Summary: Jesus is God’s secret for us becoming full and complete persons. Discover in Christ, and only in Christ, everything you need to realize your hope, to grow in your love, and to become strong in your faith.
Campus Life magazine was one of those great magazines for Christian students that I really enjoyed when I was in High School. It’s no longer being published, which is too bad, because it had a lot of helpful articles for students along with some good humor. There was a column in it called “Strange World,” in which several years ago they described a unique device the Federal Aviation Administration used for testing the strength of airplane windshields: a chicken launcher.
Yep, it's a special type of gun that fires a dead chicken at, ahem, breakneck speed at a plane's windshield.
If the windshield doesn't crack during impact, then it'll survive a real collision with a bird during flight – something that apparently happens quite often.
Well, the British heard about this fowl contraption and decided to test it themselves – on a speedy new locomotive. They borrowed the FAA's chicken launcher, loaded up, and fired.
The results were, umm, quite smashing.
The ballistic chicken shattered the windshield, broke the engineer's chair and embedded itself in the back wall of the engine cab.
The British were stunned, and asked the FAA to check to see if they'd done everything correctly.
The FAA responded by saying: “Next time try using a THAWED chicken.” (“Strange World,” Campus Life, Vol. 55, no. 4; www.PreachingToday.com)
That story reminds me of what some people do attempting to better themselves. They try all kinds of contraptions and gimmicks, systems and seminars, and wonder why they’re still a mess.
So what really works to make us better people? What really works to help us grow and mature into all that God created us to be? What really works to help us become full and complete persons?
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Colossians 1, Colossians 1, where the Bible addresses a group of people who were struggling with the same question. Some teachers had come into their church promising perfection through secret knowledge and rites, but it only made things worse for them. So God directed the Apostle Paul to give them His secret to real growth and maturity.
Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (NIV)
Paul struggled and suffered to bring to the church God’s secret, and therein lies part of the answer. If we’re going to grow and mature into all that God created us to be, then we must listen to the pain that sometimes comes into our lives.
It’s not that Christ’s suffering on the cross was incomplete, that Paul somehow had to make up for it. No! The sacrificial sufferings of Christ are over, but His body, the church, still experiences pain and affliction. We experience literally the pressures that come in life. That’s because God is building something magnificent in us.
C. S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, says, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.
“But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.
“You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage, but He is building up a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself.” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity; www.PreachingToday.com)
God is at work in us, making us into beautiful people, palaces fit for His dwelling, but sometimes that process involves a little pain. So listen to the pain, especially as it drives you closer to Christ.
Then listen to God’s Word, which is all about Christ. Paul says…
Colossians 1:25 I have become [the church’s] servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (NIV)
God has a secret (a mystery), which was once hidden, but is now revealed to everyone who believes in His Son, Jew and Gentile alike. The false teachers in Colossae also had their “secrets,” but those were only for a select few, the inner circle. God’s secret, on the other hand, is for everyone who believes in Jesus. It is not limited to just an inner circle, the spiritually elite. It is for every believer. And that secret is very simple, yet profound: “Christ in you, the hope of glory!”