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Reframing the Sun

• Greg Boyd

How we respond to misfortunes and tragedies depends on how we frame them. In Colossians 3, Paul writes that Christ is all and is in all. When we frame our life within this understanding, we begin to see how we can live through misfortunes and tragedies.

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When life happens, people usually react by hating the bad circumstances they’ve landed in and sometimes they get stuck there. But how we frame the problem makes a big difference in how we react to it. In this warzone world, where things get stolen and destroyed, we have a choice to remain in the peace and joy of Jesus Christ or to choose despair, anger, and resentment. We have the choice to understand our problems in the scope of Jesus Christ.

The sun is massive. It has a circumference of 2.7 million miles, and we could fit 1.3 million Earths inside of it. It occupies 98% of the total mass of our solar system. Yet, from our perspective, we can fit the sun into the palm of our hand. Because the sun is very far away, we put it into a frame with an expansive sky and against the earth that is close to us. The sun looks very small because of how we frame it.

The issue is never the size of the problem. The issue is rather the size of the frame in which we see the problem. When the problem takes up all of our sight, we can’t see beyond it. It takes up all of our time and energy. The smaller the frame of reference, the bigger the object. And the bigger the frame of reference, the smaller the object. When we are able to see our problems as small compared to the rest of the picture, it helps us manage the situation and realize how big it actually is in our lives.

Our frame of reference must reside in the knowledge that Christ is all and is in all. Jesus is all and is in all in relation to the whole creation. Nothing in this world is outside of Jesus’ scope. When we suffer, he is there helping us, but he is also so much larger than the problem. We may be suffering now, but through Christ’s actions, we have a story of redemption that far exceeds our problems being taken care of.

Our worth should be tied up in Jesus and not the things of this world. The things of this world will eventually be stolen, either by thieves or death. But when we frame the world with Jesus, we begin to see that there is so much more to our worth than the things of this world. It’s easy to feel like we lose value when something goes wrong in our lives, but in Jesus, we have infinite worth that never diminishes.

Our security should be wrapped up in Jesus and not in the things of this world. Many people turn to guarantees and security experts to feel safe in this world. But we were never promised safety in this world. Instead of resorting to guns or violence, we should look for something that is beyond our safety in this world—and that is our safety in eternal salvation in Jesus. Someone can take our life here on this earth. But they can never take away our eternal life. When we frame our security with this understanding, we begin to see that the things of this life seem very small when put in a larger picture.

This life should be framed by the life of Jesus. We will eventually lose our lives on this Earth.
Our possessions should be seen through the frame of Jesus. You’ve probably heard that you can’t take it with you. When we die, our possessions can’t come with us when we are resurrected. We should see our possessions as “on loan” from God during our life. This way, if someone does come and steal them or destroy them, we don’t feel like our lives are ruined because our lives are not wrapped up in what we own.

Paul gave us the biggest frame there is—Jesus Christ. This doesn’t mean that we don’t feel violated or feel grief when we lose things. But it does mean that nothing should steal our capacity to love our enemies or should steal our ability to act with joy and peace in the middle of our problems. This life is not the only life that you will be living. Where others melt down because this is the only life they see, we have a life that makes the problems of this world small in comparison.

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Topics: Conflict, Disciplines, Joy

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Focus Scripture:

  • Colossians 3:9-12

    Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

    Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

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3 thoughts on “Reframing the Sun

  1. Donna Henderson says:

    Thank you for a great message on framing. I work on an Adult Mental Health unit at a local hospital and will be able to use this information to help those in crisis. So many times the ‘events’ in their lives come to fill their whole frame. And, of course, the message is helpful for me too! God bless you richly.

  2. Peter says:

    What a great message Greg….but there is so much more. Mention was made that you had two books in development…but surely this is a third.

    There are so many examples in the Bible about characters not correctly “framing” their life decisions, from the garden of Eden forward. It is interesting when Jesus speaks to people there is often a curve ball response because he has re-framed their situation to what they should be looking at and not “big” problem in front of them.

    Then in Paul’s letters, where “framing” is also used in situations where he is correcting behaviors inconsistent with the Gospel.

    I am also about to read G K Beale’s book “We become what we worship”….a Biblical Theology of Idolatry and I can see that, in essence, this has so much to do with the way people “frame” their lives…..whether it be drugs, alcohol, inappropriate entertainment and the list goes on.

    So hopefully Greg, this message is just a taste of more to come….you cannot have an ecstatic experience from God for one message….look at what the prophets achieved.

  3. AJ says:

    My brother was just killed in a car accident a few weeks ago. My parents are devastated. His four kids are devastated. I am so broken. Thank you for this message. I feel like you were speaking directly to me and my family. I am not yet able to completely reframe this all– his death and its fallout. But before listening to this message I felt directionless. And now, at least, I see somewhere to work towards.

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