Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jesus Idols

     The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.  He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers:... The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger?"
     Interesting. This passage of scripture in Nahum not only speaks of our Lord as One who is slow to anger... But also great in power with the ability to cause chaos in nature. We don't often put the two together. We like to separate the qualities of directed strength vs gentle kindness because we don't think they meld quite right. Slow to anger rich in mercy... Yet seemingly full of wrath and Hell fire... And the two go together? I think we need to be careful with how we separate these truths. Whether it's just a thought we don't conceive, or an action we take in conversation, this subtle change we slap to the attributes of our Lord is a slippery slope.  We need to watch out.
 "  ...His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.  The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies."
      So often I think we like to "Use" Jesus in a way that fits our particular issues or desires. We try to fit Him in an easy-to-understand mold. For example, we sometimes like to use our "Meek and Mild" Jesus. He is gentle, soft, and does not raise His voice or challenge much, if anything.  This is the Jesus we find in children's story books and at Sunday school. 
     We often like to pull out our "Judgement Jesus".  Anybody who gives us grief or are sinning, in our eyes, meet this Jesus. We like to pull this one out when we have to let folks know what's coming if they don't "Turn from their wicked ways".  
      And we can't forget the "Love and Peace Jesus" either. This one is probably most common.  This Jesus, of course, loves everybody. This Jesus accepts everybody and everything while ignoring your guilt and reminding you just how special you are, just the way you are; "Simply love and accept others and yourself".  
     Anyway, there are others, but I think you get the idea. The Bible warns us against false idols... Do you suppose we set up for ourselves idols when we keep trying to worship a Jesus of our choosing? Should we not be applying the warning against worship  of false gods, when we pull out certain things from Scripture about our Savior,  and discard the rest?
     Christ's attributes work together beautifully. Our God is not weak and yielding, nor is He abounding in anger and wrath towards his children.  Instead of trying to use our Savior's various qualities to our advantage, why don't we give Him credit as the One our Scripture portrays; the whole picture given to us through His word; the God who cannot be contained?  Why is it we refuse to accept  scripture as a whole, and instead pick out bits and pieces?  
      Our Lord is mighty yet gentle; wholly just yet loving; completely righteous yet forgiving. He is Three and yet One; here with us now, yet unbound by the confines of time; the great "I Am".  He is simple enough that a child may understand and trust Him... yet so grand and complex that our minds could never fathom His limitless and unbound power and greatness.  
     We must not let ourselves "See" Christ for who we want Him to be... Let's see Him for who He is, then step forward and be forever amazed by His greatness.  

*Scripture taken from Nahum 1:3-4b and 5-8 KJV