Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My reaction to the movie "Nikki and the Perfect Stranger"

This is not really my review of the movie “Nikki and the Perfect Stranger” as much as it is my response to it. The movie had a big impact on me as all of the movies in that series have in their own way. It is what will probably be the final in a series of movies starring Jefferson Moore. The plot of each story in the series centers around what would happen if Jesus Christ encountered people in 21st century America. What would he say about the differing challenges people face today? Is he really saying anything different to us now than he did during his earthly ministry that ended when he ascended to Heaven approximately 2,000 years ago?

Do not worry. There are no spoilers here. I am merely giving my reaction and how I reacted to the film. I can think of many times since I made my initial profession of faith where I felt just as disconnected from God as I did before I ever knew anything about him. There are times when I take my focus off of him and still feel that way. I am sure I am not the only one that has ever felt that before so I am praying this helps someone else too. A believer can feel disconnected from God when we take our eyes off of Jesus and start focusing solely on our outward actions and our inner world that produces those actions. That is not to say that we should ignore the command given in Second Corinthians 13:5. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” We can short-circuit our faith by focusing on ourselves and not enough on Jesus however. God has forgiven your sins if you have turned from those sins and trusted in his sacrifice on the cross as payment for the penalty of those sins. I urge you to do that right now if you have not.

All of us, including myself, can easily get caught up in the trap of measuring ourselves by how well we perform on a day-to-day basis or by comparing ourselves to other people. Our outward obedience would take care of itself if we would just become so immersed in Jesus that we stop endlessly dwelling on it. Nothing I do or do not do will affect how much God loves me. Our status before God can change based on whether or not we become true born again followers of Christ or not. His love for all the people he has created never changes though. That is why Judgment Day will be so hard for him--more so for him than anyone else. He will have to look at most of the people that have ever lived and say with the most anguish any heart could ever feel: “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:23)!

First John 4:8 says that God is love. Love is not just an attribute of his. He is love. We were created in his image as objects of his love as the movie so wonderfully points out. He desires nothing more than to pour out his love on us if we will just get ourselves out of the way and let him. Most people do not allow him that opportunity and they rob themselves of the greatest blessings and discovering what they were created for in the process. We are actually falling from grace when we look at all the ways we fail to measure up rather than living in thankfulness for what he has done for us on the cross. That is actually what it means to fall from grace. Some churches and even whole denominations have taken falling from grace to mean sinning to the point that one loses their salvation. Galatians 5:4 actually says, “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” The Lord sacrificed himself on the cross for nothing if we had any hope at all of being justified by what we do. What we do is a reflection of what we really believe but our salvation never has been and never will be a result of works! As the movie also pointed out very well, you cannot dwell on your failures and walk in faith at the same time. Confess your sins to God and repent of them if you have any that are unconfessed. Let it go and move on once you have done that though. God is still there and he still loves you.

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