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A lesson from Starbucks and Oprah

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Emily Jensen holds a cup of coffee from Starbucks display a quote from Oprahy Winfrey on the coffee cup sleeve (Credit: Emily Jensen)

I was sitting recently in a Starbucks in New York City, where my friend ordered a “tall Blonde Roast.”  It didn’t sound like something one would drink, but I am woefully ignorant of Starbucks nomenclature (my next cup of coffee will be my first).

His cup was more relevant to me than its contents, as it displayed this quote from Oprah Winfrey: “You are here not to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more of who you really are.”  I completely disagree—or agree—depending on how we interpret her assertion.

If she means that we are here to actualize our potential and become the best we can be solely through personal initiative, I find her sentiment to be patently unbiblical.  According to God, we are each fallen and flawed people in desperate need of redemption, not self-confidence.

If, however, she means that we are to “blossom” into the children of God we are by his saving grace, molded into the character of Christ and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, I agree completely. Here’s the problem: we must “shrink down to less” and surrender fully to our Lord before he can make us “blossom” Into his best for us.

C. S. Lewis: “Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.'”

This is a trade worth making.