Philippians 2, after describing the humility and sacrifice of the Christ, continues with these words:
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
We do not exalt Jesus to the place of Lord. His is already there. In worship, we “confess” — agree and acknowledge — his place as Lord over us and return thanks for our position as his children.
Jesus, comfort to the sorrowful
Jesus, companion to the lonely
Jesus, guide to the wanderer
Jesus, champion to the oppressed
Jesus, light for darkened eyes
Jesus, strength to the weak
Jesus, rock for the storm-tossed
Jesus, feast for the hungry
Jesus, joy of the dancer
Jesus, glory of the saved
Lord Jesus, there is nothing we need that you are not.
Draw us near to where you are.
Our circumstances can be legitimately scary. But anxiety does not have to be the result.
When I am anxious, I find that I have slipped into an “exception” mode with God — that I am believing a lie about his essential nature.
Don’t get me wrong… the great liar does not consider me important enough to shout at. No, these suggestions creep in almost as a whisper — as an exception to the character of God revealed in scripture. See if you recognize one of them…
“Sure, God is powerful. Any idiot can see that by looking around. But is he really controlling everything?”
What’s the implication here? That God is generally in charge, but in my case… he blinked. He looked away for a moment, perhaps distracted by a quasar he was working on, and he didn’t see the open manhole in my way. Later, he says, “Oh, my bad little one.” Anxiety springs from thoughts of being overlooked, forgotten.
“Of course God is loving. The cross shouts this to all mankind. But can he really love me?”
Again the attack is made on the basis of an exception. This time the exception is me. Somehow I am special, peculiar — an outlier that the shed blood of Jesus cannot quite reach. Anxiety comes from being unloveable.
“God is wise, of course, but the world is very complex. He is doing the best he can.”
This is an anthropomorphism – assigning to God the attributes of man (e.g. limited capacity). The world is an ant farm and God simply cannot keep up. The result, I worry, is that some of the ants experience less-than-optimal outcomes. I would be much better off if God was my small group leader.
Absurd when considered logically, these flaws in the attributes of God somehow lodge themselves in my gut when I am facing hard days. The answer, as always, is faith. I must reject the lies of the enemy and embrace the perfection of my Lord. If he is flawed in any way, he is not the God he claims to be. Thus the fault lies not in him, but in my beliefs about him.
When all our efforts to control life get stripped away and we hit the wall, we are reminded that our only hope is in the infinite, eternal, and unchangeable character of God.
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” Prov. 18:10
“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4
God is a spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.
I have always loved this Shorter Catechism answer to the question ‘What is God?’ It is the most fundamental question we can ask, and the answer is appropriately dense with valuable things to ponder.
This short list of God’s attributes provides rich ground for meditation. It provides comfort in the apparent chaos that haunts our days. I have spent many years learning about Him and, blessed with more, will learn further… and if I leave this world old and full of wrinkles (me, not the world) I will have barely scratched the surface of who He is and what He is like.
I am so grateful that He chose to reveal Himself through creation, His word, and especially through Jesus — Emmanuel, ‘God with us.’
If you are reading this without me, I have surely won the race for heaven. I am sorry for your sense of loss, and I probably should not have eaten all those Twizzlers. Then again, what is a movie experience without them?
Miss me as I would surely miss you, but do not worry over my soul. Even as you read this, I am gazing on the throne from which my beloved Savior reigns. I am caught up in the chorus of the angels who worship in His radiant presence and I will likely still be in the same spot when you arrive. For who, after being ushered into the presence of the glorified Christ – the lover of my soul – will be able to look away in less than a thousand years?
Remember the plan for getting together…. third level of heaven, third playground, third swing set on the left. Bring Twizzlers.