In the final film of her new series, True Beauty: Finding Your Identity in Jesus (David C Cook/Flannel, June 2013), Lisa Chan–co-founder of the mega-church Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California— examines living with an eternal perspective and what it means to hold on loosely, in Not of This World. You can watch a preview of her video HERE.
Lisa reads scripture that makes me uncomfortable. From Matthew 6:19-21 storing up treasures…; James 4: 4-5 adulterous people, befriending the world, making an enemy of God…; and 1 John 2:15-17 don’t fall in love with the world or its stuff… In it I am reminded,
There are things I love more than God. Our family has struggled. More than I care to admit. We’ve lost things and it hurts. I read these scriptures and I wonder if I’ve learned anything at all. More than fear of losing stuff, I fear losing in general. Right now it feels like we are.
In the film, I listen to Carolyn tell a story of her family… she shares what it was like to have her husband and father of her children incarcerated not once, but twice. And the fallout. I’m sitting here wondering, where’s the happy ending? Yet, this is the very thing I’ve been complaining of in terms of women’s studies. Most women’s Bible study series include stories that are cute and tidy and all have happy endings on this side of heaven. I can’t relate to an end of struggle, can you?
In Carolyn’s story, choosing the world landed her husband in jail. Yet, another family loosening their hold on worldly tethers, gives Carolyn’s family an opportunity. But we don’t get to see the results. We don’t hear Carolyn say how God has moved other than she can’t imagine not doing the same, sharing what she has with someone else who needed help.
You won’t find a storybook ending with Carolyn and her family walking hand-in-hand into the sunset. Life isn’t really like that, is it? Carolyn doesn’t share any great revelations. Wasn’t she angry? Was there a moment when she cried out to God? There was a little disconnect for me, here. I kept asking myself, “Is that okay?” God isn’t done with them yet, and they certainly aren’t home. None of us are. However, the reflection guide provides good questions to fill in some of our personal blanks. Questions we might do well to chew on for a while.
Last, Lisa ends with a comment that will stick with me. I’m glad she said it:
“Sometimes we feel so unloved by God when we should feel unloved by the world.”
Ain’t that the truth? How do we get it so confused?
“In comparison to knowing and following Jesus …
Everything else pales.
Nothing else measures up.
All other stuff is a counterfeit.
When you lift your eyes to Jesus and let go of this world, what matters most comes into focus.”
This might take me a lifetime to learn. Perhaps the happy ending will come when we are drawing our bed covers close wondering, like Lisa’s grandmother, if tonight is the night we will see Jesus face to face.
Until then, hold on to this world loosely. Share what you have, “…your heart, your stuff, your time, and your Savior.”
If you leave a comment between now and August 26th, you will be included in a drawing to win a copy of Not of This World. It’s a thought provoking film, providing questions and considerations for deeper discussion. Put on a pot of coffee and gather your girlfriends.