About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Disclaimer - The impression I was
left with in the movie I
Happily Ever After
risk of sounding overly critical, I’d like to comment on a Christian
movie I recently watched. I
know none of us are perfect, and that includes me. I
also know that Jesus uses us despite our imperfections.
Still, I think we should strive for excellence in Biblical
understanding in the midst of our imperfection.
the movie and I’m sure the creators had good intentions in making it.
The main character was a poor football coach of a team that
seldom won a game. After the
team experienced a spiritual revival they mustered up lots of faith that
resulted in winning the state championship for the first time ever.
Because of this victory the coach got to keep his coaching job as
well as getting a big raise in his salary.
Then to top it all off a
shiny new red truck just appeared out of nowhere in the school parking
lot with his name on the registration. His
wife also got pregnant, something that had been impossible due to the
coaches low sperm count. The
movie ended with everyone living happily ever after.
left me with the impression that
once you give your life to Jesus and have faith, everything will go
great for you. So as always
I ask, “what does the Bible say about this”?
watching the DVD’s extras notes, I learned that around the time of the
movie being made, the young wife of one of the actors died of cancer.
Ironically everyone in the movie lived happily ever after,
but not so in real life. How
does one reconcile the theme of the movie to the life experience of one
of its actors?
I woke to some sad news. A
fire caused more than $80,000.00 worth of damage to my friend Jim
Williams’ house. Jim and
his wife have now been uprooted from their home for months until things
get rebuilt. How do I
reconcile the message of this movie to Jim’s life experience?
Well, I don’t really try because I don’t think the message of
the movie is the message of the New Testament.
And just to let you know, I don’t let life’s experience
interpret Scripture for me.
told the apostle Paul that he’d suffer much as a Christian, but in the
process he’d spread the gospel throughout the known world, including
to governors and kings. Did
Paul gain great fame and fortune by holding evangelical rallies to
thousands? Did the emperor
invite Paul over for tea after hearing of his fame?
I’m sure Paul would have gladly exchanged the chains
around his hands and feet for a cup of tea.
Defending himself as a prisoner of the gospel before the emperor
is a far cry from being a famous evangelist.
It’s amazing to me how effective Paul was for Jesus. He spent
much of his life as a Christian in jail, and traveling from one court
room to another. Despite
countless hardships he’s become one of the most effective witnesses
for Jesus ever. The
strong faith that Paul exhibited was directed towards doing the will of
His Lord and not towards any earthly gain.
wasn’t the only early Christian that had to endure
life for Jesus. All the early Christians experienced some sort of
grief and pain for their faith. And
things didn’t stop there. History
is filled with Christians enduring hardship for Jesus.
1:3 says, “Jesus … has given us new birth into a living hope … an
inheritance that can never perish … kept in Heaven for you”.
Now I like the idea of getting
a big inheritance when I get saved.
But look closely. Where’s
this inheritance right now? It’s
kept in Heaven for us. What?
You mean it’s in Heaven and not in my driveway.
uses the word “hope” in his statement because this inheritance has
been deferred to the next life. Paul
says that what we get now is the Holy Spirit “who is a deposit
guaranteeing our inheritance”. (Eph. 1:14) So
if the Holy Spirit is what we get to have now, that tells us something
about the nature of the deposit of our inheritance that we presently
have. Besides, Peter goes on
to say that “you have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials”.
I’m really not as pessimistic as I might sound, but life
doesn’t always treat us well in this fallen world just because we’re
suggesting that we’ll all suffer like Paul and never succeed at
anything we do. I’m
suggesting that the Bible doesn’t guarantee our full inheritance here
on earth upon becoming a Christian. And this is for good reason.
The New Testament is all about Christians serving Jesus and doing
His work, and not about Jesus serving Christians and He doing our work.
happily ever after as the movie portrays will come, but it will come in
the ever after. Until then
we should consider living as Jesus told us in Mark 8:34 and 35.
Jesus said, “if anyone would come after me, he must deny
himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whosoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whosoever
loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it”. Jesus
clearly told us what our priorities should be in this present age in
which we live. I’m
just wondering if we as individual Christians and as the church
haven’t gotten His words a little backwards.