With every Smart Phone update comes the latest EMOJI installment. These fun little pictures display everything from emotional expressions to the food you hope to eat for dinner. I receive emoji text messages daily because we all know . . . a picture is worth a thousand words.
Continuing the Grace Encounter series, choose an EMOJI to emotionally describe your relationship with God. You could have a smiley face with a halo, a baffled face with a confused look, a Dude sticking his tongue out, tears flowing, a pensive picture rubbing the chin, or several hundred other choices.
Grace. We encounter grace as we receive it and as it flows from us to others. Most powerfully we grapple with grace and its deepest layers of meaning when considering Jesus. It’s not the Jesus we see in pictures that our anesthetized minds accept as relevant images. I am describing the Jesus who humbled Himself by coming to earth as a baby. He grew, laughed, learned, worked, played, and praised. He experienced a myriad of EMOJIs just like you and me. Yes, across the pages of the Bible we can experience Jesus’ real emotions. He made jokes Hebrew style when stating hyperboles like taking the sawdust speak out of your neighbor’s eye while a plank or log is in your own eye (Luke 6). He became angry at times when people were not respecting the temple as God’s sacred space (Matthew 21:12) and when Peter, one of his closest comrades, unknowingly had evil intent in his advice (Matthew 16:23). How about when Jesus wept because of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35)? Jesus’ emotions abound!
Understand, the Bible was not written as Jesus’ emotional encyclopedia. The Bible’s purpose shows us God and His character. However, because Jesus was fully God and fully human, we see Jesus’ emotions on full display as He lived life. The difference between Jesus’ emotional spectrum and ours exists underneath what we see on the outside. Underneath Jesus’ angry, happy, and grieved moments was a “Foundational EMOJI”. This EMOJI contained love, joy, peace and all that could be good and right in His relationship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. What lies underneath for us? When we emotionally react does our “Foundational EMOJI” allow us to adjust and return to a stable state both outside and inside?
The Grace we encounter through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection on our behalf leaves no reason for our “Foundational EMOJI” to be circumstantial. Yet, we are humans living out our existence in a world bent on destroying the foundation our faith and life are built upon. So how do we respond to our human frailty and constant shortcomings? (Pause for effect) GRACE!!!!!! We don’t begin with striving and laying out steps to correct what is wrong with us. We begin by connecting with the finished work of Jesus’ blood shed on the cross. Jesus already corrected what was wrong with us! In His act, our “Foundational EMOJI” has the freedom to be firmly established. Yes, there are responsibilities God has for us to claim. There are steps to be taken, but that is not the starting point. Take these steps upon a “Foundational EMOJI” established through accepting Christ, and remember the grace He has shown for you. Now that is something worth smiling about! =:-D