Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Search for Significance

The entire human race, from the African tribesmen to the Wall Street executives, are searching for personal significance. From power to authority to wealth and to physical strength, they all are leveraged to establish significance.

Gal.6:3 - For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

I Jn.3:1 - Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:

hose two statements appear to the natural mind to be contradictory. But to those of us who have been born again and have received the new nature, we realize that we are nothing outside of Christ and God’s sons in Christ. But mankind, individually and collectively, continues to seek his own significance through his own labors and righteousness. Only in Christ can we find our true identity, and only in Him are we made alive.
Being dead is not always found in a coffin. The Scriptures teach us that sinners outside of Christ are dead in trespasses and sins. Spiritual death hides well within physical life and activity. It can use religious words and go through any number of religious observations, all while being completely dead spiritually. And surprisingly, spiritual death is very strong and seeks its own significance. In fact, spiritual death seeks all sorts of religious affirmation without seeking Christ and His life.
And when spiritual death is allowed to roam free and unchallenged among the community of faith, then it will eventually spread and even be embraced as legitimate expressions of spiritual life. And that kind of living death begins to infect the entire sense of Christ within His own body until any semblance of His power and glory has vanished and heathen practices of all kinds are accepted as the norm. And the prophetic voices that should be calling correction from the pulpit have morphed into voices that affirm and encourage the entire tragic scene. The sheepfold is diseased and wounded and infiltrated by contented goats, and the pulpits are sources of entertainment.
But in that very scenario sheep and goats alike find their significance. Like an algebra teacher who gives his students simple crossword puzzles to do, and the class feels a sense of accomplishment when they easily do them, but they are never given algebra problems or homework. So are many churches that concentrate on the family, or finances, or personal success, or moral outrages, or political activism, or even intertwine patriotism with Christianity. But even any problems that can be legitimately associated with those categories are spiritual issues and cannot be solved by activism or more information. Those issues are residual, but at the very heart of it all is following Jesus Christ with a humble and unquenchable passion.
The only genuine significance is found in Jesus Christ, and the only way to deepen and actualize that significance is to seek and sustain a personal revival that increasingly makes your life insignificant and His life paramount. Therein lies the paradox. If you seek significance you will only find it when you become completely insignificant and Christ Himself becomes your only significance and, in fact, becomes your life. We call that “Jesus is Lord”.
Let us unpack that particular phrase, “Jesus is Lord”, which was more common in earlier days. That concept is infinitely profound and yet was usually bandied about carelessly as a slogan, a church sign, a Christian shirt, or even some bumper sticker. But the true meaning and expression of that phrase is a million times more consequential and in fact carries the very essence of our faith. Who today even considers the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their everyday lives? Jesus has become a membership card in a religious club that is passed out to anyone who wants it. And after receiving such a membership card called “Jesus”, it is placed in the wallet of your life inside an inconspicuous flap. You forget it is there.
And yet the Scripture declares that we are the sons of the Living God! How in God’s dear name have the Father’s sons fallen in love with the world of the father of lies?? We walk in darkness that is so deep and so vile that it exists on the brink of utter chaos, and yet the supposed lights live unnoticed. This culture murders millions of unborn babies, accepts all kinds of moral perversion, and proudly proclaims that all roads lead to God, and yet we as the followers of the Risen Christ remain powerless, dim, and unnoticed within that same culture.
It is because we have found significance in Babylon. We love what the lost love and we are entertained by their entertainment. Our consciences are soothed by a couple of weekly religious observations, but our lives are contented participants within this very culture. And if we are against abortion, or against gay marriage, or do not commit murder or adultery, we consider ourselves as committed disciples of the Lord Jesus. But we have conveniently deceived ourselves, and our pulpits affirm us in our lukewarm condition. One of the greatest revelations of God’s love is that He hasn’t already destroyed the entire rotting mess.
But what a glorious journey it is to fervently seek Christ, and in Him find a fathomless ocean of significance. The depths of His glory can never be fully plumbed, however He awaits with graciousness to fill us with His Spirit when we diligently seek Him with all our hearts. And this is another paradox. Seeking Christ requires spiritual labor, but within that labor resides a spiritual energy that cannot be found elsewhere.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

ow can I describe a “spirit” to you? And yet God is a spirit. Perhaps you can image eternity in the future, but how can you comprehend that God had no beginning? You cannot even imagine how large and how small the universe is, so how can you fully image the majesty of the Creator Himself? Look around you and see the houses and cars and stores and roads and food. Everything you see was dug up out of this earth. Nothing came from Mars or another galaxy. And who made this earth? The Father of Creation is powerful beyond imagination. He speaks, and a billion suns are made. He is immaculate and untouched by sin, and His holiness is a consuming fire.
And although He is august, He has condescended and allowed His own created rebels to not only join Him, but to be like Him and dwell with Him forever. I said FOREVER! Does that not sink in? FOREVER! I wish we would assimilate that with a reality that transcends some written doctrinal creed. I wish we could embrace who God is and what he has done with such fiery passion that our lives would become nothing less than relentless journeys to seek and serve Him with reckless abandon.

I wish this world would be nothing to us and we would daily find all our significance solely in Christ Jesus.


Anonymous said...

Precious readers of this blog, sinners outside of LORD Jesus Christ are dead in trespasses and sins.

How blessed we are for, the Father of Creation who made this earth is powerful beyond human imagination!

He speaks, and a billion suns are made. He is forever untouched by sin, and His holiness is a consuming fire.

Although God is august, He offers rebels, like you and me, the opportunity to not only join Him, but to be like Him and dwell with Him forever in His glorious, holy loving, forgiving presence.

Let's repeat the word forever. Let's allow this most wonderful word to register in our heart.

Deligent seekers for truth, let's not underestimate the challenge before us, for seeking Christ, Our righteous King, will require an incredible amount of spiritual labor on our part!

Truly only in Christ can we find our true identity, and only in Him are we made spiritually alive.

May we daily desire to find all our significance solely in Christ Jesus.

For thine, holy God, is the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

I think we can only "see" FOREVER with a sort of sideways glance. It's just too much.
But if we focus on Jesus - the world fades away. If we focus on the flesh - to indulge it or even fight it - then it grows.
To keep our focus on Jesus and to obey His command to love as He has loved us and to serve Him in all we do - the world automatically becomes dim to us.