Well summer has hit us up with a whirlwind schedule.
On Sunday we made a trip to Sarah’s and participated in a porch painting.
It was a mere 94 degrees as we discovered her home faces south…affording us a full frontal exposure to the surface of the sun for the entire project.
Yesterday we hit the ground running early on.
Russ took the boys for some golf instruction while I had a little golf clinic with this lil duffer.
Theirs lasted two hours, we made it about two minutes…maybe a tad longer. She did one practice hole for a total swing count of 274 and when she finally got it in the pin, she declared we were done and ready to go home.
With all the car riding, I finished the J. B. Phillips’ book “Your God is Too Small” and I thought I would share a couple of takeaways to kick off the week.
If you read my summary of books post here –> https://www.laurareimer.net/checking-in-on-that-book-list-as-we-wrap-up-may-and-enter-the-frenzy-that-is-june/, you know I was struggling a little with this book only because it made me think hard about my beliefs.
That is not a bad thing, and I do recommend the uncomfortable stretching of making yourself read hard things. J. B. Phillips was an English Bible scholar, translator, author and clergyman. The book was written in 1952, and the language and perspective is more formal than our current easy reads on Christianity.
But I assure you, the truths are timeless and thus practical to our modern/post-modern and beyond thinking and culture. He didn’t address Christians in England in the 1950’s. He is speaking to all believers of all ages and I am so glad I pressed on through the various ways we can minimize God as we try to make Him more understandable.
He is pointing out all the ways man has contrived to scale God down, but the last half of the book supposes what it would be like if God were to make Himself available to be seen and understood and known.
Of course He did that through sending His Son and the discussion of this was helpful in reinforcing what we know and believe but often struggle to articulate.
As I inked up my last paragraph and closed the pages of this small but weighty book, I thought to share a couple of takeaways that have been on my mind since finishing the reading.
One is that God and His ways are good for everyone, every culture, every generation.
In our immersion into the current world setting, we may have come to accept in our thinking (without even being aware of it) that there is a “Christian lifestyle” that is good for those who belong to God through salvation in Jesus Christ, but that is for us and only works for us and is not something we should hope for or wish for others to assume would work for them.
The Truth is: God created this world and His ways are best for this world and for all who live in this world.
That being said and being truth, Phillips points out that Christianity was never portrayed as something that would be the dominating character of a world wide governing movement.
The numbers when Jesus Himself was preaching the Gospel were not huge and overwhelming.
Those who respond to the Truth have always been a minority, and when God visited the earth in Person the response, even to Him, was not very large. …The follower of the new way is therefore called to do all he can to spread “the good news of the Kingdom,” but to realize at all times that the success or failure of the Kingdom can never be judged by simple reference to statistics of “Christians” at an particular time.Your God is Too Small, J. B. Phillips; A Touchstone Book published by Simon and Schuster, 1997, pages 122-123
I thought how often I have been discouraged by “statistics” regarding the Church. How eye-opening this passage was to me, as well as the following statement:
In the first place Christianity – the real thing – has never been accepted on a large scale and has therefore never been in a position to control “the state of the world,” though its influence had been far from negligible. And in the second place they misunderstood the nature of Christianity. It is not to be judged by its success or failure to reform the world that rejects it. If it failed where it is accepted there might be grounds for complaint, but it does not so fail.YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL, J. B. PHILLIPS; A TOUCHSTONE BOOK PUBLISHED BY SIMON AND SCHUSTER, 1997, PAGE 123
Oh my – think of it.
Your faith does not fail based on your ability to reform a world that rejects Christ.
Has He transformed YOU, who believe in Him and seek to follow Him? That is the success of the Gospel. The good news is that, for those who believe, we are changed.
Has anyone who authentically received Christ and learned from Him not been changed?
The evidence for Christ’s power to transform lives is evidenced by the transformed lives of believers, for those who are willing to allow Him to work in them. The evidence is in our own life and the lives of those we know who were willing to pay the cost of following Him.
Phillips ends his book reminding us that we are each one responsible for our response to the salvation offered through Christ and then out of our willingness to allow Him to change us and transform us, we will have an excellent influence on those around us.
I am reminded of the verse that says we are to work out our salvation with fear and reverence (Philippians 2:12) – and by this fear/reverence it is with a deep respect for the obedience and surrender to the teachings of Jesus Christ as His Spirit is allowed to work within us to make us more like Him.
As we, individually, allow God’s Spirit to dwell in us and teach/correct/discipline/refine us one by one, we bring His influence into the places where we work with, serve, live with and love others.
I do not feel I have done the wisdom of his writing justice. I feel I have failed to share with you the powerful message of the impact Christ has had on individual lives and the testimonies and witnesses of the early Christians and those throughout the ages.
There have been those who have misrepresented Christ in the Church from the very beginning and they have done damage, but they have not destroyed the Gospel nor the True Church of Jesus Christ. The power of the Good News can not be diminished no matter how much we have messed it up.
Be strong in the Lord and grow in the knowledge of Him daily. You are the evidence of the work of Christ among us.
The knowing in your heart of the difference He has made in you, this is the power of Christ <3