The whole of the Biblical narrative is a portrait of the Savior who has come and is coming again to reconcile his people to the Father. The portrait in its entirety is ugly and broken. The colors never stay within the lines. But the work of redemption is holding everything together, becoming a gateway into a bigger and better future for God’s people.
I’ll be honest with you, I struggle to believe this at times. That all of the pain and the chaos is meaningful and not meaningless. I am the man who declares to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief.” This is the foundation I’m standing on as a writer and I’d like to invite you into a little bit of my story.
The Lion and the Dragon
Several years ago I was listening to a pastor read from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. He comes to the point in the story where Eustace is recounting to Edmund how he had become a dragon (because of his greed) and how he was relieved of his Dragonness. He tells Edmund that the skins were thick and endless. No matter how hard he tried he could not remove the skins himself. He scratched and tore and ripped to no avail. Then, when his hope was spent, Aslan comes and tells Eustace, “You have to let me undress you.” He grabs a hold of Eustace and begins to relieve him of his illness. His claws, as sharp and violent as they were, in all tenderness tear the dragon skins effortlessly from Eustace’s body, one layer at a time. It hurt Eustace to feel the skins come off but the pain was momentary. His relief was much greater than the pain of his Dragonness and, consequently, the joy of his relief exceeded his greed.
I share this with you because this has been my experience. The Lion has grabbed a hold of my Dragonness and he is relentless to tear away my illness and throw me into the joy of his Relief. My Dragonness is fierce and dangerous. It creeps into my relationship to Christ, family and friends. It tempts me to lie, cheat and steal. If you get to know me, you will experience it for yourself. To say the least my relief has been painful and, surely, I am far from getting out of the operating room. Each day is a process of undressing, exposing the remaining shrapnel of my sin and lust and holding tightly to the love of the Lion as he tears the skins away with mercy and grace. Piece by piece. Layer by layer.
This is the ground work of my passion as a writer. It’s the fact that the Gospel is like the puddle of water that we assumed wouldn’t soak our shoes but, once again, we underestimated its depth. The Gospel is never shallow. It searches the dark caverns of our hearts and fills them up with the light of the glory of Christ. But the best part is that Jesus isn’t afraid to see what we’ve buried inside of ourselves. Even more, he isn’t going to be embarrassed or shame us because he wore our embarrassment and shame for us. The beard was pulled from his face, a crown of thorns he wore in humble submission and he was nailed between two thieves to bleed out because his love for us exceeded the shame of the cross that belonged to us.
Much of my experience as a Christian has been spent unlearning so much of what I thought to be true about the Gospel. I have come to understand that my brokenness and my woundedness will teach me so much more about the grace of God than my put-togetherness ever will. That “Jesus plus nothing equals everything.” That my failure to be good is replaced by Jesus’ being good for me. That the Good News is that there is a Messiah and it isn’t me.
Seeing Jesus biblically is important to me because if I am looking at him any other way, I’m back to where I started. It is easier than we think to make Jesus into a slave master who kills us instead of being the savior who dies in our place. His grace exceeds our depravity. His love conquers our rebellion. He calls us sons and daughters for free.
So much more could be said, but my goal through my writing is to see a celebration of imperfect people limping and dancing and throwing themselves about in the merciful work of a perfect Savior. I don’t want to waste the opportunity to grow in the community of Jesus and delight in our justification. I want to be a part of the people of the Final Verdict, singing shamelessly loud that we are holy for free, forever, and continually invite the law keepers and law breakers alike to join us as we leave our dragon skins behind.
I am thankful to be joining forces with Theology Mix. I am in prayer for this community and I look forward to learning and growing with you in the good work of God in Christ. The Gospel is an unfragmented love-force that encompasses all of life and Theology Mix is a testimony to that truth. Knowing this, our discussions about soteriology and sin to politics and baseball are of infinite value. The segregation of the sacred and the secular is abolished when we live inside the story of the Sacred kissing the face of the secular. It’s the definition of our freedom and the only hope for humanity. Again, I’m glad to be here.