About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Disclaimer - The impression I was left with in the movie I 
speak about in the article is my impression.  It may
not be the impressions others were left with. 

Living Happily Ever After


At the 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.


I liked 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.         


The movie 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”?  


When 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?  


Last week 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. 


Jesus 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.         


Paul 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 Peter 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.


Peter 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 Christians.   


I’m not 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.


Living 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.    


Home Page