In his book, The Glory of Christ, Peter Lewis shares a story told by a pastor he heard preach in Wales. When the pastor was about twelve he idolized a local rugby player. He literally papered the walls of his bedroom with newspaper clippings and photos, and loved to talk about the athlete’s exploits on the field. The pastor shared:
Then, when I was about 14-years-old, I got to know my hero personally! He was a keen angler and I used to go fishing with him. On these occasions I was able to observe him from an entirely different viewpoint and got to know the man, not merely the image. And the nearer I got the smaller he became.
But God eventually led that downcast schoolboy to a new hero. And I have walked with my Jesus for thirty-five years now. In that time I have often disappointed him, but he has never disappointed me! I have got to know him better, and the nearer I get the BIGGER he becomes.
I first heard this story at the Next conference (aka, New Attitude) last week. In his message on the preeminence of Christ, my older brother Joshua commented: “The more we learn of Jesus the bigger and more glorious he becomes in our eyes. To one extent or another everyone and everything in this sinful world will let us down. The closer we get the smaller and less appealing it will become. But the closer we get to Jesus the more beautiful and worthy we’ll discover that he is.”
Has this been your experience? If not, could it be that you are distant from Christ? Do not despair, but cry out to God. The psalmist writes, “When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!” (Psalm 65:3-4).
If you would like a bigger vision of Jesus I highly recommend downloading and listening to the (free) messages from Next. Start with the messages on Christ’s preeminence and life (by Josh and Kevin DeYoung, respectively). All of the messages stirred my heart with new affections for my Savior.