Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why Snoopy is (still) right

In a classic Peanuts® cartoon, Charlie Brown hears that Snoopy is writing a book of theology, and tells him, “I hope you have a good title.” 

Snoopy lifts his hands off the typewriter, closes his eyes, and thinks to himself, I have the perfect title. He then types, “Has It Ever Occurred to You That You Might Be Wrong?”

As a descendant of a long line of atheists, I’ve always felt I still have so much more to learn. I haven’t thought of even 1% of the questions I should be asking. Still, I know and have experienced so much that is true. Truths I can’t review too often!

Truly transforming? Reviewing the dozens of “Who I am in Christ” faith affirmation statements compiled and popularized by Neil T. Anderson, and more than doubled in size by others. Untold thousands have experienced spiritual healing, health and hope by reading them. They certainly have been transformative in my own life and experience. 

Lately, however, I have turned the equation around. What would happen in my heart and life if I began affirming what’s true about “Who Jesus Christ is in me”?

When we ponder “Who Jesus Christ is in me,” what immediately comes to mind? I’ve come to the place where I thank God daily for His sovereignty (greatness), providence (goodness), holiness (glory), love (graciousness), and mystery (God alone knows). Yes, we can rattle off a lot of other theological (and biblical) terms, but these are delightfully immense reminders of who Jesus Christ is in me. I love to ponder each and hope that will become your experience as well.

What else is true? Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry gave the men and women, youth and children around Him amazing foretastes of what is eternal for each of His followers. Those foretastes cover a wide horizon. To name but a few: seeing individuals raised from the dead, seeing other persons healed spiritually, seeing still others healed physically, seeing yet other persons healed psychologically.

Let’s not make the mistake, however, of thinking that wonderful foretastes of heaven aren’t ours to experience today. As a follower of Jesus Christ, my sins past, present and future already are all forgiven, yet I experience it anew each time I confess my sins. Immediately afterward, I want to slow down and savor that specific experience of being forgiven. If I do, I enjoy a delicious foretaste of heaven.

In contrast to some (certainly not all!) of my holiness friends, I believe we still sin. Even though our salvation is all-encompassing, it doesn’t mean we don’t sin—any more than it means we never get sick, never suffer trials, never wrestle with temptation, never fail, never fall, never fear cancer, and never end up dying. Aren’t these means, while on this planet, helping us to continue longing for heaven?

While some speak of the already/but not yet dichotomies of our faith, I like foretastes of heaven and think Jesus just might (?) agree. Then again, Snoopy is right: We’re all in for some major theological adjustments some day! 
What we don’t want to miss, here and now, is slowing down and savoring specific foretaste experiences this side of eternity. 

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