Faith in the present risenness of Jesus carries with it life-changing implications for the gritty routine of daily life. Christianity is not simply a message but an experience of faith that becomes a message, explicitly offering hope, freedom from bondage, and a new realm of possibility. As Roger Garaudy, the famous communist philosopher, once remarked about the Nazarene: “I do not know much about this man, but I do know that his whole life conveys this one message: ‘anyone at any moment can start a new future.’” The present risenness of Jesus as “life-giving Spirit” means that I can cope with anything. I am not on my own. Relying not on my own limited reserves but on the limitless power of the risen Christ I can stare down not only the imposter and the pharisee, but even the prospect of my impending death…The dark riddle of life is illuminated in Jesus; the meaning, purpose, and goal of everything that happens to us, and the way to make it all count can be learned only from the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Living in the awareness of the risen Jesus is not a trivial pursuit for the bored and lonely or a defense mechanism enabling us to cope with the stress and sorrow in life. It is the key that unlocks the door to grasping the meaning of existence. All day and every day we are being reshaped into the image of Christ. Everything that happens to us is designed to this end. Nothing that exists can exist beyond the pale of His presence…nothing is irrelevant to it, nothing is without significance in it. Brennan Manning, Chapter Six
Talk about your possibility thinking.
Norman Vincent Peale, step aside. Robert Schuller, move over.
The Gospel of Grace, which insists that Jesus of Nazareth, the Reigning King of the Universe, is always with us, never leaves us, never forsakes us, and always believes in us, has such potential for us lowly earth-dwellers, who knew that Schuller and Peale were actually onto something this good?
Too bad I threw these ‘positive thinking’ guys under the bus back in the day. I guess I should have been listening more carefully.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I still believe the ‘possibility thinking’ message can contain great error when we take the Gospel of Grace and start believing that our Loving God will bless just about anything we put our minds to. That, my friends, is not the direction we should go with this thing.
To think that just because God is madly in love with me equates with God blessing every little whim I come up with is really missing the point of this possibility message found in the Gospel of Grace.
As I see it, the biblical approach to this truth of the present risenness of Christ is to understand that once I embrace the amazing fact that Jesus is with me 24-7, I’m now free to follow His will for my life, not the other way around. In other words, Jesus is not standing right beside me so that He can be my magic genie who produces miracles on my behalf. In truth, it’s the other way around. Jesus Christ is with me so that He can lead and guide me in His pathway of wisdom, righteousness, truth and glory. I’m now successful in this life because I’m choosing to follow Him and His way, not because He’s following me! Get it?
So true possibility thinking means that ‘All Things Are Possible’ for those who choose to prefer and defer their lives to the present risenness of Christ. And once I’ve chosen, with my free will, to fully submit to the perfect will of my Loving Father; (over the will of my little pea-brain) the possibilities are limitless. In truth, living in the present risenness of Christ means that nothing in this world; good, bad or ugly, can ultimately defeat me! Nothing, including my own death, will touch me or scar me permanently! I can live freely and lightly in this world, knowing that all possibilities for living life abundantly in Christ are still on the table. No good God-option is ever closed.
Because He lives, we can face tomorrow!
My prayer: Hot dog, Jesus! This Gospel of Grace sounds way too good to be true. But it’s not! I choose this day to prefer and defer to Your present risenness in my life. Lead on, Jesus. Lead on. And with You in charge, ALL possibilities are now possible! For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Why is it I’ve missed the biblical truth found within the ‘possibility message’ preached originally by well-known pastors like Robert Schuller (The Hour of Power) and Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking)? How can I avoid the gross misuse of the possibility message, eliminating the concepts of ‘name it-claim it’, but still revel in the biblical truth that with God beside me (the present risenness of Christ), ALL things are now possible?
So what is God speaking to you today as you live as Abba’s child in the midst of His Gospel of Grace?
Over an eleven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at God’s Gospel of Grace; Exploring the Good News of God’s Unconditional Love & Acceptance. We are using Brennan Manning’s classic book, Abba’s Child – The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging as our guide. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Gospel of Grace home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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