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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Life Inside and Outside the Fishbowl

James 1:16-18 (ESV)
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Can you imagine the life of a goldfish who lives in his own fishbowl. Every place he has ever gone or has ever known is within that bowl. He only knows that food appears in the bowl. He knows that the temperature of the water but doesn’t know why it is that temperature. He has an extremely limited world.

Please indulge me with this metaphor: We all live in our own personal fishbowls. Our own bowl includes all of our experiences, all of the places we have lived, all the people we have known, all of who we are and all that we think exists.

Thus, we all make our decisions as it pertains to our own fishbowl. The Roman soldiers crucified Jesus because their fishbowl said that disobedience would be dealt with sharply. They obeyed without knowing what they were doing. (Jesus even said this.) They didn’t know because they couldn’t see outside their own fishbowl.

Believers, too, make this error. We often look at our circumstances and make our decisions based on how things in our fishbowl look. We need help seeing beyond our own bowl. We need God to reveal truth or we will live with the lie of our own fishbowl.  Faith is the response to a word from God. A word from God comes to us from outside our world.

But we are to be different creatures. We are a new creation. We aren’t to be simply the new and improved versions of those who live in this fishbowl of our own world. We are to be those who can see beyond the glass and know there is much more than we have ever seen. We are to believe that there is Someone who exists beyond the fishbowl who chooses to interact with us in our own bowl. We are to know that those things which seem impossible in our fishbowl are never impossible when Someone outside the fishbowl intervenes.

Those who only live inside their bowls have shrinking bowls. Their possibilities get smaller as they get older. Their world is shrinking because they can no longer think outside the bowl. Their memories fade. Their mobility is limited.

But our fishbowls do not need to shrink. They can be ever expanding through prayer. They can continue to grow until we are taken from our bowl. I know people who cannot leave their homes but pray for missionaries around the world. They continue to see the Someone outside the fishbowl bring good things into their world. They continue to experience His presence.

One day that Someone outside the fishbowl will come for the believer. He will take us to live outside of our fishbowls.

I know the Bible says that the good and perfect gifts come from above. That place is outside the world I know. I am being made ready to live there. It’s why outside my fishbowl.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are to believe there is a Bowl beyond our bowl.
We are to believe we don't just end in our bowl.
We are to believe we will go beyond our bowl.

And when we go, we will meet the One beyond our bowl.

We will know the much we do not know from our bowl.
More than every good and perfect gift, we have the Perfect Giver Himself.
His bowl, when we fully enter; it would be an awesome, awesome, awesome bowl.

Nice metaphor, Ps Prentis.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions