by Kenny Rader
The song, originally recorded in 1972 by Johnny Nash, and then later by Jimmy Cliff for the 1993 movie, Cool Runnings, comes to mind when we think about seeing things in High Definition. Think of a day when a haze hangs over the horizon that limits the view. We can see, yet we know much is hidden from sight. We cannot see clearly in a fog, in the rain, or when snow is falling.
One winter on the farm, I walked back to our woods. We had purchased the farm a year or two earlier, and I wasn’t familiar with the trees, rotting logs, and other landmarks. Snow fell lightly and it was the perfect day for the walk in the woods. But while there, the snow began falling heavily in a nearly calm atmosphere. The woods became a winter wonderland. A photographer could not have done justice to the beauty.
As dusk approached, it was time to head to the house, but when I came to the edge of the woods, I walked out into a field of pure white. Since every building on our farm was painted white, I could not have seen them even if I were looking right at them from that distance. I realized I was on the wrong side of the woods but had no idea which side. My heart took a little skip, and I headed back into the woods to cut across to the other side. When I exited, however, once again home was nowhere in sight. My heart took a thump.
Darkness was rapidly setting in with the heavy snow, so I cut through the woods again. When I exited this time, I still had no idea where I was. Part of the problem is that two neighbors’ woods connect with my woods and with no fences separating them, I had no clue whose woods I was in. For all I knew, with no wind, no sun, and all the snow, I was heading in the wrong direction.
I was not in danger since four roads surrounded our one-square-mile section, but it was an eerie feeling. I was lost on my own property. My biggest concern was that Martha would have dinner prepared and waiting for me at a time we had determined. She knew I was in the woods, but I was almost always punctual. If I said I would be home for dinner at a particular time, she knew I would be there unless something went wrong. I was concerned she would start worrying and possibly head out to find me, and then both of us would be lost, well, kind of lost. We would not know where the other was. Remember, this happened before mobile phones.
After more attempts and what seemed a very long time, I exited the woods and saw our pole light dimly cutting through the snow and darkness. The problem that had plagued me was a lack of seeing clearly.
While seeing Jesus seems a simple task, it often isn’t. Many times, we often think we grasp the teachings of Jesus and the Bible, but just when we think we understand, we discover that we hadn’t seen things as plainly as we thought. This occurs because, as we mature as a Christian, our views often get clarified. Sometimes this happens when a sudden clearness of mind comes about. Sometimes another person points out an error of our conclusions. Sometimes God allows testing that helps us realize we aren’t the super Christian we thought. And sometimes, clarity comes with maturity of age and experience. Any of these, plus more, bring about our better understanding of Jesus.
The Corinthian church had a lot of problems: a lot of issues. Remember, they were a young church in a pagan society, so Paul addressed their issues with two letters. In his first letter, he addressed their misunderstanding of spiritual gifts as given by God. In 1 Corinthians, chapter thirteen, we read the famous love chapter, which by the way, we take out of context and use in weddings. This is not wrong, but definitely used out of context. Paul, however, as stated, was addressing problems within the church.
As we get toward the end of the chapter, we read the following.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
-1 Corinthians 13:11-12
While Paul had a specific application in mind concerning their use of spiritual gifts and their understanding of love toward one another, this passage applies to all of us in living high definition lives.
Sight is a fantastic gift from God, but we often don’t notice when our sight diminishes. Our eyes usually deteriorate slowly. We hardly notice the problem until one day, other people tell us of objects they see clearly, but we can’t. At that point, most of us want to enjoy better vision, which often gets corrected with the use of glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. The point here is that we didn’t know what we didn’t know until someone pointed out our lack of knowledge (we couldn’t see very well) or we discover it ourselves.
Knowledge, understanding, and wisdom often come slowly, but we don’t understand what we don’t know until we have the ability to look back at where we once were. This is how it works with clarity of our lives in Jesus. We think we are doing pretty well until we look back.
Most of us don’t understand that our current state of Christian faith is nowhere near where it could be. Why? Because it’s challenging to visualize what we don’t understand. It’s hard to realize something we cannot see. While all of us know that a new and bigger house m i g h t b e better than our current house, a new car is indeed better than an old car, but it’s difficult, if not impossible, to see the phenomenal benefit of a high definition life in Jesus because we have never experienced it.
Human nature as defined by Satan, our adversary, is often contentment. We reach a certain plateau in our walk with God, and we decide we have worked hard enough. We get comfortable at that level. Sure, we understand there are higher levels, much higher, but we are not willing to work any harder to reach them. Our income is a great example. We know we can earn more money, but we decide that changing jobs, getting more education, getting a second or third job, moving, or whatever else, is not worth it. So it is with our life in Christ. We grow content. We decide that the extra work is not worth the reward, especially if we don’t understand the benefit of that additional effort. Thus, we miss the beauty of a high definition life.
The only way to understand the high definition life in Christ is to keep working toward it. No, the extra effort does not make for a miserable life. That’s the deception of Satan. The more we get into living like Jesus, we understand that He only wants what is best for us. We begin realizing that His way is the most enjoyable, safe, blessed, and joyful life. But as Paul says, many of us see only in part. Only by continually growing in Christ can we become more like Him and understand the high definition life. Truthfully, we cannot see perfectly or live the high definition life with perfection until Jesus returns.
For now, Jesus intends for us to keep working at becoming more like Him. It’s often not fun. It takes work. We often stumble. We usually make mistakes. And it’s sometimes living the old adage of taking two steps forward and one step backward. Someday, however, we will be able to look back (even in this life) and see where we were, and understanding where we are currently at in Christ. We will exclaim, “WOW!!! I Can See Clearly.” Well, maybe not clearly, but definitively with more clarity and high definition than in the past. And do you know what? It really is a much, much better life because we are living more like Jesus.
Love you & God Bless,