I have a friend who is really enamored of the clock on his computer. It’s his favorite thing about his new computer.
It’s kind of weird. He spent thousands of dollars on the computer. It’s got several gigabytes of memory, dual quad-core processors, many terabytes of hard drive space, a luscious 24” high resolution LCD monitor, and a pair of studio monitors for speakers. I have had some difficulty not being jealous.
And his favorite part is the clock in the task bar at the bottom of the luscious 24” high resolution LCD monitor. The clock! He really loves his computer because of the clock. He spends a lot of time online, looking for ways to tweak it: now his clock displays the time in fancy script, that changes typeface and color along with his whim.
I understand that, as they say, “Time is of the essence.” And I know that his task-bar clock is synchronized with the atomic clock in Denver on a regular basis, so it’s always accurate.
He doesn’t know what he has. He certainly doesn’t appreciate it. I’m afraid this fascination makes him look rather foolish to his friends, especially those that know computers.
I have another friend that married his wife because, well, frankly because he wants to have sex with her. She’s beautiful, and as he points out, she has big … er… feminine characteristics which are … um… quite prominent.
It’s kind of weird. She actually is a fascinating person: erudite, congenial, funny, thoughtful. She has written a couple of books; they weren’t bestsellers, but they pay her a small, steady income. She keeps a blog that has some amazing insights into our culture and government.
And she completes him in ways that he has no comprehension, enamored as he is of her … “prominent feminine characteristics.”
He really loves his wife, though I think it’s mostly that he loves her enchanting feminine qualities. He spends lots of money on her, and on events where his friends get to see him with her. He buys her lots of clothes, many flowers; his jeweler owes his success to my friend's purchases for his wife. He even encouraged her to consider cosmetic surgery recently, to enlarge those famous feminine qualities. In his devotion, he is missing most of the finer qualities of this stunningly patient and loving woman.
I understand that the physical aspect of marriage is delightful, even spectacular (and no, I’m neither single nor a newlywed!). And I know that loving your wife is a glorious thing for a husband, and that enjoying it is part of His command.
He doesn’t know what he has. He certainly doesn’t appreciate her. I’m afraid this fascination with her physical attributes makes him look rather foolish to his friends, especially those that actually know his wife.
I know some folks who have experienced quite a bit of the revival that God is pouring out right now. They travel from meeting to meeting looking forward to shaking and quivering and falling down when the presence of God touches them, or to receiving yet another prophetic word from the minister-of-the-week.
It’s kind of weird. It seems that there’s so much more to God than just shaking when He touches you. They aren’t particularly growing in character or maturity, though they certainly are in love with God. Often enough, they fall to the floor under His presence. It’s not fake, either on their part or anyone else’s.
They’ve stood in line and received prophetic words and impartations from hundreds of ministers in perhaps thousands of revival services, and yet they haven’t caught on that the prophetic words have mostly been God inviting them to intimacy, to a deeper personal relationship with Him. They’ve fallen deeply in love with one aspect of a relationship with God, and an aspect that looks to me to be fairly shallow: it's true, but it misses so much of who He is and what He's done.
They don’t know what they have. They certainly don’t appreciate all that God is and does for them. I’m afraid this fascination makes them look foolish to some of their friends, especially those who are looking for a greater relationship with God themselves.
OK. True confessions: the first guy isn’t real. The others actually are, though I’ve obviously over-simplified their stories. (The guy in the second story has grown beyond the middle-aged puberty of this illustration, thank God!)
The point is real simple: we get so caught up with some of the good things God has done for us that we forget to go deeper with Him. (Well, maybe with our spouses, too, but that’s only a side point.)
And the antidote is equally simple: let’s ask God to show us new things about Himself, about His love for us, about how He would like to reveal Himself to us this year. Let’s look for new breadth, new depth in God. I know a man (true!) who prays every January, “Lord, who do you want to be for me this year?” and it changes him: he walks in a greater intimacy, a greater wisdom than most of the men and women of God I know.
Too many of our Christian brothers and sisters know God, but have stopped learning, have become comfortable with our limited view of God, and therefore a limited relationship with Him. Let’s not do that. Let’s keep learning who He is, what He’s about. How can we upgrade our worship? How can we Know Him better?
Joy Dawson used to say, "God is greater than your current understanding of how great He possibly could be!" Let's go find out!