Oh, for goodness sake – not the polar vortex again!
Had to dig out the sweaters again this morning. Turn up the thermostat to help the Propane Dealers Retirement Fund. And hope the weatherman’s wrong about snow.
But I’ve got no right to gripe. Some cities are running out of salt for the streets. My poor friends in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston, New York – they’ve been whomped with storm after storm this winter.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
You’ve got to feel bad for Dorothy, and the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. I mean, they went through so much to get to the Emerald City, all so they could see the Wizard of Oz. He had some great press releases didn’t he? He was known as The Fearsome Oz, The Mighty Oz, and he ruled the Kingdom of Oz with that huge reputation. And when they got to his Throne Room, they were greeted by this booming voice, and bright lights, and mysterious smoke everywhere. The wizard behind the curtain was intimidating…until Dorothy’s little dog, Toto, (Remember?) pulled away the curtain around the wizard. There was no giant wizard; just a little old professor talking into a microphone and cranking wheels to make big lights and big smoke. He was all image!
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Big Image, Little Person.”
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Revelation 3:1. God is describing a group of believers, and He says this: “You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” Here are believers who appeared to be very alive, until Jesus pulled the curtain. They were dead. He talks about another group of believers in Revelation 3:17-18, “You say ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich.” You think you are; you’re not. “I can help you become rich, white clothes to wear so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes.” You think you can see, but you’re blind.
These Christians with such a great image; they needed some major repentance and repairs. In fact, in verse 20, Jesus says, “I’m standing at the door. I’m knocking, trying to get in.” What Jesus saw were believers who were actually shutting Him out. It’s a pretty sobering passage here to think there could be such a gap between what we appear to others and what Jesus knows we really are.
It’s really a wakeup call to pray a bold prayer; a risky prayer, “Jesus, what do You see when You see me? Would you show me what I’m really like.” It’s pretty easy to build a strong spiritual image and say the right words, go to the right meetings, work real hard, give generously, and all the while you keep turning all those wheels with all the smoke and mirrors. But realize none of that impresses Jesus. He’s still behind the curtain the whole time whispering, “You’ve got to give up this mask-this game. Quit sending out your press releases to your friends and your fans. Look in the mirror and see what you really look like.”
Here’s the thing about this fantasy. Christian organizations can be pumping out great PR, but maybe the image is much bigger than the reality. Most of all, you and I as individual believers can be living this dangerous deception, but we’re being lovingly pursued by a Savior of whom the Bible says in Hebrews 4:13, “Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.
There is a great freedom when you finally let Jesus know and show you who you really are. Finally the performance is over. The mask can come off. The transformation can begin. The real Jesus can only help the real you. And you can begin the work of having only one you. That means being the same disciple of Jesus when you’re alone, when you’re in front of people, when you’re with your family, when you’re with your friends, when you’re with your fans…there’s only one you.
It’s a wonderful way to live having no fear that somebody’s going to pull the curtain. Let Jesus have the real you, not the superficial you. And then you won’t need the curtain any more.