The Elevated Quality of Divine Humility 3

The element of divine humility is an inseparable part…and the concept of the divine Son of God on the cross as the perfect sacrifice to enable us to be able to get to know God…meeting us precisely where we are in taking our place on the cross…becoming sin for our sakes who Himself had no sin…is simply above and outside of human literary invention in the first-century, and beyond the scope and reach of the humanistic genius of Mark Twain’s imaginative modern novel.

Stated another way…the prince in his regal clothing, royal carriage, and honor guard of armed soldiers…would never be crucified…but a lowly pauper…a humble carpenter-prophet from Nazareth…could be crucified without a second thought.

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9…”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

This fundamental biblical truth of salvation by grace through faith…and not self-works…which separates it from all other worldviews…is based four-square on the perfect sacrifice of the blood of the divine Jesus Christ on the cross.

But without the singular brilliance of the divine humility element in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ…Jesus would never have made it to the cross.

The low road of worldly humility is the narrow gate of Matthew 7:13-14…leading to the cross of Calvary…that Jesus Himself must walk through in order to fulfill His unique life-script as the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin…to the precise exclusion of all other worldly concerns and expectations.

To borrow the language from the intelligent design debate…the “body-plan” architecture of the life-script of Jesus Christ hones-in on and focuses upon the brilliant outcome of the cross and the resurrection…displaying foresight in its composition and masterful engineering in accomplishing its goal…that is breathtaking in its imaginative creativity.

Philippians 2:5-8 reads: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

The life, message, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are a divine revelation at the top-most peak of the most complex, sublime, creatively innovative information…inserted into the contemplative reality of human thinking and actual lived-experience.

The cross of Jesus Christ (Lk. 22:42)…God displacing our way with His way…can be found ingeniously embedded within every narrative story of faith in the Bible.

This brings the extraordinarily unconventional Prince and the Pauper journey of divine humility into actuality…in some measure…in our own lives through what I call in this book “God-composed journey of faith life-scripts”…totally outside of the realm of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

In the fallen context of this world (Lk. 4:5-6)…divine humility is the one character trait that is perfectly immune and resistant to the temptations of the corruption of worldly power, wealth, and glory…and at the same time the one character trait in the perfect person Jesus Christ that will take Him…surprisingly (1 Cor. 2:8)…and us as well (Phil. 2:5)…all the way to and through the cross.

It is inconceivable that human literary insight would or could invent these two very subtle and sublime concepts within the life-script for Jesus Christ…considering that Mark Twain only went as far as the secular story of a prince exchanging places with a pauper as a lesson in worldly political leadership training…with neither the prince or the pauper in this story immune or resistant to worldly power, wealth, and glory…and neither one crucified for the sins of the world as the Passover Lamb of God.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

The Elevated Quality of Divine Humility 2

Another commonsense apologetic argument I want to make in this post for the divine origin of the Bible and its message…that has parallel inspirational value…is that Jesus Christ in a human body meets us precisely at the point where we are…and that this profound concept creates a clear path for the Passover Lamb of God to make it all the way to the cross at Calvary…to make a successful divine atonement for sin…at our human level.

In the story of The Prince and the Pauper…as a matter of practicality…to meet us at the point where we are…simply cannot happen as long as the young prince goes outside the palace dressed in princely clothes, riding in a royal carriage, and surrounded by a retinue of soldiers.

Only by having an absence of the royal accoutrement of clothing and the dignity of his office…surrounding his personage…can the young prince meet and engage with his unknowing subjects at the same place…on the same level…where they are in their lives.

A critical point I want to make here is that Mark Twain published his remarkably brilliant book The Prince and the Pauper in 1881…based on an incredibly perceptive insight…I would say inspired… into the reality of elevated moral leadership…whether as a king…or as a democratically elected president or prime minister…or as the Almighty God and Creator of the universe.

The life of Jesus Christ in the first-century A.D. is anchored in history…not fiction.  His death by Roman crucifixion in Jerusalem during the administration of Pontius Pilate is an undisputed fact of history.

The rapid growth of the Christian church in the first century testifies to the historicity of the events surrounding the life and death of Jesus Christ…and His resurrection.

Is it plausible to the modern thinker…having now the benefit of historical hindsight…to suggest that Matthew, a tax collector…Mark, a younger friend of Peter…Luke, a Greek physician…John, a fisherman from Galilee…Paul, an educated Pharisee and an actual persecutor of the early Christian church…James, the half-brother of Jesus…and Peter, also a common fisherman…could insightfully as a group effort pre-empt Mark Twain by 1,800 years in inventing as fiction or clever added embellishment…this pinnacle concept of the moral leadership quality of Jesus Christ stepping down from His glory in heaven to be able to meet us at the precise point where we are? 

In writing their gospel accounts, the book of Acts, and the New Testament letters to the early churches…in the moment…as the action in live history is all unfolding and openly observable to the Jewish and the Greco-Roman world…all around them in real time during the explosive growth of the early Christian church…these Christians are writing about the recent life and message of the historical person Jesus Christ…and not a literary fictional storyline of the young prince of Mark Twain’s book.

Is it plausible that these New Testament writers could take this real-life story a large step further in innovative imagination…and creatively invent the concept around the divine Son of God…not some ordinary fictional earthly prince…that in order to be able to show up for the divine appointment on Calvary Hill…Jesus the Prince of Peace and the eternal Word of God…would have to be clothed in the divine humility of an undistinguished outward appearance…the carpenter from Galilee…as the God/man Passover sacrifice for our sins?

In this unique scenario at Calvary…the magnitude of the endpoint goal dictates the brilliantly fine-tuned, extremely narrow means to get there.

The blood that Jesus sheds on the cross provides a perfect and complete atoning sacrifice for our sins.  This enables blood-bought and Spirit-born Christians to be able to venture out into risked-filled adventures of faith after the pattern given to us in the Bible…with the full security and assurance of our salvation…so that we can get to know God on His terms…within His life-scripts written for our benefit.

When viewed in this light, the importance of the mission of Jesus and His appointed destiny at Calvary is incalculable.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

The Elevated Quality of Divine Humility 1

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”                             (2 Cor. 4:7)

By entering into a human body through the incarnation…Jesus Christ the Son of God is opening Himself up to the challenging realities of a radical, precipitous downgrading in outward appearances compared to His exalted glory in heaven…which by the most brilliantly fine-tuned calculus in the history of moral reasoning…opens up the one and only narrow pathway leading to the cross at Calvary.

The classic book The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain gives us a wonderfully adventurous and compelling story that parallels the situation of Jesus Christ closely in this regard.

The real prince in Mark Twain’s story, outside of the king’s palace and disguised in pauper’s clothes…unprotected by his voluntary loss of royal status out in the rough-and-tumble world at-large…is subject to the same perils and abuses faced every day by the look-alike pauper boy with whom the prince has temporarily and secretly exchanged places with.

One fundamental question asked by probably every person who has ever lived…during a contemplative moment of reflection on the purpose and meaning of life…is…why is human life for most people a challenging, rough-and-tumble, sometimes bruising affair?

Why isn’t the entrance into our world for Jesus Christ the Son of God…at the very least in His special case…a smooth-sailing, carefree, life-of-ease, rolled-out red carpet…seamless transition of welcome from the heavenly world of being the exalted Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6) to the world of merely being a lowly pauper?

After thousands of years of advancements in knowledge, technological gadgets, medicine, farming, and political and social lessons-learned…why has not humanity gotten our collective act together a long time ago in terms of being able to offer a peaceful, supportive, welcoming environment…for the fulfillment of purpose, meaning, character growth, and personal destiny…as the normal expectation for every person on the planet?

Why does the real-world have the actual disparity between the privileged insides of the palace grounds and the hard conditions of the outside world…that forms the backdrop of reality for Mark Twain to craft his brilliantly insightful fictional story around?

I think that Mark Twain in his classic book The Prince and the Pauper partially answers this question as to why the world-at-large…outside of the palace…is a rough-and-tumble reality for most people…explored from the human analytical and perceptual eye of a literary genius.

The thematic take-away lesson from the story…from a human standpoint…is that the young prince must leave the confines of the preferential unreality of the palace…and experience real life among his subjects in the guise of a regular person like them…in order to be able to return to the palace and someday become a good king who can rule the realm for the benefit of the people in justice and compassionate understanding…and not as a self-centered tyrant merely using his subjects for his own pleasure…merely as means to his own ends.

This moral framework that Mark Twain…a religious skeptic…posits in his book…is at such a high level of sophisticated complexity that it blows the atheistic philosophies of materialism and naturalism…out of the water.  Material particles and energy would never come up with the contemplation of this deeply sophisticated, highly elevated of issues…no matter how much time was given to their development.

Citing the gospel of John chapter one verses 1-5 and verse 10 would be helpful here:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

One Key Point 2

The roots of Christianity come out of deadly adversity…the emphatic rejection of Jesus Christ demonstrated through the cross at Calvary…and not from the broad gate of Matthew 7:13…not from a peace-seeking compromise with worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…not in a coronation of the King of Isaiah 9:6…to be fully actualized in the near future at the second coming of Christ.

When Paul gives his final testimony to his fellow countrymen in Jerusalem…Paul receives a total and complete rejection as the people throw their garments and dust into the air in violent protest against Paul…saying: “Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live” (Acts 22:22).

It would unquestionably appear that there is a key element within the biblical narrative stories of faith…of death to self-direction and self-reliance in terms of pursuing the worldly conventional tenets of the American Dream­…a totally unconventional strategy of application to human lives…of a seed that must fall into the ground and die (Jn. 12:24)…before springing up into a new, transformed, and totally different lifestyle from its previous life-form as a seed.

This is a concept that is universal in every God-composed adventure of faith life-script recorded in the Bible.

There are two important takeaways from this observation…central to the argument for the divine origin of the Bible and Christianity.

First, this initial and preliminary time-period of adversity that produces the outward appearance of failure and set-back in terms of worldly conventional norms…that sets aside or removes all-together the pursuit of individual success toward the popularly accepted direction of the American Dream…as will be discussed in multiple variations-on-a-theme throughout this book…would never originate out of humanistic literary fiction.

Second, only God could and would compose life-scripts that contain a specific set of events and circumstances…that correctly rearranges the vertical order of authority in the relationship…of God rightfully being above us…rather than us incorrectly and foolishly above God.

Apparently…as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith…a large dose of adversity is the remedy to cure the malady of self-sovereignty…that will mar and block our ability to walk with God through a journey of faith.

The biblical narrative stories of faith contain the one element that would never originate out of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…the correct displacement of our ways with the higher ways and thoughts of God (Isa. 55:8-9)…of God rightfully sitting upon His throne as King…correctly positioning Himself above us…His detailed short-term and long-term plans for specific life-missions taking priority over our plans.

I did not make this up.  This is what we see in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

The concept of a seed falling into the ground to die…before being able to spring up from the ground into a tree, bush, or plant that produces grains, fruits, and vegetables…as applied in unprecedented fashion to real human lives through God-composed life-scripts…having the enormous practical consequences of risk playing out in the events of our lives…is clearly and openly revealed to us in Judges 7:3.

The proper arrangement of God above us as leader and guide in our expedition through a God-composed journey of faith…is brilliantly and succinctly described in God’s instructions to Gideon…in reducing the numerical size of Gideon’s army to go out in battle against the overwhelming force of the Midianite army…producing circumstances that could end in either miraculous success…or utter catastrophe…creating a divine plan of attack that falls far outside of the imagination of Gideon…and far outside of conventional thinking:

“And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me” (Judg. 7:3).

This incredibly innovative and unconventional idea of a seed…falling into the ground to die…then springing up into life…managed entirely within a God-composed journey of faith life-script…has as one of its primary goals to reverse the vertical priority of the personal relationship…with God as leader…and us as followers.

This divine use of the negative ingredient of temporary adversity skillfully puts our worldly dreams and aspirations…conventionally based on our internal perception of our in-built, innate gifts and abilities…into the ground to die…only to spring up into new, better, and different life-missions as patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith…confirming the divine origin of these biblical narrative stories of faith…and validating the truth of the Bible and of Christianity.

No human writers could or would invent a new religion having this unique concept of a seed first needing to die in the ground…in order to rise up out of the ground in the new form of a tree, bush, or plant…bearing edible good fruit or vegetables…as part of the complex, God-composed life-scripts for human beings.

To depict God as the active agent in setting up…in the biblical narrative stories of faith…this previously unheard of and completely exclusive feature of God turning upside-down the autonomous individualism of worldly conventional thinking…placing Himself correctly in the leadership role in our lives…introducing the elements of risk and faith into our life experience…through the vehicle of a journey of faith (Heb. 11:1)…as pure inventive human literary fiction…is entirely nonsensical.

This insight into the depth of the underlying issues…and the creative artistic genius of these biblical stories…well outside of the parameters of human invented literary fiction…put a kibosh on the false assertion that the biblical narrative stories of faith are nothing more than human invented religion.

In the Sermon on the Mount…Jesus says: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33).

In Mark 8:36…Jesus says: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

God can craft people like Abraham into the father of faith, like the Hebrew foreigner Joseph into the governor in ancient Egypt, Moses the shepherd in Midian into the great deliverer of the nation of Israel out of bondage as slaves in Egypt, the young man David of lowly background into the King of Israel, Peter the fisherman into the leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem, and the persecutor Paul into the premier Christian evangelist to the first-century Greco-Roman world…to name only a few from the Bible.

But all of the people of faith in the Bible…achieved their success not by aiming directly at the American Dream…but aiming instead at the specific goals of their God-composed mission-plans…eventually arriving at the top of the heap in terms of human achievement…but achieved by way of the cross of Christ…the Holy Spirit guided tour into the discovery of the all-truth of John 16:13.

I have seen both sides of this in my life.  Most people have.

I have seen people who went straight for the money…in pursuit of wealth and all that it brings in terms of recognition, pride of accomplishment, and worldly esteem.

But these people would do anything to get ahead…cut corners illegally in terms of not following laws and regulations…lie to people…have no care whatsoever about improving operations and doing things right in order to cut costs…and despitefully use other people as means-to-an-end rather than developing healthy relationships built upon respect and the placing of value on the contributions of subordinates.

We can aim directly at obtaining wealth with the goal of actualizing the end-points of the American Dream in our lives…but even if we gain the whole world…we can lose our own soul.

Salvation and eternal life is a gift from God that is of inestimable worth…offered freely to mankind through repentance of sins and faith placed in Jesus Christ (Mt. 4:17)…and is the possession of all Spirit-born Christians past and present.

A God-composed journey of faith life-script for Christians today is also a gift from God…designed to take us through life the right way…focusing on goals and aspirations that are eternally important and of priceless value.

What is incredibly interesting here…is that the standard and traditional morals and ethics of the Christian life…transcending above and being so fundamentally different in their aim and aspirations…from worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…for twenty-plus centuries of human history now…that this would in modern-day hindsight make the sophisticated and rational case…that this deep and complex reality of the direction of where we aim our priorities and aspirations…in journeys of self or in journeys of faith…could not have originated out of worldly conventional thinking…and therefore must have a divine origin coming from the creative mind and heart of God.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

One Key Point 1

Abraham is a wealthy herdsman in Canaan.

But the people in Canaan who know the personal facts about Abraham…despite his worldly wealth and success…might still look down their noses at him for failing in this one culturally all-important area of not producing a male heir.

In the eyes of the people who are totally ignorant of the promises of God to Abraham…who are unaware of the divinely crafted program that Abraham is walking in…that displaces all other consideration in importance…the inhabitants in Canaan might think there is something wrong with Abraham…that he is going about life all wrong…in that he has not been able to contrive the culturally accepted way…of taking-in additional wives to Sarah…to produce a male heir that is suitable to pass along his wealth to…and that will continue his name forward for posterity.

This issue of producing male heirs is important to everyone at that time-period in history…yet Abraham outwardly appears to be curiously inactive in an effort to procure more wives and produce children.

Yet the real truth…behind the scenes…of the storyline of Abraham is that the Creator of the universe…God…ascribes to Abraham righteousness based upon the faith and patience of Abraham in trusting…through adverse appearing outward circumstances unknown to other people…in the truthfulness of God’s promises to him (Gal. 3:6; Heb. 11:19).

The key point here…is that it is God…not Abraham…who is the intentional author of this adventure of faith life-script dilemma for Abraham.  It is God who has purposely set this all up…this twenty-five year detour around worldly conventional expectations…within the dramatic storyline details of the life-script calling of Abraham to become the “father of faith” (Gen. 17:17).

The big question for biblical scholarship…and for practical Christian discipleship today…is why God would do this?

What is so important about a long time-period of waiting for the birth of Isaac…inserted by God as a fundamental element into the life-scripts of Abraham and Sarah?

Completely contrary to popular conventional normalcy and thinking…the narrative story of Abraham does not go in the direction of an ancient version of the American Dream…of Abraham and Sarah in Canaan starting a large family according to conventionally normal expectations.

The God-composed journey of faith life-script for Abraham…goes intentionally against-the-grain of conventional expectations for normal life (Gen. 17:1-8, 17)…against-the-grain of our supposed entitlement to pursue the worldly universal aspirations of the American Dream of success, fame, and fortune…however we culturally and socially define this.

Examining some additional biblical narrative stories of faith will help here.

Joseph possesses the innate capacity to manage the nation of Egypt as governor during a great famine…but he finds himself at the age of 30 in Pharaoh’s prison…as a result of being falsely accused by the wife of Potiphar of sexual assault.

What could be going worse in terms of outward appearances for Joseph…just a few months prior to Pharaoh’s dream and Joseph’s interpretation…just before this supernatural insertion of massive events that changes Joseph’s life…and that miraculously confirmed his two dreams as a teenager in Canaan (Gen. 37:5-11)?

Why this extended time-period of years of adversity in the life-script of Joseph…in his unusual version of graduate management training in leadership and humility…before being elevated up into the position of governor in all of Egypt?

As Moses tends sheep in Midian…he has essentially become a “nobody.”  Moses is no longer a prince in Egypt.  Moses is a colossal failure in worldly conventional terms…as he and Aaron walk towards Egypt to confront Pharaoh and demand the release of the Hebrew slaves…with nothing more than a shepherd’s wooden staff…the strength of God’s word at the burning bush…and the promise of an old and faded reputation.

David is the youngest and therefore the least culturally valued son of Jesse…when the prophet Samuel arrives to find and anoint with oil…the next king for Israel.

But as David is pursued for his life by the current and established King Saul…with several near misses…people looking at David from age 20 to 30…might consider him a disappointment and a failure.

How can this adversity be the case for the man who killed Goliath, is anointed by Samuel the prophet to be the next king…and is the son-in-law of King Saul?

Esther and Mordecai have the best of positive intentions for their current capitol city Shushan…and for their people the Jews…in their deadly struggle against Haman the Agagite…and are locked into a totally unanticipated combination of circumstances in a battle for their lives…that is not anything like pursuing the American Dream…in terms of worldly conventional normalcy.

Again, why is God the author of this challenging life-script for Esther, Mordecai, and the Jews in exile…not as the source of the evil that first propels the storyline…but as the brilliant scriptwriter finding the perfect finale response…for the end of the story?

Is there a good explanation behind this storyline theme of adversity that precedes victory…that is universal in the biblical stories of faith?

The great prophet Elijah bitterly complains to God that he appears to be all alone…in his criticism of the evil king and queen…Ahab and Jezebel…in their apostasy of worshipping the idol-god Baal.

Elijah faces adversity like few others in the Bible.

The prophet Jeremiah is certainly going against-the-grain in denouncing the wayward condition of Israel at that time…a condition so bad that it resulted in the eventual removal of the nation into foreign exile.

Daniel is a faithful, loyal, and exemplary civil servant in exile…yet he finds himself spending a long night in peril in a den of lions…as the result of a deadly scheme of revenge powered by the jealous envy of a small group of men high up in the government…colleagues of Daniel.

Jesus is the Son of God…the Savior…the light of the world.

Yet without the wide separation from worldly conventional thinking that fueled the violent rejection of the person, the teaching, and the ministry of Jesus by the religious and political leadership in Jerusalem…as well as a portion of the populace siding with this leadership group…then there is no cross of Calvary, no Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for lost sinners, no glorious resurrection on Easter morning, and no redemptive salvation for mankind.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

The Mission of Jesus had nothing to do with the American Dream

The temptation in the wilderness of Jesus as recorded…in greater detail…in Matthew’s gospel in verses 4:8-10 and in Luke’s gospel in verses 4:5-8…was a seemingly misdirected, apples-to-oranges, nonsensical approach by Satan that missed the mark…regarding Jesus…in a key, fundamental way.

The power and the glory of the kingdoms of the world…was not anywhere in-the-ballpark of what would be tempting to the Son of God Jesus.

This appears on the surface to be a complete misunderstanding of the mission of Jesus Christ…an appeal to Jesus of the American Dream…on steroids.

It demonstrates a total misconception or a total under-estimation of the character of God…either by a very clever initial probing of the character of Jesus the Son of God in the opening sparring contest between darkness and light…or instead is a genuine ignorance about the un-susceptibility of Jesus Christ to the allures of the glory and power of the kingdoms of this world.

Either way…the mission and ministry of Jesus was not to validate the autonomous individualism that can be a component of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…by leisurely sailing the Greek Isles in the Mediterranean Sea in a carefree manner…for His own enjoyment.

Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

His unique life-script mission transcends above any worldly conventional goals, dreams, or aspirations…however commendable when these goals are part of our God-composed, journeys of faith that crossover into some of the tenets of the American Dream.

What reaches a level of inconceivable depth…light-years beyond what could be the product of human inventive, literary fiction…is that Jesus is the most wealthy and the most successful person in all of human history…being the divine Son of God in a human body…the Creator and mastermind of everything in the universe including ourselves…who owns literally everything…yet is in the humble outward appearance of a lowly carpenter from the outlying and insignificant small town of Nazareth in first-century Israel (Jn. 1:46).

If the sin-free, unblemished Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice…Jesus Christ…foreglimpsed in the ram caught in the bushes on Mount Moriah that became the substitute for Isaac (Gen. 22:13)…and depicted in the ancient prophecies of Isaiah 9:6 and Isaiah 53…if Jesus can perfectly live a divinely elevated life-script…being the Son of God while enjoying none of the outward advantages of the American Dream (Mt. 8:20)…this then opens up to every believer who will accept God’s invitation to follow Him by faith into a biblical-quality adventure of faith…to experience life to the fullest according to God’s perspective…within a divinely composed journey of faith for each of us…regardless of social, cultural, or economic status.

A God-composed journey of faith life-script is in an entirely different category…going in a different direction…entering in at the narrow gate of the cross as described in Matthew 7:13-14 as spoken by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount…in a fundamentally different way of life…from pursuing the American Dream through our own efforts.

This is one of the most important…possibly the most important message coming from the Bible to modern, sophisticated mankind today…that Jesus Christ is not only our Savior and King…but also that He is the way, the truth, and the life…because He is the only person in all of existence who can craft journey of faith life-scripts for us that transcend above worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

Jesus can do this not only because He is our Creator God…who knows each of us intimately…but also because He lived just such an unconventional life-script Himself.

The narrative stories of faith in the Bible are therefore of enormous and incalculable worth.

For this reason they have been under attack for the last four to five hundred years…for their supernatural accounts of the interactions between people and God…and for their accounts of supernatural events that were and still are today incorrectly criticized for being outside of the supposed closed-system of naturalistic materialism…a philosophical paradigm that no longer holds water in this new, Information Age time-period.

The narrative stories of faith in the Bible go way beyond being thrilling bedtime stories for children, covering issues that are deadly serious in their sophisticated applications to life.

The fundamental difference between going our own way in pursuit of the American Dream…and instead partnering with the living God within a journey of faith that may result in an outcome that exceeds the goals, dreams, and aspirations of the American Dream (Gen. 41:37-44; Ex. 12:31-36; Josh. 11:23; 2 Sam. 2:1-4; 2 Tim. 4:6-8)…is a discontinuous gap of two choices for human life…that far outpaces  the inventive imagination of human literary fiction writing.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity

A God-Composed Journey of Faith Transcends above the American Dream 2

In the Bible…the people who become caught-up in a God-composed adventure of faith life-script mission…discover along the way that their personal relationship with the living God becomes more important and more valuable than anything else in life…even the attractiveness of the American Dream of material wealth, the culturally acceptable validation of ourselves, and achieving through our own efforts a sense of personal security.

The acceptance and validation coming from God…in valuing us enough to call us by His Spirit into a unique and individual life-plan…of having faith in us to the point of calling us individually into a specific mission that only we can perform…with His assistance and partnership…is entirely different from the self-satisfaction of achieving the goals, dreams, and aspirations of the American Dream according to the Frank Sinatra song “I did it my way”…of self-autonomous individualism…that is typically found within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking (Phil. 3:4-10).

The parable of the nobleman away on business…and the instruction of Luke 19:13 to “occupy till I come”…is the commendable, baseline guide for all Christians to be about our Father’s business in whatever capacity we may be assigned in the caretaking of the estate…in this parable…trimming the walkway shrubs, sweeping the exterior walkways, picking the fruits and vegetables from the orchard, caring for the livestock, preparing the meals for the staff, and the general interior and exterior cleaning and up-keep maintenance of the estate buildings and grounds.

Realizing the American Dream can be achieved entirely through self-effort…through the application and exploitation of our natural, innate abilities…through autonomous individualism.

Experiencing a biblical-quality journey of faith…by intentional design…requires the direct participation of the living God…within a personal relationship.

These two realities for life are not the same…although they can and do overlap in some areas.

What this means…in a practical applied sense…for Christians today is that God can guide and channel life events and circumstances …and insert unique and individualized life-scripts into the lives of plumbing contractors, stay-at-home moms, auto mechanics, high school teachers, lawyers, accountants, engineers, professional athletes, journalists, small town mayors, church pastors, Christian foreign missionaries, Bible college professors, and Christian book writers…after the pattern of the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible.

For some people…their individual gifts and talents are either outwardly apparent…or internally revealed to them.  Some people know early in childhood that they want to become a medical nurse, or that they possess the athletic ability to play professional sports, or that they have the gift of exceptional intelligence to be able to earn a PhD in mathematics.

For these people…the addition and inclusion of an actively interested and participating God into the mix…enhances the life experience of pursuing their goals with their very best effort…giving it their all…because these unique gifts and talents derive from their Creator God in the first place.

A personal relationship with God can actualize…can come to life…can translate into any conceivable career path, geographical location, personal circumstances, political environment, and economic situation.

Jesus famously said that He came to earth…that we might have more abundant life (Jn. 10:10).

This more abundant life is based upon the strength of the foundation of a fulfilling relational walk-of-faith with Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit…and not on the satisfaction of the self-works of achieving the American Dream on our own…apart from God…and outside of a brilliantly unique, divine calling for our lives (Mk. 8:36).

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.