Pinching Jesus’ Cheeks

Ever been in the place where you feel that  if Jesus were standing in front of you that you would pinch his cheeks?

For example –

Jesus:    Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock.  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand.  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall  (Matthew 7:24-27).

Me:  Awe, aren’t you cute (Pinching Jesus’ cheeks ensues in a manner similar to seeing a new born baby with hamster cheeks and you just can’t help but pinch them). Isn’t Jesus cute! (I exclaim to others around me).

– or –

Jesus:   I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me (John 14.6).

Me: Uh, yeah, okay. Sure thing (Slight squeeze with a little hand slap like when we want to chase a child off).

– or –

Jesus: Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand (Luke 14:27-31)?

Me: YEAH (Pinching Jesus’ cheeks like you do with another adult that you’d like to knock out, but don’t because it just isn’t a good idea)!

Does this sound a little sacrilegious? Well, it is, but I got to admit that I think we all pinch Jesus’ cheeks every once in a while. Because the one thing that pinching cheeks seems to connote is that you know better. Pinch the little baby’s cheek, because she is so cute and her precocious preciousness is fleeting and you know it. Pinch the child’s cheek in a condescendingly affectionate way because you see the bigger picture and he doesn’t. Squeeze your friend’s cheek because he is belligerent and arrogant and you are warning him to back down without getting hostile.

Often in our walk with God we struggle with the idea that we know better than God. As Christians, we struggle with God’s instruction. Perhaps we struggle with our love for materialism and don’t want to heed God’s warnings (Mt 6:24; Lk 16:13). Or the idea of being married is so important to you that you think that God’s wise instruction not to be unequally yoked doesn’t apply to your situation (2 Cor 6:14). Or that your life belongs to you (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23).

Or you want an easy life – not the life of Bill Gates, but a life without turmoil and hardships. I think this is the place where we are most likely to fall into the trap of pinching Jesus’ cheeks – you know, actually thinking we know better.  Fortunately, our wisdom is God’s foolishness (1 Cor 1:25) but we must wrestle with coming to terms with these difficulties.

After all, we do have promises such as 2 Timothy 3:12, where we are reminded that ” In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. ” I love this verse because it reminds me that the requirement to be persecuted is not living a godly life in Christ Jesus, but wanting to live a godly life. All you have to do is desire it. And Paul includes things like being shipwrecked, labor, hardship, being hungry and thirsty, cold, without clothes, insomnia as part of his list of persecutions he experienced in 2 Corinthians 11. So persecutions can manifest themselves in many ways because “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12).”

But there are other reasons for difficulties too. Things such as God gives blessings and sufferings indiscriminately to those who live in His creation (Mt 5:45), God disciplines those he loves (Heb 12:5-11), that the universe groans under the consequences of sin and that these consequences are a reminder of our needing salvation (Rom 8:22-25), that by our suffering Christians exhibit to the world Jesus’ sufferings so they know who it is that can save them (Col 1:24), and all of this ultimately leads to the glory of God (Rom 5:2-4).

But this all leaves me with a question. How does this knowledge help me? I’ll attempt to answer this question in my next post.

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3 Responses to “Pinching Jesus’ Cheeks”

  1. Can’t wait top hear your answer.

  2. Can’t wait to hear the answer to the next question. Thanks, this was good and helped, now to remember it at the appropriate times. And remember to give thanks and praise where necessary.

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