Ravi Zacharias - University of Florida Q&A
1. What is your answer to the absence of free will? If God created every fiber of our being, every atom, every impulse, did he not also create sin, did he not also create satan and his actions?
Ravi Zacharias: Let me go first and then Vince will give you the substance of it. I'll take a stab at that. If the question is to hold together every assumption that is in that what is the purpose of God doing that then of course I'm assuming you also are wanting God to remain in the paradigm and that he is the Creator of the Universe and your life and mine. When you know that an infinite perfect God has created you and me, there're only four possibilities of God and creation. Number one, that God would create nothing, nothing at all. Number two, where he would create a world where there was no such thing as good or evil. An immoral world. Number three, where he would create a world where we would only choose good. Or number four, create this world where there's the possibility of good and evil, where there's the freedom given to us. No creation, immoral world, where we only choose good or create a world like this where he has given us the freedom to choose good and evil.
This is the only one of the four worlds in which love is possible. If love is the supreme ethic and love is the ethic toward which we're longing, towards which we all strive, this is the only one of the four possibilities in which love is given to us as a legitimate possibility. Let me give you the illustration from a child and then move into some philosophical extensions of that. You know when you are a parent, you look at life very differently than before you raised your first child. Then when you're a grandparent, you look at it even more differently than you did when you were a parent. When you're a parent, you are so preoccupied with the worries and the fears that your time is given over to that stress. Dissonance. When you've got grandkids, the wonderful thing is, somebody else does the worrying and you can just hug and hold and say goodbye at the end of the day and get your life back and get your house back again.
I don't know why a country musician has not yet written a song about this, as soon as they go, you get your house back, you get your toys back, you get everything back. But I watch my grandkids, G.K. Chesterton said he learned more from observing children than he ever did from going and studying philosophy. My three and a half grandson, Jude, who is now six, he's a guy with an amazing vocabulary. I don't know where he gets its from, but he's got it. He's the guy who dangles his feet at the table and looks across the table and says to you, "Papa, well he's six now but he was about five when he looked at me and said, papa, what is the meaning of sophomoric"? Who's teaching this guy, where is he getting all this from? So when he's three and a half, he's a wee little tike, sweet little boy, precious little guy and his mother had lost her car keys, and she's looking all over the place, and can't find it.
She pauses, our daughter Naomi, slaps her forehead and says, "I must be losing my mind". Jude comes and stands in front of her and says, "Mommy, whatever you do, please don't ever lose your heart because I'm in there". Tell me, where does he come up with something like that? The longing to look at his mother and say to her, "Don't ever lose your heart I'm in there". Love is the cRaving of the human heart to belong in the sacredness of trust and a relationship. And that is what you long for and I long for. God in giving us freedom, gave us the greatest possible gift we could ever have, with the greatest possible venerability at the same time. And once you know him, and follow him, and love him and enjoy his love, you will realize that for the sake of love and for the sake of that relationship with you he gives you that freedom and there are only two kinds of destinies that you have. "You can bend your knee to God" said C.S lewis and say to him, "Your will be done". Or you refuse to bend that knee to him and he says, "Your will be done".
If you really want to wish to enjoy the freedom of what this gift is all about creativity and all than this is the world that gives you the possibility of love and the beauty of the sacredness of a relationship. The more you get to know him, the less you ask the other question because you know in his wisdom he has an explanation that in time, and in eternity, will be ultimately revealed. Let me give you one illustration and turn it over to Vince. You take your two year old to a doctor for an injection and the doctor is about to jab that needle in and the two year old starts screaming and sits at the back of the car and on the way back says, "I don't understand my mother, she brought me here for him to jab this in my arm not only that, I saw her paying him for doing that to me". And then comes, a few years that go by and there's a disease stalking the land, and that little one has grown up and said, "If my mother hadn't done that, I would be a victim for what exactly is plaguing the country now". Time is a necessary component for understating the big picture. I have no doubt God gives us the big picture when we say, "I now get it". That is my brief answer to you. Thank you.
Vince Vitale: One way to understand this challenge is that God is all good and God only creates good things, so how is it that putting good things together if that's all that God creates could wind up with sin and evil? Let me just quickly give you a more trivial example but one that I find helpful in understanding this and then a more serious illustration from my life. The example that I find helpful is going to a buffet. Anyone like going to a buffet? I really like going to a buffet but I am not a good buffet eater, because I go the buffet and everything individually looks great and I'm not able to process the fact that some of these things don't go well together. And so I put all of them on my plate and it doesn't go well then or for the rest of the night. That's how I think about this. God only creates good things. He creates the power for me to move my arm. He creates the power for me to have free will. They're both good things. I can use my arm to help someone up. But if I put those two things together in the wrong way, then it's not a good thing.
And the more serious illustration in my life that makes me reflect deeper on this is of someone of who as a child I can remember as a teenager. I wasn't very kind to him and he wasn't very kind to me. And I used those powers that God gave me to push him down rather than to help him up. And I remember taking every opportunity I could to put this guy down. And the I learned a number of years ago, that he had taken his life. And at one point the Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death". And I had read that verse hundreds of times and it had never really hit me until then. And I had to start asking questions like, "Would he have taken his life had I been kind to him? Had I used those very same powers of the movement of my arm and of the free will, not to push him down but to help him up"? And I didn't know the answer to those questions.
Sometimes I think we're too quick to look up and blame God for the evil in the world and we're too slow to look to ourselves and turn that question around and ask what is our part in that. G.K. Chesterton was once asked to write into a newspaper with answer to the question, "Whats wrong with the world"? And he wrote a very short letter that said, "Dear sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton". And so sometimes I think we're too quick to look up and blame God, ironically the same God that when he was hanging down a cross looked at the ones that were producing evil in his life and the instinctive words on his heart were, "Father, forgive them".
2. If God is just then why give the eternal punishment of hell for temporal sin"?
Vince Vitale: It's a really, really good one. Not just the question about hell, but that idea of eternal punishment for temporal sin. I see that distinction in your question. And it makes it a harder question. And I appreciate that. Let me start off, if that's alright, because I can continue on from what I was saying. I think sometimes, we vastly underestimate our sin and it's consequences in this life. You know sometimes when I try to explain the idea of sin to people, they want to say to me, "Well, really, you're exaggerating. You're not too bad, it's not like you've killed anyone". Well I just told you that story of the guy from my childhood who went on to commit suicide so if you ask me that question, "Have I killed anyone"? That's actually a much more difficult question for me to answer than you might think it is.
And then what are the consequences of the way I use my free will in his life? Of him taking his life? What did that do in the context of his family? What will that do in the context of the future generations to come? It's sobering to think about that. You know, sometimes I can look back on my life as a teenager right now and say, "Man, I thought at the time that was no big deal". But the reality was, that was truly terrible. Well, any progress I have made in life, is about that much. Imagine how far along this path God would be. Imagine if the standard is not someone you see on the six o'clock news that's done something worse than you so you can feel better about yourself. What if the standard is a perfectly holy God. A perfectly holy God who loves each one of us. What would our sin look like from his perspective? And the multiplying and the exponential effects of that sin? Maybe Jesus gives us an idea in some of his statements. That lust would look like adultery. That unjust anger would look like murder.
So temporal sin, eternal punishment, when I think about the reality of my sin I don't see the gap the way you might initially presume that it is there. But now let's talk just briefly about this idea of hell itself. How are we gonna understand this idea. I think one of the best ways to understand it is in a relational framework. Jesus invites us into relationship with himself. A relationship can only be entered into if both people say yes to that relationship. If we are not willing to say yes to that relationship then there's nothing that Jesus can do on his side. Sometime people say, "Why is Jesus the only way to heaven"? And I answer, "Well, because Jesus is heaven". That's what heaven is. Why is Jesus the only way to eternal life? Well because Jesus is eternal life. Flourishing relationship with the God who created you and desires to be in friendship and relationship with you more than anything. That's what eternal life is. It's not just some theme park that we get a ticket to and then we can go or decide not go, it is the relationship itself.
And that's why someone like Christopher Hitchens said, "Heaven would be hell for me". Why? Because he doesn't want to be with God. Because he said that, explicitly at one point in his life. People like Frederick Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Hagel the philosopher, they say, "I don't want to be with God. It would be an invasion of my privacy. It would take away my autonomy. That's not attractive to me". Well if that's not attractive to you then God is not going to force you to be with him. And being apart from him, in the context of eternity, that's what we call hell. It's interesting that the Bible uses a phrase when it refers to hell at times it talks about weeping and gnashing of teeth. That may seem like a very harsh phrase to you, and it always did to me as well. But in my family we've dealt with a lot of estrangement.
At one time, two uncles of mine, they didn't speak for about seven years. But I have a vivid memory of the two of them, being at a wedding, together. They both had to be at this wedding, they had to be in each other's physical presence and yet relationally estranged. And you know what I saw on their faces? Literally, weeping and gnashing of teeth. That is the natural reaction to being in the presence of someone who you know full well you're supposed be family with, the person who is supposed to love you most, the person you were intended to be in the deepest friendship with and knowing that there's nothing other than your own stubbornness that keeps you from being together with them. That all it would have taken, on either side, just one of my uncles to say, "I'm sorry, will you forgive me"? And that relationship would have been restored. And that is the same with God. He will not force that upon us. But if we will just say, "I'm sorry". There's nothing he desires more deeply than relationship with each one of us.
Ravi Zacharias: You know it's fascinating, when we're asked questions like this, we ask them of ourselves too. We often think of these questions and struggled with it. When you read the story of the younger son, going out and squandering all the father's wealth and returning. There are always surprises in Jesus' stories, in fact, many of you may know the name of Nabeel Qureshi, who passed away. My colleague. He and I were in the process of authoring a book. And with Nabeel gone, Abdu Murray has taken that role now. And he and I are writing a book on the whole life of Christ through eastern eyes. When you listen to the stories of Jesus, there are surprises in them that are both explicit and extended. You don't expect that story to end that way. The younger boy coming home. I come from the east. If I'd taken my portion of the wealth, my dad didn't have much, but if I'd taken it, and gone and squandered it and then returned, I know what my dad would have done. "Tell him to come right here and fall on his face and I want to talk to that boy". But the story surprisingly ends in two ways you don't expect.
The first is that the father gathers his robes and he runs outside to welcome the son back. That's the grace of God, extended in the Gospel message, which is very unique, please hear me now, in every other world view: salvation is earned. Your good deeds have to outweigh your bad deeds. Your righteousness has to exceed your unrighteousness. Your karma has to be paid. Only in the Gospel message is salvation a gift. The gift of grace. Unmerited by you. So the father comes out to receive the son. That's a surprise in the eastern story but there's a second surprise. There's an older brother, who's pretty upset. He goes, "What's this? I've been here all along and he's the boy who's getting the party. What do I need to do"?
You see, he's the one who had never enjoyed the love of the father, even though he lived under the same roof, he never got to break free from his own selfishness to extend joy, the love of the father. I say to you, to somebody who doesn't want God, even heaven would be hell for that person, goodness would be an angering thing to the individual, all I can tell you is this, "If any man comes unto me, Jesus says, I will in no way cast him out". You have the opportunity to come to him if you desire not to be with him, he will second your motion. And that is a choice you make for time and eternity. There's a younger boy who repents, there's an older boy who's in the house but never really enjoys being with the dad. You and I can fall into one of those two categories.
3. Is God okay with people being transgendered? Does the Bible say anything against it?
Vince Vitale: Well thank you for this question. And I suspect it may be a very personal question for multiple people in the room and watching. So I want to be sensitive in the way that I answer it and admit to you up front that I don't have a perfect response to this issue which is becoming more and more prevalent and we're thinking about more and more. Let me offer a couple of thoughts. One, I want to affirm this feeling of a gap between who we feel ourselves to be and what ultimately we're intended to be. Or the way that we are now and the way that we feel we ought to be. That gap there. The Bible affirms that gap. It says that we're living in a broken world, it says that the creation itself is groaning for restoration. So if you feel that gap in yourself between where you are and what you feel like you ought to be, the Bible affirms that experience, that feeling. The question is, is our gender something that is given to us or something that we need to create ourselves?
Now if we're working within an atheistic framework, then we have no choice but to try to create our identities ourselves, in a variety of ways. I think that can be a great burden. I referenced Camu earlier. He spoke about this as picturing someone carrying like atlas, carrying the entire world on their back, that burden of having to create your own identity. If we're talking about this within a Christian framework, then we don't need to create our own identity, our identity in various respects is given to us by God. And God created people, according to the Bible male and female. Now there may still be this gap, between where we feel that we are and where we want to be. There may be a gap between what we are biologically and what we feel. God's love for us is holistic. Okay, he loves us has full beings. Not just our emotions, and our psychology and our feelings, not just our bodies. He loves both of them. And he's the one, if he exists, who knit us together in our mother's wombs and knows us better than anyone.
So he loves us in our physicality and our biology and he loves us in our emotions and our psychology and his promise is that there can be restoration and reconciliation for them. And here, I think is the amazing thing. Why should we trust God? Why should we trust Jesus with something as significant as that in our lives? Well I think it's because Jesus himself experienced something of a mismatch between who he was and the body that he was in. Jesus himself, the incorruptible God took on a corruptible body and there was a mismatch there in some sense. And yet, because he was God himself, he was able to die and then rise again with a redeemed body that was fully restored and fully reconciled. And so why, if you are going through this yourself and you're dealing with it personally and you're saying, "This is really, really though. And with the Christian faith asks of me is really tough. Because it's asking me to trust that there can be this reconciliation, this restoration of two things that seem to be part of me. And I don't see how that can happen"?
Well the question is: Is there a God, big enough and loving enough who can do that? Did that God actually reveal himself in history? And did he reveal himself in history in a way that shows us that he understands exactly what your going through because he took on a body that didn't feel right. But he was able to go through that and rise with a redeemed body and because he knows exactly what you are going through. That's why if that's true, you can trust him, with your gender, with both your physicality and with your emotions. And you can trust that he is leading all of this towards a time where there will be no more mourning or death or crying or pain. And we forget sometimes what is a thin slice of time it is that we live in right now and how much different things could be one day. But what if it is the case that one day is like waking up from a dream and that is what more real and rich and substantive and true our lives will be then in the wholeness we will experience then will be compared to what we experience now. I think that's a beautiful hope and promise that Jesus offers, and he offers it to anyone that is struggling with this issue.
Ravi Zacharias: I'll keep my answer brief. I will recommend for you a book by Mark Yarhouse, and it's called, "Gender Gysphoria", and Mark, in his book, gives us basically the three models with which you respond to such a very difficult question. He calls it the integrity framework, where one may come down upon a person and say, you know, you've got the choice between A and B, and you retain that integrity. He goes to the second option, which is the disability framework, and he says those sociologists or others who may look at it as a disability type thing, and he says neither of these two are meeting the needs that people are really asking about, so he gives the diversity framework and talks about the options that we live in our culture today. You need to look at those three frameworks that Mark Yarhouse presents and see which of his arguments really are appropriate for you.
So, let me just give you a simpler answer on the subject, on the footnote of what Vince has said. One of the things that we face as Christian apologists is a diversity of opinions on these things, and people who really and genuinely hurt over decisions like these. We know the deep anguish in which people come to talk to us. We've got people on our team who are specifically qualified that address this issue and deal with it from experience in matters that they themselves have struggled with. You know, there's a fascinating passage in the Old Testament, when Naaman is suffering from a certain disease and he comes to see Elisha, and Elisha prays over him and heals him. Naaman, the Syrian, is shocked that this prophet of Israel has laid his hands on him and made him well. He asks an incredible question, and receives an even more incredible answer. Naaman looks at Elisha and he says, I have a question for you. I know who your God is, and I know this of the God I now worship. When I go back home and work for my master, he takes me to the temple, and in that temple, he leans on my arm and asks me to bow down with him by the pressure he puts on my arm for me to kneel, too.
Elisha, what should I do? I knew that question was very sensitive because it comes from my culture in the same way. You are asked to celebrate a festival that is not in keeping with what your own faith is, but many times you're asked by friends, would you like to come to the temple and just celebrate this festival with me? Elisha looks at Naaman and says, go, and God will be with you and will guide you. Elisha doesn't play God for him. Elisha says, go, and God will be with you and God will guide you. So, I just give you one little answer in this. Please, ask a question about yourself, not what you are, but who you are. That's the first question - who am I, Lord? Not what am I, who am I? And once you gain your identity in him, all other identities can be defined for you as well. He will tell you who you are, and I will just tell you, ask God the question as you read his word, and he will guide you. I will not play God in your life. You lean on him, he will guide you.
4. Why do I have to accept someone who died for me if I don't want to? If someone (Jesus) dies for me when I never asked him to, for his own glory, isn't that selfish and prideful?
Ravi Zacharias: Think carefully. Who is the one who's wrestling with pride here? God, who is perfect, or you and I, who are imperfect? I think... Fair enough, it's a great question, and I think it either comes from your heart or is coming on behalf of somebody else, that someone else has raised this question for you. You know, I was speaking at one of the major universities and some guy had written an article about me. I don't normally read any articles about myself. I've got enough problems without reading them. And so, somebody just told me that some guy had said your apologetic is very anecdotal rather than argument driven and anecdote driven. And I said, actually, he's right. We move from story to argument, not from argument to story.
I come from the East, and I said to him, do you know what? In your one criticism, you have basically denorated the entire Hindu Scriptures, the Gita, which is a story. You have denorated the traditions of Islam, which is the hadith, their anecdotes and stories. You think by giving an argument, you've solved the problem, and I said, if I say something like this to you: why don't you believe in God? You'll tell me well, maybe there's too much evil in the world, and then I'll ask you what you mean, and then you might say, you know, I had a friend who died of cancer at the age of 10, or 12, or something. You go to the anecdote also! You just go to it the other way around in order to illustrate your point. We go to the anecdote to build the argument. And so, let me start off with it this way. Sin is a capital offense. It's a capital offense. You reject God, and bear in mind, Jesus Christ didn't come into this world to make bad people good. He came into this world to make dead people live. You and I are dead to God. He came to make us alive unto God. He didn't just come to make me a very good person from being a very bad person.
The reality is, the heinousness of sin, it is so awful when sin becomes evil, sin in my heart can be isolated in my expression. What is it? It's choosing my own way rather than God's way. But then, if I propagate that sin and multiply that sin, it sort of becomes evil and becomes like a cancer that spreads and destroys the soul. The death of Christ is to tell us a few things. Maybe I could illustrate it this way. I was speaking at the U.N. Some years ago, and they asked me to speak on the search for absolutes in a pluralistic society, and you get about 18 minutes in which to do it, you know. So, I told them the four absolutes we really look for: evil, justice, love, forgiveness. How do we define evil? How do we define justice? How do we define love? And when we blow it, how do we gain forgiveness?
I said, these four realities, you wrestle with. You talk about just societies as U.N. Ambassadors. You talk about evil nations. You talk about missing your families because you love them, and some of you are gonna blow it ethically and you're gonna need to be forgiven. And they're all leaning forward and listening: evil, justice, love, forgiveness. I said, you're all looking for those absolutes. I said, now, let me ask you this. Where is the one place in history where these four converged? Evil, justice, love and forgiveness - I said, they converged on a hill called calvary, where Jesus offered his life, taking all the evil that was there, being a just God, expressing love, and saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do".
Some years ago, India was subject to a terrible terrorist attack in the city of Mumbai. Two of the major hotels affected were the Oberoi Hotel and the most beautiful... Both of them are beautiful hotels, the Taj Mahal Hotel. I've been there a few times to have a meal, and they are lovely landMark hotels, and these boys broke in there and opened up their machine guns and just mowed people down. There are Markers in the lobbies of both hotels for what happened that day. I happened to be there a few days after it happened, and I was in the Taj Mahal Hotel. That night, I was watching the television news that was covering this story. The Marks were still there, and an Indian born English actor was being interviewed, and he told a reMarkable story. Here's what he said. He said, I was in the Taj Mahal Hotel having dinner with my friends, and they were all mowed down. All of my friends were killed. The machine gun fire was going through our room. There were bloodied bodies, we were all piled up. He said, I dove over them and I was right at the top, and I heard footsteps, and I knew it was this guy, the lead killer, who was walking towards us. I just closed my eyes and froze as best as I could, and he was right beside me. I knew his gun was trained on me, but he didn't pull the trigger, and he walked away.
And the interviewer said to him, why do you think he didn't pull the trigger? He said, I don't know, ma'am. I really don't know. I only have one possible explanation, and that is this. I was so covered with the blood of my friends that he took me for dead and walked on to the next table to see who he could kill. In that simple metaphor, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a sheik in Ramallah. We were talking about all the evils around there, and we were given a chance to ask him one question. I won't tell you what my question was, because it was a private meeting, but I didn't like his answer. He was a muscle-bound kind of guy. He could have broken me into two very easily. But I looked at him and I said, sheik, I may never see you again, but I just want to say to you this. Five thousand years ago, God commanded Abraham to take his son up a hill. I said, please, let's not debate which son. You know that he took his son up a hill. And as the ax is about to come down, God stops that arm and says, don't do it. I said, do you know that story? He said yes. I said, what else did God say? God, through Abraham, said, I, myself, will provide. Stop! I, myself, will provide. I said, sheik, 2.000 years ago, a close walk from where you and I are sitting, God kept that promise. He took his own Son up that hill, and this time, the arm did not stop.
And the sheik was just staring at me. I said, until you and I receive the Son God has provided, we'll be offering our own sons and daughters on the battlefields of this world for position, and power, and land, and prestige. He just stared at me. I said, that's all I want to say to you. The archbishop was with us, said, I think it's time to go. So, we left. And as we were walking down, the archbishop was the guest of honor. This lead sheik, who was a very vicious kind of guy in his history, served prison terms and all, took the archbishop and ushered him into his car, and the others of us were going to our van, and I heard footsteps running behind me, and I looked over and it was the sheik coming after me. I said, that's it, I'm going to be buried in Ramallah. It's over, finished. He twirled me around. I have two titanium rods in my back holding me up. I figured my back was going to be in splinters that afternoon! He turned me around, and he gripped me like that, and he kissed me on both sides of my face. He said, Mr. Zacharias, you're a good man. I hope someday I will see you again.
It's not what you think it is that God having a nice, satisfying moment to take his Son to the cross. He promised, thousands of years ago that he was going to send you the greatest gift, and pay the greatest price, so that you and I may be drawn to him. If you look at it through the lens of his eyes of love rather than your own eyes of thinking this is some kind of child abuse, or whatever it is, you will not fully come to the dissonance until you'll see him face to face. I would be willing to lay my life down for my children and my grandchildren. It would not be a pride thing to do, it would be an act of love and sacrifice because of who they are to me. He paid the biggest price to draw you and me to him. Read the Gospel of John three times in a row, and ask him to speak to you, and see if you come to the same conclusion that the question seems to intimate. I think you will have a different answer to it. That's what I want to say to you.
Vince Vitale: I wouldn't mind seeing the question on the screen once more, if that's all right. And it's a great question, and it goes back to our discussion of hell as well - this idea, why do I have to accept someone? You don't. You don't have to accept him, but I just think that's incredible that God would give his life, even for someone who doesn't have to accept him and who may not accept him. Is that a God that's all about himself? No, that is a God who is about others, and I think we just underestimate the love of who Jesus is - someone who said love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, someone who looked down from the cross and said, "Father, forgive them", someone who said do to others what you would have them do to you, the golden rule. We just think of that now as if everyone in the ancient world said that. No one said that, and that was completely counter cultural. That's Jesus' original research.
The closest we get is Confucius. He said, don't inflict on others what you do not want inflicted on yourself. But the difference between those statements, that's the difference between saying don't punch someone in the face and build your enemy a hospital. The world did not fall in love with love until Jesus came, and that's what we see at the cross, the fact that he would die for people, even people who may not accept him. And if I could just give you one more encouragement, as I just plead with you - no, you don't have to accept him, but please accept him. And I implore you not only to accept his death, but the acceptance is greater than that. It's his resurrected life as well. He calls it the fullness of life, a life that he says will be characterized by love, and joy, and peace, and patience, and kindness, and generosity, and faithfulness, and gentleness, and self-control. What would your life look like if it was overflowing with those things?
I think to my own life, and I think about who I was before Christ, someone who would never ask for forgiveness. Why? Because if I needed to be forgiven, I was bad, and if I was bad, I was wrong, and if I was wrong, I was unlovable. Boy, that would have been a recipe for disaster in marriage. And now, to be someone living with Christ and to find joy, and being able to just put my hand up and say, you know what? I was wrong, and will you please forgive me? And what a blessing that has been in the context of our marriage, a healthy relationship that I know would not be there otherwise. I was headed towards unfaithfulness, towards a marriage that would have been destroyed. And I stand here today, because of the transformation I've seen by Christ in my life, in a completely different place. So, just to go back to something I said earlier, what are your expectations for life? What were they as a child? What were they 10 years ago, 5 years ago? What are they today? How great are they?
You know, if your expectations for life are low enough, you can get away with being your own God. I did for a long time. If your expectation is to be well respected and run in the right circles, you can get away with the city being your God. If it's immediate pleasure, you can get away with sex being your God. But if you want something more, if you want the fullness of life, if you're willing to go back to that childhood idealism and say, you know what? There was something of God in that. I was intended for something more significant, for that fullness of life that Jesus talks about. Well, how big of a God will you need to make good on those expectations? And when you see life through that lens, through the lens that you were intended to see it, and experience it, and live it, I think only the God who is Jesus will do.