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The Overview Effect

Monday, June 20, 2016 @ 10:52 AM
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Jeff Chamblee Dir. American Family Studios MORE

When astronauts return to earth they describe a unique phenomenon known as the overview effect. It is a powerful, almost overwhelming sense of awe and transcendence that happens when taking in a view of the earth in a way none previously could have imagined. Those that have walked on the moon and have seen half the planet at one time against the endless blackness of space say there’s a deep spiritual attractiveness about this experience. Maybe that’s why the observation window is the most popular hangout for off duty crew members aboard the International Space Station. 

You and I may never know firsthand what these men and women describe from space, but we have something infinitely better. We have in our Bibles the written revelation of the One Being who brought everything into existence and sustains it by the word of His power. The astronauts may know something of the “what” of creation, but apart from the scriptures they can’t know the “why” or the “who”. 

Even though the window of scripture is an unspeakable gift to humanity, we can’t stop there. Astronauts press in to the window for one reason - to see what’s outside. In much the same way, you and I come to the Bible, not simply to appreciate its beauty and inerrancy, but to look through it and see the glory and majesty of God – ultimately as it’s seen in the Person of Jesus Christ. 

When we look at the glories of Jesus we can’t help but be changed. Think about it - He is fully God, eternal, infinite and unlimited in power and wisdom all embodied in human flesh. He is fully human, understanding our weakness yet never having once sinned. He is the only mediator between God and humanity and gives eternal life to all who will turn from sin and trust in His sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. Through Him you and I can stand before God perfectly clean and unspotted by the guilt of sin. In a real sense we are as accepted by God as Christ Himself and have the assurance that all things are working together for our good. We know we’ve beheld the beauty of His glory and holiness when out of the experience flows a loving obedience on our part. 

As Christians, when we look at Him…I mean really look at Him, an array of very supernatural things happen. Pride vanishes, compassion grows and genuine goodwill toward our neighbors flourishes. The Bible describes it in 2 Cor. 3:18 as being changed from glory to glory. How the world needs to see these kinds of transformed Christians! 

This drives home the truth that the Bible isn’t just a nice accessory for Christian living. It isn’t a book to be used to make us better people but to reveal the One who makes us new people. Along with prayer and obedience it’s the means of grace God has given us to know Him and make Him known to the world around us. It’s a tangible demonstration of God’s wisdom and glory inspired by the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to the world. What a treasure! 

Even though the Christian life is a pilgrimage of faith, it isn’t blind faith. We trust in a real God who doesn’t lie or mislead. He has sworn by Himself in His word to do exactly what He promised. So, whether we’ve just begun this Christian life or have been on the pilgrim road for decades, let’s make sure we’re sitting by the window. Let’s take the word of God in hand, press up against it and let the spiritual overview effect take hold.

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