Having resolved internet problems, we’re back at blogging.
When Oliver Cromwell sat for a portrait, he admonished the painter to describe him truly, all imperfections noted. Unlike him, we want our photographs “re-touched”—blemishes removed and wrinkles erased. Like actress Claudette Colbert, we want our best side to the camera.
Blessed rather are those who accept their humanity, laugh at their peccadilloes and humbly seek forgiveness of their sins. God has never condemned us for admitting our mistakes or withheld forgiveness from a penitent sinner.
Learning to live that way baffles unbelievers—and not a few Christians. How can we be so transparent about our failures? Won’t people laugh at us? Why should we confess our sins to one another James 5:16? Won’t they make a scandal of it? How can we stop making excuses why we can’t do certain things and find ways we can? Isn’t it easier to live inside our limitations?
Regarding discipleship, unbelievers can’t fathom letting Jesus determine our lifestyle and belief—as Paul forcefully demanded in I Timothy 4:16. The very idea, so instinctive to New Testament Christianity, terrifies the unsaved. It makes them shudder to have their need of anyone, let alone God, publicly acknowledged. Henry Kissinger heard Israeli Abba Eban speak. With Cicerone eloquence, aided by a perfect British accent, Eban impressed everyone, Kissinger especially, with his heavily-accented English. No other American or British speaker had so forcefully reminded Kissinger he wasn’t a native-born American.
This writer first heard Eban in 1967, when the then-Israeli Foreign Minister arrived in New York. From his very first statement, eloquence flowed. This writer also had James S. Stewart as his model for preaching. He wanted to imitate Stewart’s eloquence. He has never achieved it; it has never stopped being his goal.
Christians often want to imitate Jesus; he is, after all, the most celebrated religious leader in history. Problem is, the prospect intimidates us into retreat. Then there are the spiritual challenges everywhere in the Bible, especially those outside our life-experience or intellectual level. Though our real problem is more that we’re: content with what we’ve become; we fear what promises to make us what we’ve never been; indeed, we instinctively say we can “never be that way.” – End Part I –
Books at: www.createspace.com. (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)
Apologetics book: Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1
Books also at www.amazon.com (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley)
The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741
Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153
Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349