Thursday, 8 March 2012

Would you become a goldfish?

Grace. Something that is still an awesome concept, both to try and understand (I am not sure I ever will) and to accept (I'm not always great at that either!). It has come up time and time again throughout my journey with God and I am always hearing different ways of understanding it.

The first analogy I heard, was the idea of God's Riches At Christ's Expense. This was extremely helpful, because it showed me that we get all the benefits of coming into relationship with God, without any personal cost to ourselves. We simply bring our brokenness to God and he will fix us. It is an outrageous concept. Someone paid the price for our mistakes so we didn't have to. We simply get the joy and love that comes from a relationship with God. Therefore, in theory, you could just say "it doesn't matter, I am human, I messed up, but God forgives me so I can keep doing this."

But, alongside this outrageous idea should come the understanding of the COST to God. He gave his ONLY SON because of his love for us. He came to earth and lived as man, feeling all of the temptations, all of the frustrations, and all of the sorrow that we encounter in our lives and then went on to die one of the most horrific and brutal deaths in the history of man kind. Worse than this, he had to experience the weight of sin and shame which separated man from God... this meant that Jesus had to be separated from God; from his own father. He experienced the pain and the brokenness that we battle every day. I find it incredibly easy to forget this because "God" is such an aloof concept: something so mighty, powerful and holy that he can't possibly have known or even cared about the pain of being separated or tempted by worldly possessions and desires. But today, yet again I was reminded. He experienced EVERYTHING about being human. He knows, cares and understands about me. Because his son paid the ultimate price. He lost his relationship with God. It was something so perfect and so beautiful, and so powerful, but he gave that up WILLINGLY. Not only because of his love for our Father, but his love for US too.

It is this revelation of the Cross and the cost of grace which leads to a transformation of the heart. Once I'd understood what Christ suffered so I could get right with God, I was changed irrevocably. I could, if I wanted, carry on deliberately doing wrong, because the concept of grace is that radical...but that would mean I had not understood its cost. It would mean I hadn't understood love either.

This is where the goldfish analogy comes in. I was told about it by a friend today and it really gave me a revelation of cost. Imagine this: You want to tell a Goldfish you love would you do it? The only way to make a goldfish truly understand this would be to BECOME a goldfish. Yes. That's right. You would have to give up all the home comforts, the luxury of memory, the freedom of living in the world and join the fish bowl. You would live as a goldfish, with a 3 second memory, and a glass bowl/ tank without the luxuries we take for granted. Only then would the goldfish truly understand how you feel, and only then would it see that when you say "I love you" you are not saying it from an outside perspective. You would know it through and through and know the world it lives in. And still you would love it.

Okay...It maybe a silly sounding analogy, but it illustrates the scale of what Jesus gave up so he could show his love for us: So that he could show how true God's love for us is.

Would you become a goldfish?

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