Part 1: Putting On Our King Jesus Glasses
[Editor’s Note: One chief reason www.ChristNow.com exists is to reshape and sharpen how God’s people see the full extent of Christ’s supremacy at this very moment so as to seek and serve all we have in him. Having spread a grand vision of God’s Son across the globe for decades, David Bryant presents in the next two blogs his prescription for revolutionizing your life in Jesus by how you look at Jesus. These principles are equally valid for every congregation.]
You don’t realize how pitiful and miserable you have become.
You are poor, blind and naked. So here’s my advice . . .
buy from me healing lotion to put on your eyes. Then you will be able to see. I warn and correct those I love . . . (Revelation 3, NIRV, emphasis added)
Let’s talk about vision.
The time is long overdue for the Church to set itself about the task of recovering a thoroughgoing King Jesus-sized vision.
It’s time we get ourselves refitted with the eyewear many of us have misplaced, often inadvertently. Or maybe no one ever gave us the right pair of glasses in the first place.
I’m talking about our very own “King Jesus Glasses”—spiritual spectacles to correct the all-too-prevalent shortsightedness that keeps many believers from seeing more clearly our Royal Redeemer as he really is: high and lifted up; seated at the helm of the universe; ruling triumphantly at this very moment from the center of God’s throne; Head of the Church; lord and master of every believer.
Are you interested in claiming your personal set of King Jesus Glasses?
Because once you get hold of a pair they will change the way you look at everything!
Talking Optics with Chinese Christian Leaders
Let me tell you when and why I started using this metaphor to expose the troubling “vision affliction” I’ve uncovered in the past three decades while traveling and interacting with the Church around the world.
The story involves my foundational book titled Christ Is ALL! Join the Joyful Awakening to the Spectacular Supremacy of God’s Son (CIA). Recently a request came to print 500,000 copies of CIA translated into Mandarin Chinese for use by a major seminary-by-extension program inside China, which currently trains tens of thousands of pastors within the nationwide house church movement.
Before signing the contract, however, the Singaporean publishers pressed me with one precondition: that I write for them a supplementary introduction. They wanted an interpretive essay designed specifically to convince their students of the one goal the faculty deemed essential for pastors and lay leaders to grasp.
That goal? For CIA’s “take” on the greatness and glory of God’s Son to become the prime lens, the principal filter, through which seminarians would process and reflect on all their other studies, allowing CIA’s expansive Christology to inform and infuse every other theological topic and textbook students tackled.
The governing board was convinced that if during seminary days their students were sufficiently captivated by CIA’s kind of perspective on Jesus—by its unrelenting focus on the spectacular nature of his person and the decisive dynamics of his life-giving sovereignty—this prerequisite point of view would continue to dominate all the ways they minister for Christ for the rest of their lives.
In other words, the seminary envisions graduates who will go forth determined to give the Lord Jesus unmitigated preeminence in everything, and consequently end up infusing the Christians they serve with the very same persuasion.
The truths of Christ’s supremacy, they concluded, must become the start-and-end point for how future pastors plan to equip believers to study and apply Scripture, or to practice the discipline of prayer, or to walk out daily obedience to the Master.
A Perspective Worthy of Any Spiritual Optometrist
So, with that desired outcome in mind, I titled my additional introductory chapter “We Need King Jesus Glasses.”
In it, I described for church shepherds (whether in China or anywhere else) a unique pair of invisible bifocals designed to equip Christ followers to view reality (including ministry) in two essential directions at the same time.
First, these sacred lenses would provide them an uncommonly dynamic view of our Lord Jesus himself, helping them survey more clearly all he embodies as the unrivaled King of kings.
But, I pointed out, concurrently as bifocals they would equip them to see all the rest of life through the wonders of the lordship of Jesus—interpreting the world around them, and more specifically the entire Christian life, based on how the ascended Son of God is manifesting himself daily as the mediatory monarch over every aspect of who we are and what we’re about.
By constantly focusing their congregations on the all-prevailing sovereignty and sufficiency and saving power of the Christ, I wrote to my readers, pastors would ensure that their members consistently defined everyday existence by his kingdom’s eternal agenda.
Then with these glasses in position (so to speak) I asked my readers to join me in a dream—to attempt a mental exercise that for years I’ve encouraged Christian leaders everywhere to try.
Dream Along With Me
Here’s the dream: How rejuvenated might believers become if they were enabled to view everything in direct relationship to Christ himself, for all he is?
In other words, what if all things—from the weekly activities of congregations, to marching orders in discipleship, to securing moral victories in daily relationships, to pursuing a kingdom agenda in the marketplace, to our mission to the nations, to our efforts at healing our cities, to our redemptive responses to world events, to our determined defenses in spiritual warfare—were viewed as directly and continuously engaged with the forever alive, fully active, fiercely advocating, forwardly advancing, fervently adored Son of God?
How much more exciting—how much more fulfilling—could any walk with Christ become for those who tackle life like this, day after day?
To encapsulate the dream another way:
Imagine a church whose members join hands to pursue in every way possible total involvement with God’s Son as the sovereign, salvaging, shepherding, sending Savior of heaven and earth. How much more alive would such a fellowship of visionaries become if they have hearts that burn together for Christ and his kingdom?
Biblically speaking, what this “dreaming exercise” represents is precisely the approach to life God places before all of his people, and what he desires our experience to be all of the time.
Colossians 3 puts it like this:
If you are then “risen” with Christ, reach out for the highest gifts of Heaven, where your master reigns in power. Give your heart to the heavenly things, not to the passing things of earth. For, as far as this world is concerned, you are already dead, and your true life is a hidden one in Christ (Phillips, emphasis added).
As I noted in the Mandarin introduction to CIA, the transformative repercussions of this radically renovated perspective regarding the exaltedness of Jesus are incalculable—whether for worshiping on Sunday, or building community, or promoting Christian unity among churches, or deepening individual spiritual vitality, or accelerating the witness of the gospel among the unreached. Of course, this paradigm isn’t just for Chinese Christians; it belongs to Christ followers of every tongue, in every place, of every age.
In Mere Christianity, for example, C. S. Lewis describes the very same bifocal experience this way:
I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen,
not just because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
Actually, a major rationale for finding and putting on our King Jesus Glasses can be summed up by simply paraphrasing and applying Lewis’ observation to read like this:
Christians believe in Jesus Christ
not only because we see him ascended and active as Lord of all,
but because we see everything else in the universe as it really is
through the lens of his spectacular supremacy.
In my next blog post I want to share with you more of the blessings of this “dual vision” we have in Christ.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Bryant
Known as a proclaimer of Christ and Messenger of Hope, David Bryant is the founder and president of Proclaim Hope!, an outreach whose goal is to serve a nationwide Christ Awakening. David is the author of many books, including Christ Is ALL! Join in the Joyful Awakening to the Supremacy of God’s Son. David and Robyne have been serving Christ together for over 40 years. Their most important ministry, however, remains centered on their three adult children and their spouses, and their four grandchildren.