As an elementary art teacher, I am often frustrated by a phenomenon I call the “Big White Gap.” When asked to depict any outdoor scene, most kids will include a strip of blue at the top to represent sky, a green strip at the bottom to represent grass, and leave a white void in between. We discuss the horizon line and how the earth always meets the sky, but the Big White Gap prevails. “What’s between the sky and the grass?” I ask, usually met with a shrug. Some comply and fill in the gap and others insist they “like it that way.”
Perhaps students are simply too lazy to color around the focal point of their picture, but I’m coming to believe it’s more likely that the art reflects their world view. As students mature, the gap narrows and eventually they come to notice (or accept) that the ground does indeed meet the sky. What about your world? Where does the ground (the earth, physical life) meet the sky (the heavens, spiritual life)? Is there a Big White Gap? Do we see the spiritual realm as some distant, far off place? Or is it here, now, all around us?
Just as my students’ art reveals their world view, I believe the way we live our daily lives says a lot about our spiritual views. Are we resistant to go around the obstacles (culture, circumstances, distractions) that color our lives? Do we live as we believe or go with the flow? As our Teacher reveals how He in fact bridges the gap, how will we respond? Will we hold tight to our natural man and temporal world view, insisting we like it this way? Or will we invite the Holy Spirit to fill us with His color so we can live as the spiritual beings we really are? Once we make the leap, we might be surprised to find out… with Christ we can fly.
The only problem that’s a real problem is a faith problem.
If you consider that statement from a physical world view, you’d probably disagree. Do we have problems? Are they real? Are they hard? Yes, yes, and yes.
But from an eternal, heavenly perspective, is there anything on this earth that is really a problem? Not if we have faith. Not if we trust the Lord. When we truly believe that He is in control, He loves us, and He works all things together for our good, then we can give our problems to Him. No problemo.
“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” – Jeremiah 32:17
The Challenge of the Ages
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2: 15-17
We were given free will, just as the angels. And just as some of the angels fell, mankind fell. Why?
I believe the simple answer is pride—defined by St. Augustine as “the love of one’s own excellence.” We seem to have an innate preoccupation with ourselves, our desires, our importance. I don’t think this is an accident, but the challenge of the ages: Will we use the gift of free will to deny the self and choose the love of God?
In the end, God will be sure that everyone who remains with Him is truly with Him. Not because of any good we’ve done, but because of how good He is. Not because we have to be, but because we want to be. Not in fear, but in love.
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.” – Luke 17:33
Color me Thankful
“We live under wide open skies and know where we stand.” – from 1 Thes. 5 (The Message)
What does your painting look like today? Does the sky meet the ground? Are we standing firmly on our rock – as a lighthouse for family and friends?
Today is a day for celebrating our thankfulness. Usually we think of the good things and blessings, of which there are many. With Jesus standing in the gap for us, we can be thankful for all things and all circumstances (1 Thes. 5:18). May His Spirit flood your heart and homes with radiant light and beautiful color. Happy Thanksgiving!
For some great verses to meditate on today in a way you may not have read them before, click here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Thessalonians%205&version=MSG
“But Israel soon became fat and unruly; the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed! Then they abandoned the God who had made them; they made light of the Rock of their salvation.” – Deut. 32:15
Somehow I don’t think Israel is alone in their love of excess.
Whether it’s unbuttoning the top button to make room for pumpkin pie or getting up at 4am to grab the best deals, the world we live in wants more. The holiday season celebrating the birth of our Lord is so full of food, festivity and frenzy that we can lose sight of Him if we’re not intentional.
Every sunrise we wake up to is a gift. Every breath we take is miraculous. Every day is worth celebrating. In Christ, our Prince of Plenty, we’ve already got everything we could possibly need… including every color of the rainbow. This doesn’t make Christmastime any less wonderful, but puts our focus on the Source of all Seasons.