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Friday, March 7, 2014

The Danger of Distorted Vision

I don’t see well. I didn't know that I didn't see well until I was about 10 when I got glasses. How I functioned before that I don't know. It was a serious hindrance playing team sports so early in high school I got the most hideous athletic glasses you've ever seen. They didn't improve my image, but they worked well for basketball. However, in football they fogged up terribly. I had to come off the field often because I couldn't see at all. That was no great loss, but we didn't have many extra players.
When I was around 16 a family friend recruited me to play Santa Claus for a local kindergarten class. I'm way more "equipped" to play that role now but with some pillows and a hat to cover up my hair, I could reasonably pass. For some reason, I thought my glasses didn't go with the costume so I took them off. When I walked in and saw people, I immediately assumed I was with the children and yelled, "Ho, ho, ho!" but it was just some parents and teachers. It was pretty embarrassing.
Not being able to see can be annoying, or embarrassing, and in some cases dangerous. How we see God critically influences our ability to trust him and know him. The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature but several things influence that way we see him. For one, electronic distractions get in the way of us paying attention to any one thing for very long. But more dangerous is what David Wells describes in his book God in the Whirlwind, about how our culture influences how we understand love. The apostle John said, "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10) Jesus sacrificial death defines love according to the Bible. It was necessary because our sin invokes the righteous wrath of God. We stand accountable to God and in eternal danger unless we accept God's love expressed to us in the cross. 
Our culture defines God's love differently. Wells argues that many would now say that God’s love means that:
He is there for us when we need him. He is there for what we need from him. He is love in that he gives inward comfort and makes us feel better about ourselves. He is love in that he makes us happy, that he gives us a sense of fulfillment, that he gives us stuff, that he heals us, (and) that he does everything to encourage us each and every day.
That view of God and God's love distorts and misleads. Sunday at Bethany Place we will examine an incident in Jesus' life that contains the power to explode our misguided ideas about who Jesus is and create the possibility for a Hi Definition Faith. You can see the scripture and outline here.

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