Christ’s love is perfect, and he didn’t come to Earth to pamper and spoil us to heaven, because such an approach completely ignores our potential and blunts our ability to feel true joy. Intellectually, most of us understand that concept, but we focus so much on the “softer” expressions of compassion that we end up doing more harm than good sometimes.
If you understand that Jesus was perfect, then you know that his overturning of the money-changing tables in the temple (which he did at least twice!) had a valuable and loving purpose. He didn’t “lose it” or miscalculate. He made a clear point in standing for truth and righteousness, and he didn’t fear angering the ruling class. He wasn’t “going along to get along.”
U.S. Ranger Regiment Chaplain John McDougall recently lamented our loss of understanding regarding Jesus’s mission and how to replicate it on our scale. In Jesus Was an Airborne Ranger, he said: “We have lost the man-on-a-mission intensity that drove Jesus to the cross. A boy-band Jesus will never change the brokenness in our world. And if you and I follow that kind of Jesus, neither will we.” (p.8)
“We must stop thinking of our churches as fortresses, built to protect holy occupants from evil beyond the walls. Instead, we need to see churches as forward operating bases (FOBs)—temporary havens in a hostile place where recruits can train and veterans can heal, always with the intent of going back outside the wire!” (p.101)
“The Enemy, like a skilled sniper, is picking us off one by one—our friends, our neighbors, even our own families. We can’t hide in bunkers any longer. We need to follow the Warrior Christ and engage in the fight. Don’t cower in a bunker. Don’t hide in a fortress. God has made you for so much more! He has called you to “close with and destroy” the evil that plagues you, your family, and the world. This is the mission you were made for! What do you have to lose?” (p.198, and see Matthew 16:25—For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.)
A God who doesn’t give us stiff trials and requires us to do hard things using our own initiative is the functional equivalent of a god who doesn’t care about us and can’t be bothered to spend the time and effort to teach us. Some modern “scholars” might decry personal responsibility, accountability, and expectations of achievement to be “unfair,” but they are following the philosophy of Satan, not of our loving Heavenly Father and our Savior, who:
- respect our diving potential and hard-won agency; and
- champion our unlimited eternal progress.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope it was worthwhile. For additional insights on these topics, feel free to visit me at https://www.mdhouselive.com/ or check out my historical fiction books on the life of Barabbas (three volumes) and the servant of Helaman.