Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Becoming spiritually legible in 2012

As the father of growing sons who are presently learning to read better than write, on a number of occasions they have written me a note or card which I simply can't decipher. They want to communicate in English, but based on the piece of paper before me, they might as well be from Borneo due to the illegibility of their hand-writing.

Though we all want to be able to communicate by way of our language, as Christians we should be even more concerned to 'communicate Christ' through our lives. Ralph Venning, in his book The Sinfulness of Sin, reminds us that one of sin's dementing effects is how it makes us spiritually illegible to those around us. He writes, "Righteousness and holiness were stamped on man's soul, but sin has blotted this image and superscription, which once told from whence it came, and to whom it belonged, so that man is fallen short of the glory of being God's." (45)

In other words, when God originally made Adam and Eve, prior to the Fall, they were untarnished mirror images of God in which it was easy to 'read' God's glory stamped on them. The Fall 'smudged' God's glorious image stamped on us, making it harder to read. But, by God's grace, regeneration (new life through faith in Christ ) begins the work of cleaning up the smudge of sin so that our lives once again become spiritually legible to the glory of God.

The ultimate work of 'divine legibility' in us is God's, but there is an active role each of us is called to play as well. Every time we choose to sin, we are re-smudging the image of God, making us spiritually illegible to a watching world. But, every time we trust God and live by His righteous Word, we partner with the Spirit in His supernatural work of clearing away the smudge of the Fall so we become increasingly 'legible', allowing others to easily read us as Christ's ambassadors on earth, trophies of His grace.

I don't put much stock in New Year's resolutions, but as 2012 begins, let's pursue greater spiritual legibility by saying 'no' to sin and 'yes' to righteousness. Perhaps you can think of some specific patterns of sin which which made your life in 2011 less spiritually illegible. Today is a new beginning to partner with the Holy Spirit and make choices which will make the label 'Christian' be more legible than ever. Then, not only will God be glorified as we more clearly mirror His glory as we were designed, others will be able to read the gospel stamped on our lives, inviting them, too, to become living signposts pointing to heaven in clearly legible script for all to read.

No comments: