Thursday, February 24, 2011

a poison cup?

"What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:9, ESV).

I was reading the book TransforMission by Michael Wilder and Shane Parker, and this verse was noted.  The phrase "practice these things" made me think.  How can we practice what Jesus taught us?

Lately, I have gotten to learn from a couple of families I know by watching them interact with their kids and by talking to the kids themselves.  It has been cool to see how the couples teach their kids about who God is through discussions about media.  One girl, who is a huge fan of the movie "Toy Story," said that a cup mentioned in a book (The Prince's Poison Cup by R.C. Sproul) is a symbol.    I was impressed, since it can be tough to understand what a symbol is.  What stood out to me is that her parents were trying to explain God through a story.

I thought about that and about how Jesus explained things through parables.  He would take something that many people knew about - like weeds - and explain how it related to God and how we can have a relationship with Him.  The parable that Jesus used about weeds is in Matthew 13:24-30, and it is explained in Matthew 13:36-43.  Matthew 13:34-35 explains more about parables as a fulfillment of prophecy: "All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: 'I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world'" (ESV).

We can practice what Jesus taught us by using a story to relate to others, even to explain our faith.  Like, when we are watching a movie, we could think: How is this like real life?  How is it distinctly not like real life?  Does this story compare or contrast to who God is?

Whether we use a story or not, I hope we see today how to practice what Jesus has taught us so that others can see who He is.