Sunday, May 17, 2009
By Ramone - April 28, 2009
This picture began in a ministers meeting when we were singing a song asking the Holy Spirit to pour out afresh on us. I began to see a clay vessel breaking and the water of His life flowing from out of it. I think it was different and more heartbreaking than what we were thinking of as we sang, asking for His "outpouring" on us. He longed (and longs) to pour out His Spirit, but He will do it through our brokenness... because the world is broken, people who do not know Him are broken. And if we will be honest with ourselves (Christians), we are broken, too. We need Him. He is our life, not us. His life pouring out of us is going to break who we thought we were and a lot of other things. But it will bring life. And the broken people in the world will notice that, hey, they're not alone. We're broken, too, with them, and hey, we know someone who Himself is the healing for all our brokenness.
Thank You, Jesus!
At the beginning of April, I had written a bit about this in a conversation on the FAF forum, in which the topic of "following Christ's example" had come up:
The "perfection" of the New Testament is spoken in terms of faith and love. Not sinlessness. Sin isn't good and we've got to ask for His help getting rid of it in our lives, but the gospel is not about sin-management... and if we make the gospel just about that, we'll keep fighting a losing battle while trying to appear holier and happier -- and the world sees right through that (often a lot clearer than we do).*****
A lot of us Christians (likely most of us) still look at "grace" as a path to keeping the law -- that "faith" came in order to help us obey the tutor better, so to speak. Hey, I fall into this thinking naturally, too, by the way! We don't realize that our message is not perfection or some magic way to be perfect. Our message is not that the Spirit will indwell us for the purpose of making us law-keepers. Instead our message is grace. Our message is that Christ has done it for us already! And now, as children of God, we can be free to grow up looking up to Daddy, growing up as His child.
The perfection of the gospel is a perfection of faith -- of trusting in God no matter what -- and a perfection of love -- of letting Him love through us and choosing His love instead of choosing what we rationalize as being "justice" for ourselves. What speaks best to the unbelieving world is those very two things -- faith and love -- because it is in these two things that they've got huge holes in their hearts. These are things that the world cannot give, but that can only be found in God.
And, often these things come out best through the cracks of our weaknesses, our trials, our tribulations, our brokennesses, our "falls from grace", so to speak. We try to cover up our weaknesses and present what we think are our "strengths" to the world (our good behavior, etc.). But our "strengths" aren't really strengths, so the world sees our frequent failures and shakes its head or gets a good laugh at our expense. In contrast, Paul boasted of his weaknesses and thus proclaimed Christ's strength.
In Christianity we try to draw these "perfect pictures" of the Bible and paradise which are meant to be inspiring, but often they simply feel lifeless, dead, and uninspiring. I think we should paint our weaknesses and brokennesses more. Like David's psalms. A lot of folks in the world can, do, and will relate to that better.
Unconsciously we think we must be perfect, and we try really hard to be perfect – for ourselves, and also so that we can be "like Christ". But the truth is that we are all broken and have cracks, even after we meet Jesus. The good news is that He is the perfect one, not us! If we honestly recognize & admit our problems and give them to Him, He will pour His living water through our "cracks" to other broken people in the world who are just like us and are thirsty for Him. If we hide or deny our cracks, not only will we not be healed by His living water flowing through them, but the world will also die of thirst.
• "Perfection" (at Heart For Adventists)
• "Admitting Weakness" (at Weeping Jeremiahs)
"...out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water". My vessel (me) must be broken before the water will flow.
holy cow batman! This is amazing. One of my most favorite of what you paint. I'm so glad you do this, this painting ministry!! :)