Christ Who Is Your Life

Why Jesus is My Hero #19 of 52

Friday marked the end of two fantastic years studying on the Cornhill Training Course, meaning lots of fond farewells. Naturally, the “what has been your highlight?” question got asked more than a few times over the course of the evening. One of my friends reminded me of a great lecture by David Jackman directing us towards five little words in Colossians chapter 3:

“When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)

“Christ who is your life”. It’s a great truth. It reminds us that life is really nothing to do with us and everything to do with Jesus. He is our life. He’s the one who is great; he’s the one who is righteous in God’s sight; he’s the one whose performance really counts; he’s the one whose glory we’re seeking; he’s the one who it was all created through and for. It’s Christ who is our life.

It’s hugely liberating. It allows us to embrace the weakness of the flesh, as my friend put it. It allows us to own our imperfection, and admit to it, rather than trying to deny it and pretend we’re better than we really are. That’s really been the whole purpose behind this “Why Jesus is My Hero” series – to make much of Christ and less of myself.

So next time you feel the need to justify yourself when somebody accuses you of wrongdoing – next time you feel yourself agitated that somebody else in the room is getting all the attention and you’re not – next time you’re beginning to think and act as though it’s all about you, remember that it’s really not. It’s Christ who is your life – Jesus is the one it’s all for. And be set free from the tyranny of trying to make yourself seem important.

Christ is my life. That’s why he’s my hero.

Covered

Why Jesus is My Hero #18 of 52

No, the title of this post doesn’t refer to an awful attempt at a free magazine from this week’s episode of the UK Apprentice. I’m referring to the fact that the Christian’s confidence in life isn’t built upon our own ability to improve and do better and impress God, but on being completely covered by Jesus’ righteousness – on the knowledge that through faith in Christ, when God looks at us, he doesn’t see our shoddy attempts with all our failings and weakness, instead he sees the perfect obedience and loving perfection of Jesus. We’re covered. Technically it’s what’s referred to as “imputed righteousness” – Jesus’ righteousness is transferred to our spiritual bank account.

One tiny example of this that I’m loving this week is thinking about Jesus’ prayer life. I’m utterly hopeless at praying – in fact, I’m utterly hopeless these days at anything that involves sitting down and concentrating for more than about 30 seconds. I just physically can’t do it – my mind is all over the place, anywhere except on God. Yet Jesus was famous for going off for all night prayer sessions, committing his life into God’s hands and seeking his wisdom for important decisions like choosing the twelve disciples.

It’s awesome to know that against my heavenly scorecard is that kind of perfectly committed prayer life. It’s also yet another reason why it’s so awesome that Jesus prays for us – to know that he’s perfectly dedicated in his prayers on our behalf, never distracted or giving up because he’s bored.

That’s why Jesus is my hero – I certainly need one!

My Undigital Sabbath

I’ve been increasingly aware recently that I’m fast becoming a serious information addict – constantly refreshing tech news sites and Facebook and whatever else it is in search of a nugget of news to give me the next brief high. Tim Challies talks about this in his great new book “The Next Story“, quoting an interview with a psychiatrist called Dr. Edward Hallowell about so-called Attention Deficit Trait:

“It’s a condition induced by modern life, in which you’ve become so busy attending to so many inputs and outputs that you become increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, restless, and over the long term, underachieving.”

All this has had a knock-on effect for my relationship with God as well – without doubt I find it harder to concentrate on anything for very long these days, which includes Bible reading and prayer. Deciding I could ignore the problem no longer, this weekend I decided to have a kind of digital detox – I thought I’d try going internet & laptop free for 24 hours from sundown on Saturday night, possibly with the intention of making this a weekly experience.

It turned out to be a really valuable time. It was at once easier than I expected and harder than I expected. Easier than expected, because I certainly didn’t feel I was missing out on anything important – certainly nothing that couldn’t wait until Sunday evening. But harder than I expected, because with nothing else planned instead I found myself really bored. I find reading anything for more than about a chapter pretty hard these days, so that didn’t pass much of the time. I went for a jog, which was certainly a good thing, but again, didn’t exactly take long.

I ended up being so bored that I cleaned the bathroom – something long overdue. There’s probably an important lesson there. How often do I end up using Google Reader as a way to put off doing the jobs I ought to be doing instead?

So will I repeat the exercise next weekend? Almost certainly. I might relax the requirements a little and allow the laptop, but with wi-fi turned off – there were several moments where I thought it would be good to use the time to write something, which wasn’t very practical without the laptop. But overall it felt like a really positive experience, and definitely was good for my spiritual health.

Christian Video Games Blog

Just a reminder that I still blog once a week or so over at my Christian video games blog, Old Testament Adventures. My vision is for it to be more general blog about all of the world’s Christian video games news – it’s just that right now there isn’t a whole lot of news in that space. But if you ever come across anything Christian video game related, do drop me a line!

Here’s a recent article giving you a taster of what I’ve been up to on my own Christian video game, Ebenezer: Character closeups.

Sovereignty and Procrastination

Why Jesus is My Hero #17 of 52

In his classic book Desiring God, John Piper includes this quote from Jonathan Edwards: “Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God.” It’s a sentiment I couldn’t agree with more – it’s what gets me out of bed in the mornings, knowing that no matter what’s going on, even when the world is crashing down around my ears, God is in control and he is working all things for the good of those who love him.

The idea of sovereignty at one level means that God is always able to bring his will to pass – nothing can stop him accomplishing what he has purposed. If he’s said he’ll work all things for good, then he will – he cannot be thwarted in bringing his will to realisation. Isaiah 46 says this:

“Remember this and stand firm,

recall it to mind, you transgressors,

remember the former things of old;

for I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me,

declaring the end from the beginning

and from ancient times things not yet done,

saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

calling a bird of prey from the east,

the man of my counsel from a far country.

I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;

I have purposed, and I will do it.”

It’s an awesome vision of the mighty God. I love it.

But it’s been really brought home to me this week how transcendently different from me this is. I am decidedly not God. Sadly, for me, the mere act of willing something to be cannot bring it to pass. Even the simple desire of wanting to put my all into one final talk for my last preaching practice opportunity at college proved beyond my powers to enact. I had a real motivational crisis – not doubt partly because of being a bit ill.

But it taught me a valuable lesson: I’m utterly dependent on God. I cannot and must not take pride in the things I do and achieve – because it’s only by God’s grace that any of it happens. He is the sovereign God whose will always comes to pass. I’m just a puny human whose will sometimes comes to pass, at least to some extent, not always precisely to the full degree of how I’d hoped it to work out.

All of this got me thinking about that moment in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus said to his Father: “not my will, but yours”. Isn’t that an incredible moment? I can’t even quite get my head around what that means. As God, Jesus is pretty proficient at getting his will enacted. All he has to do is rebuke the storm and it calms itself in an instant. All he has to do is say the word, and the dead man Lazarus rises from his tomb. And yet here he choses to forgo his own will and submit it to the Father’s. Once again, the Father’s will comes to pass – he is proved Sovereign once more. And yet I see something truly beautiful in that act of submission by the Son.

That’s why Jesus is my hero.

John Piper on the Technological Temptation to Distraction

I came across this great and very timely exhortation from John Piper to watch out for the technological temptation to distraction posed by things like our iPhones and the Internet at large, which meshes very well with a lot of stuff I’ve been thinking about lately. Here’s a quote he refers to from Robert Murray M’Cheyne:

‘Brethren, if you are ever so much taken up with any enjoyment that it takes away your love for prayer or for your Bible, or that it would frighten you to hear the cry: “The Bridegroom cometh:” and you would say: Is He come already? then you are abusing this world. Oh! sit loose to this world’s joy: “The time is short.”‘