“But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” – Revelation 5:5
Jesus Christ does not care how orthodox our theology and practice are, if we live as a walking contradiction. Even in the world, there is usually a penalty for being a walking contradiction. In the legal realm, one who declares an oath of honesty in court but follows it up with a lie has committed perjury and can go to prison for five years. In the financial and business world, this deception is called false advertising at best and fraud or money laundering at worst, resulting in at least huge fines and up to decades in prison. We have laws and penalties for this in the earthly realm; it is no surprise that God deals strictly with the spiritual equivalent. Presenting ourselves as something we are not in the spiritual, moral, and relational spheres is called hypocrisy. Jesus spoke of consequences, even hell, if we refuse to seek honesty, sincerity, and a right heart.
Part of laying a claim on being born again, on being a disciple of Jesus and a child of God, is that we embrace a life that is set apart. The Apostle John said, “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” namely, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:15-16). Yet, we can find threads of worldly thinking woven throughout much of the church that bears Jesus’ name in our day. It is not so much doctrine as attitude. Emphasis on “my journey” and “my story” is becoming common in the church, right in the midst of a generation of selfies and self-focused social media pages. Elevating “my story” allows me to believe “my truth.” Yet, the Bible is all about “the story,” primarily of God, not of me, so we can know “the truth.”
We all have a story, and that story may be precious and worth telling, if it is chiefly about Jesus Christ, not ourselves. If we call ourselves “Christian” yet our story has not been consumed by His, something is fundamentally wrong. Does that not qualify as hypocrisy? Isn’t the fixation on “my story” simply the pride of life? I recently heard the testimony of a tribal man, who had been known as a murderer and a cannibal, but is now a blood-washed disciple of Jesus. His testimony gives a fresh view into God’s story, because it is all about the power of Jesus to save “a wretch like me.” Paul told the Corinthians, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5).
Revelation chapter five places us in the throne room of heaven. We hear a question: “Who is worthy…?” An angel asks it, and even angels cannot raise their hands in reply. The beloved apostle John weeps much, because neither himself nor any heavenly creature is worthy enough for the simple task of opening the scroll. In the same way, it is not as though you and I have done some good things, but Jesus came and did the best thing. Our goodness is not sufficient to please God even in the tiniest task. We need Someone Else who is altogether worthy to be at work in each facet of our lives. The Lion of Judah, who is in fact a Lamb that was slain, comes forth; He is the hero of God’s story. He saves and solves the hopeless dilemma of heaven. Where are you and I in the scene? At most, we see ourselves as a powerless person mourning the gap between us and God’s requirement, until finally a Savior wipes the tears away and does what only He can.
Is your story swallowed up by His today? Lord Jesus, at the center of our lives and the core of our story, let it be You, not us.
The Rock Church