I heard the Lord laugh the other day, and the comfort it brought me was amazing. Amidst the backdrop of four unparalleled months of gloom and doom, to suddenly hear that sound in my spirit helped me breathe again. I, (along with the rest of the world), was feeling totally overwhelmed by the rapid barrage of issues that exploded to the surface in June.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Psalm 2:1-4
What is Jesus laughing at, exactly? “Derision” is a mocking snicker; a scornful sound, not shared amusement. Apparently, there’s a discrepancy between man’s priorities and God’s. We’ve got an image/imagination problem.
From infancy, we know our own constantly changing looks. Even though the mirror intimately imprints the shape of face and body on our memory, it’s not that simple. Personal biases and preferences shape the conceit we hold of ourselves and our interaction in the world; who we think we are. Have you ever had the disagreeable experience of getting some kind of official photo taken through the harsh, black-and-white lens of objectivity? (Saints alive, I look old!) When our cherished internal icon doesn’t line up with the perspective of others, we get highly offended.
Challenge someone’s Diva bent or narcissistic attitude and you can start a conflagration. Remember Shadrach, Meshsach and Abedneggo? (Daniel 3). The Babylonian King make a golden image (of himself) and demanded that at the sound of the music, all bow and worship it (him). These three good Jewish boys refused to play the game, so they were thrown into an inferno. Minutes later, King and Co. note that the boys are not burning, but are loosed and walking around, and another “like the son of man” is in the furnace with them.
In the New Testament, riots were ignited when the image of the famous goddess Diana was challenged by the preaching of the Apostles at Ephesus (Acts 19:23-41). All hell broke loose when the craftsmen realized her worship (their income) was being threatened by the impact of the Gospel. For three hours, bedlam ensued until someone with enough authority bust up the party. But these aren’t just dusty old tales. We’re currently experiencing the same outrage – people will fight to the death over the issues of image and identity, so chose your battle carefully.
The complicated challenge lies in the fact we are created in the image of God. Body, soul and spirit, the divine blueprint is stamped upon us, and these are high standards. We were given the glorious gifts of self-awareness, free will, sexual orientation, imagination, creativity, innovation and ego. The dreams, desires, and ambitions we chase, however, can make us terribly disoriented. It’s tough to be happy when you’re a slave of your own delusion. Is it then astounding that pride, vanity, over-weaning appetites and even achievement can utterly warp the original plan? In order to function at maximum potentiality, life must be lived through, and in, God’s spirit. Without this, we toil and travail and never quite achieve fulfilled satisfaction.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:28-29
Conformed to the image of Jesus. That’s the goal. I don’t think many are aiming for it, though. So many philosophies about life and the way to live it are vibrating through the atmosphere. They are demanding that we bow before the altar of political correctness and surrender to them. As Christians, we know how perilous one wrong move can be in this climate. We’re fighting for our identity as believers and all the moral integrity that goes along with it. But we’re not fighting alone.
There’s a lot of heathen raging and rioting at the moment, and I’m trying hard not to be shaken by the violence. Restructured demi-gods and goddesses, idols, ideologies and images are (insert yawn here) hardly a new phenomenon. The Ancient of Days has seen it all. He’s still laughing, so why can't I?
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
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