One of the first things I did when I was hired as the part-time youth pastor at Prairie View was come up with a name for our youth group. I wanted it to communicate something meaningful beyond the tried and true cliches of youth ministry (if you know, you know). And I wanted something “cool”, something that would look good on t-shirts.
I landed on “Gravity”.
Think what you will of the name (and keep those thoughts to yourself, please). This will not be my defense of “Gravity” as a name. You may be surprised to learn that I’ve never really felt comfortable with it. I hardly ever refer to our youth group as anything besides “youth group”. Calling it “Gravity” has always been awkward for me—a little like giving myself a nickname.
But setting my personal discomfort aside, “Gravity” has served as a constant reminder to me of the shape of the Christian life.
Gravity is a universal truth. It exists whether you believe in it or not. And if you choose to ignore gravity, then you’re going to have to deal with the consequences. Gravity doesn’t change whether or not you believe in it, but your life certainly will!
The same is true of Christ and the Gospel. It’s truth does not depend upon my belief, but my life will look drastically different if I don’t ignore it.
Over the past several months, I’ve been struck by how often my Bible study (most recently in 1 Peter) has boiled down to one simple thing: trust in God. As I read and search for how to live as a Christian, it always comes back to this one thing: will I trust in God or not?
It seems so simple and obvious. After all, this is the Christian faith we’re talking about—where faith and trust are synonymous. Questions about justice, questions about freedom, questions about submission and authority and love, all of these are at root questions about trust. Can I trust that God knows what he’s talking about? Can I trust that God means well? What’s going to happen to me if I live faithfully to God?
The Bible paints a picture of God as loving and powerful—a picture that is clearest at Calvary. God’s victory over death through the power of the cross isn’t just a stage for God to flex his muscles. Neither is his death merely to show that he loves us enough to die for us. God’s power is put to work on behalf of God’s love. Through the sacrifice of Christ a way is made for you and I to be adopted as children into God’s family!
The story goes that Sir Isaac Newton saw an apple fall from a tree and discovered gravity. What do you discover when you see the Son of God nailed to a cross? I hope you see that God’s love is not helpless and his power is not heartless. God is great enough to save us and good enough to want to.
And this truth is more universal than gravity, and ought to be even more formative. God is trustworthy—he’s given us reason for an unmatched confidence by way of the cross. The question is, will you and I live in harmony with the truth or choose to ignore it?