WWJD? Tell a story taken from everyday life that contained a parallel to the point he was trying to make.
“Jesus was a painter. Not in the traditional sense. His artwork was not viewed with the eye nor was it made with brushstrokes and paint. His creations do not hang in exclusive galleries and His clientele is not limited to the rich. Jesus painted a picture with words spoken to all who would listen. He made the difficult to comprehend into the easy to understand. His stories were metaphors taken from everyday occurrences to give us a glimpse of heaven and a view of the nature of God the father.” *
WWDD (what will Dave do)? I will try to tell a story taken from everyday life that contains a parallel with the point I am trying to make.
Once I post this blog it will be time for the first of two neck procedures I have done every 6 months. I will be under sedation. This is important because a few years ago I was not totally sedated at one point in the procedure and the only way I can describe it is a knitting needle super-heated and electrified shoved under my skin from just above my shoulder blades to the base of my skull. You really didn’t need to know that but it never hurts to attempt to garner a little sympathy. Now that I have you cringing in your seat I want to say sorry. I didn’t want to make the procedure sound like nothing but at the same time this is a metaphor with life application, the focus shouldn’t be on me (you can still feel sorry for me if you want).
Okay, enough feeling sorry for me.
Once sedated, the doctor will locate the nerves in my neck that have been previously identified as the cause of the pain I continually experience. Those nerves will be cut using the heat created by radiofrequency. Within six months the nerves will find each other, reattach and start sending pain signals again. There is no mistaking when this happens, the pain can be so intense that I can’t think because it is all I can focus on, so it’s back to the clinic for my pilgrimage. There is one important thing to remember. The nerves are not causing the problem so the procedure is not the solution to the problem. There is improvement in my quality of life and improvement in other health conditions that are worsened by chronic pain but it is only temporary. What appears to no longer be an issue is still there.
It’s time to metaphor (wow, just created a new verb).
When Jesus used metaphors He was not explaining the accepted or the norm, He was introducing ideas that stretched the limits of people’s perception. I am not trying to suggest some form of equality with the Son of God but I am trying to employ His way of making the “difficult to comprehend into the easy to understand.” Often we see repentance as a “stop sinning and you will make God happy” process. Sounds good, sounds Godly but is it really the true meaning of repentance? Like the procedure on my neck, is cutting out sin really cutting out the problem, or is it only addressing the symptom leaving the underlying problem there to return at any time?
What needs to change in us, what we do or who we are?
The truth is both. If who we are (the problem) changes, what we do (the symptom) will also change. If what we do is all that changes, who we are remains the same and the problem is left unaddressed. Mankind’s problem is often described as separation between God and man caused by sin, but is this really the problem? There is no question in my mind that sin separates us from God, but addressing sin in our lives only covers over the symptoms of a much deeper problem. We are caught in a circle that can only be stopped by seeing what is really at the root of the issue. Sin causes us to be separated from God but more importantly our separation from God causes us to sin.
In the beginning…
Adam and Eve, before the fruit incident, relied on God for direction as they did not know what was good and what was evil. The decision to eat the fruit went against God and therefore was sinful but the ramifications of this sin were far greater than this single act. The change from God directed actions and choices to self-guided living has created a continuous state of wrongdoing for all humans. We target what we see as wrong in a never ending attempt to eradicate the symptoms of the real problem, separation from God.
Is repentance about turning from sin or is it about turning to God?
It’s about both. Like my neck we must treat the symptoms but to truly put an end to the issues the problem must be addressed. The life of a follower of Christ is about the transformation of who we are to who God wants us to be so we can again rely on God to point out what is good and what is evil.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
* Quote from “Blueprint” by J David Peever