't have free will (although I consider that a logical fallacy). We decide he can't be all powerful because we want a God who is more like the Roman, Egyptian, Greek or Norse gods - like an immortal human in the sky. The problem is that you cannot respect a human made god because a god which is designed by you is no god whatsoever. To be God is to be alien, holy, above and beyond the flawed nature of humanity. The very fact that God became fully God and fully man in the invested incarnation of Jesus is sheer insanity - it's awe-inspiring and wonderful and should be respected. But again, some of us turn instead to other things.

I know that I have turned to other things at times. I am guilty of indulging my own humanity rather than worshiping the greatness of God. I am thankful that I serve a loving and gracious God who forgives, but I still lack a full revelation of the greatness of God. I need a true balance between the God who loves me, and the God who created a universe with words. In other words, I want to truly worship the God who deserves it - turning from my zombie habits (not eating other people's brains and hearts and fruitlessly stitching up wounds that will not heal) - and live a life of power, not of effort.

I didn't quite finish my above story. If I was to continue writing it, to tell about Jesus allegorically it would run something like this (and there's a really great series of books by Ted Dekker which tell the same kind of allegory - Black, Red and White): But not only was this man perfectly free of the zombie plague. The only man who could ever truly be free, he chose to sacrifice His freedom and become one of the zombies taking the plague upon himself so that through His death He might create the perfect antidote in His blood. For such a perfect man to die was the greatest sacrifice - a sacrifice of love so that others could be freed from the curse of being one of the walking dead. His only command being that those who received the cure were to tell others about this new, free, way to live. And so Jack was left with a choice: accept the cure and the responsibility to tell others about their savior, or to continue to live as one of the many living dead... 

You see, Jesus gave up his all - he became like us and bore a cross for all. Isaiah 53:6 "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." His resurrection provides a powerful antidote to our own eternal suffering and provides a new, resurrected way for all of us to live - As Philippians 3:10 says "I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death," And yet the only thing that is asked of us is that we spread the message about this cure. My encouragement is that you become equipped and reminded of how great a God we serve and that you too can follow his one simple command of sharing the blessing He gives to you!