If one good analogy can unpack truth in a unique and life-changing way, how great could the impact be from a handful of analogies that are interconnected? In part 2 of a series, Pastor Jeff Jackson shares another nugget from the analogy “goldmine” that the all volunteer military provides.
Jesus was masterful at telling stories and describing life situations from the context that his hearers lived within.
He did this with the intention of helping them to understand truths about God, the world, and themselves, that would have been difficult to understand if He had just declared those truths without regard to the way they thought, what they thought, and the life-experiences that shaped and molded who they were.
He knew that although truths about God, God’s kingdom, and mankind are eternal and first and foremost spiritual, those truths are being expressed to people that live at a specific moment in time and within a historic and cultural context specific to them.
Because He had the best interests of His hearers in mind, He took the time and effort to discover aspects of the life of His hearers that could serve as onramps for the eternal truths He desired them to understand so they could respond appropriately.
Anyone who follows Jesus and desires to pass on the truths that they now know must follow in His footsteps and put forth the effort to understand the historic and cultural context of the people they are attempting to share God’s truth with.
Finding just the right analogy and/or illustration can help make truth’s about God spring to life in people’s minds and then penetrate their hearts.
In my last post I began sharing the “goldmine” of analogies from the U.S. military that I believe can be used to help Americans, (both believers and especially unbelievers,) understand many aspects of the Christian life.
I passed on 4 nuggets in my last post. Here’s another one:
5. When a person voluntarily joins the military, they surrender the right to determine the ultimate purpose and meaning of their lives for the period of time that they have committed to. The commander-in-chief and the military that he gives ultimate direction to, now determine what that person will primarily spend their time learning, thinking about, and doing–and it may include determining that the ultimate purpose of this person’s life is to die, if necessary, for the good of others.
In a similar way, when a person chooses to follow Jesus, they give up their right to determine the ultimate meaning and purpose of their lives. Those are now determined for them by the Lord they have chosen to follow.
They now live with God’s glory and the good of others as their ultimate goal and they spend their time learning, thinking about, and doing those what is necessary to accomplish that goal in their day to day lives.
They also recognize that seeking God’s glory and the good of others might cost them their lives, and they are willing pay that price if necessary, confident that their relationship with their Lord will actually deepen at the moment He permits their death in this world to take place.
I have found this specific analogy and the similarity that I’ve just unpacked to be useful in helping people to understand a portion of what Paul is communicating in Phil 1:18-21.