Friday, April 14, 2017

Why We Play With Words

Okay, sometimes a play-on-words is just too much to resist.

This morning I made one of my usual spelling mistakes of a word that was still spelled correctly but not the word I was typing. In this case, where I was intending to type “mighty work”, I typed “might work”.

The change in meaning and effect from the intended expression to the one that made it into print was huge. It also made me consider the irony of what was missing.

What I mean is that, speaking of God in relation to his “mighty work” in giving Jesus Christ to die for our sins and be raised from the dead, identifies something we know with confidence, something very clearly affirmed by many witnesses, something that would have a profound effect on us now because of the mighty work God did then.

On the other hand, if we talk about things God intends to do with the idea that they “might work”, we are looking at God and his purposes from a far different perspective. Not only does “mighty work” focus on what God has already done in the past, while “might work” looks ahead at possibilities for the future, but the emphasis of speaking of God’s “mighty work” has a note of confidence, while “might work” has a note of uncertainty.

The missing letter in the latter phrase rings with a very common reason that people lack confidence in God’s “mighty work”. It is because they imagine that God has not answered “y” (or “why”) any of this matters. Like a little child who does not want to do what he has been told tries to distract a parent with kazillions of “why” questions, so the rebellious heart of man thinks it has the right to doubt God’s mighty works by making the “whys” a focus of their own, keeping all the attention away from what God has already done in history, and leaving the false sense of doubt, that God “might work” (and might not), as the pseudo-reason for rejecting Jesus the Christ.

As always, an illustration is just an illustration, and this play-on-words may be pushing even the limits of illustrations. However, it is an opportunity to consider whether you have adopted a “might work” view of God rather than confidence in the “mighty work” of God just because your “why” questions seem so incredibly real to you that your unfamiliarity with the realities of God leaves you suffering in unbelief.

Would you like to know what prompted these play-on-words thoughts this morning? I was looking at this phrase in preparation for my teaching time on Easter Sunday: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—“.[1]

God attested and affirmed Jesus to us “with mighty works”. The mighty works he has already performed in creation and salvation invite us to join him in his work of creating a people in the image and likeness of his Son. There is no doubt that, “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”[2] The only question is whether you are one of the people to whom this applies, or if you are missing out because of your “whys”.

© 2017 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Acts 2:22
[2] Philippians 1:6

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