The World, Me and Jesus

The World, Me and Jesus (1,177)

June 14th, 2011

Complexity is not the presence of intelligence, but rather, the confounding of it.

I love it when people turn to me and say, “It’s just not that simple, Jonathan.” I always know I’m on the right track. Bluntly, if it’s any more complicated than what I’ve managed to conjure in my mind, it will never become a reality to me, but instead, something I am impersonating, not embodying.

This is the main reason I am a follower of Jesus. Surrounded by theologians who continued to pile of scrolls of personal insight on what truly was the mind of God, Jesus succeeded in boiling down the heart of his heavenly Father into delightful sound bytes. One of my favorites is the scripture: “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

This is a snapshot of how things work, how I should react to them, and the source of ultimate resolution. (Or else it’s just a verse of scripture that someone quotes en route to establishing point two of a three-point sermon.)

I guess we should begin with the world, which is rather large, by the way. The world is tribulation. What does that mean? Some people interpret “tribulation” as pain and conflict. That would be a dark representation of a system which was constructed to have enough difficulty to weed out the losers and enough possibility to encourage the winners. That’s the world.

· Seed time and harvest.

· Summer and winter.

· Day and night.

· Cold and heat.

It is a “stirred pot” of experiences which, to the naked eye, looks like an emotional gruel rather than a tasty meal. The only way we even know that life is edible is that we happened to be there when the ingredients were put into the pot, and even though it may not look terribly tasty, we know it is stock full of nutrients.

The world’s unpredictability creates an even playing field for us all, so that if we are willing to learn the ways of the natural order, we can succeed. If we become overly positive, our little slogans will be dashed by a new onslaught of reality. If we’re overly negative, we will only see the darker areas of life which confirm our suspicions. And if we are overly practical, we may miss a subtle nuance which could give us the germination of a new seed of notion. It’s not about being positive, negative or practical. Once we understand that the world is a whirling windstorm of tribulation and diversity of experiences, we have only one function: “Be of good cheer.”

“But Jonathan, how can we be of good cheer when there’s so much pain and anguish on the earth?”

Chill out. You aren’t going to solve the pain and anguish—but what you can do is find a way in every circumstance to enjoy yourself as much as you possibly can. Because without that joy you will not have the strength to endure. And it is “he who endures to the end” that is saved.

What IS good cheer? Good cheer is ignoring present circumstances in favor of finding our own sense of well being in every situation, while tapping the talents we have to improve our lives.

That’s it. That’s all I have to do. Better yet, it is honestly all I CAN do.

People are hungry in Africa? Since I’m not going to be traveling there soon, I might want to give a loaf of bread to a hungry person down the street and hope that it trickles down.

I see some evil in the world that’s against the Bible? All I can do is work on my own flavor, salt and light—and be the best example I can possibly achieve. Because life is a visual medium, not a verbal one. That’s why the Bible says “the light of the body is the eye.” If people can’t see it they won’t believe it just because you say it.

The world is full of tribulation—explosions of abstract occurrences which often don’t jive with our desires. Our only defense? “Be of good cheer.”

Because I will tell you bluntly: the loss of a sense of humor is the absence of God.

And the reason we can so readily take this position is because Jesus, a dear friend of ours, has overcome the world. This is not a theory. Jesus took on the most ardent religious system of his day; the most ruthless dictatorship in Rome; a permeating ignorance of the true nature of God; the constant presence of vicious poverty and disease, and oblivion as a way of life amongst the masses—and he brought about a revolution of love manifested through the ultimate defeat of death through resurrection.

It’s a pretty healthy résumé. I think he’s qualified for the job of “overcomer.”

And how did he overcome the world? By laughing at tribulation and waiting for God to sort it out. How brilliant!

So it comes down to the world, me and Jesus. And the reason “I” am placed before Jesus is that his ways and words won’t get any attention without an intelligent follower demonstrating them—living them out through a successful life. It works.

I’m not afraid of tribulation because without a constant upheaval in life, change becomes a concept instead of our chosen living space. And without me “being of good cheer,” fretting and worrying become viable options, when actually they are truly our enemies. And without the evidence of Jesus overcoming the world, we are a people who talk about hope but end up miserably defeated.

So if I will stop complaining about the world and its ups and downs, I may get a giggle in my spirit that opens the door and gives God the time to let Jesus overcome the world. I like that.

The world, me and Jesus.

Pretty simple, huh? Of course, if it were any more complicated, we’d have to have a committee meeting about it, and then we KNOW nothing would get done.

Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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