Direct those who are rich in this present age not to be proud or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God—who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17 TLV
I do believe that God calls us to a life of risk and uncertainty.
This most definitely runs counter-culture to our continuing quest for the “seeming safety” of making a name for ourselves and establishing a large bank account in the process.
It would seem that we actually believe that if we can establish ourselves, via a well-known ministry, or we can secure certainty for ourselves in acquiring all the “things” this world can offer…
Then, we will achieve the blessing of safety, and become immune to the pain and misfortune of our planet.
I can remember when I believed this, because this was fundamentally, what the church I attended modeled as truth.
The “certainty” of fame and riches
God’s word (which we say is immutable) guarantees us uncertainty with riches. And definitely, a heaping helping of sorrow. [1 Tim. 6:10]
Yet, how many famous and wealthy people do we need to see fall into ruin, before we will believe what the word of God teaches us? For sadly, even The Church it seems, is not immune from this quest:
“Not long ago I read an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that gave me cause for dismay. The article announced local auditions for a new reality television show. Unlike so many reality shows, this series does not portend to be vulgar, voyeuristic, or sensual. “Pulpit Masters” is meant to be an inspirational program, identifying the next superstar preacher to join the ranks of the pop stars lifted from obscurity by “American Idol.”
Although this show may be wholesome viewing, it reinforces a message that is nearly all-pervasive in our culture. The message is that influence depends upon fame and wealth; if we want to make a difference in the world, we must pursue goal-oriented glory.” – The Well Squandered Life: Influential Lives of Obscurity, Betsy Childs, RZIM
Why does Jesus call us to a life of risk and self-forgetfulness? Isn’t it because that road leads us straight to a total dependence on God?
When the Apostle Paul prayed that God would remove his suffering he said…“But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 TPT
In seeking our destiny…
We need to search our hearts as we pursue our destiny and dreams with questions like:
Who am I doing all of this for?
What is the burning desire of my heart?
Where does my inheritance for all of eternity lie?
Am I seeking to serve with the heart of The Servant-King? Because, indeed, every choice; every decision I make; is an eternal decision with eternal consequences. [1 Tim. 6:7]
Do I really believe Jesus when He says,
“But what sorrows await those of you who are rich in this life only. For you have already received all the comfort you’ll ever get. What sorrows await those of you who are complete and content with yourselves. For hunger and emptiness will come to you. What sorrows await those of you who laugh now, having received all your joy in this life only. For grief and wailing will come to you. What sorrows await those of you who are always honored and lauded by others. For that’s how your forefathers treated every other false prophet.” Luke 6:24-26 TPT
So, how then should we live?
I remember Francis Schaeffer who wrote,
“Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society, the way that a child catches the measles. But people with understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of which worldview is true.”
“The ironic fact here is that humanism, which began with Man’s being central, eventually had no real meaning for people. On the other hand, if one begins with the Bible’s position that man is created by God and in the image of God, there is a basis for that person’s dignity.”
And so, how then, is greatness achieved?
I believe we all should want to live lives that reflect the greatness of our God.
The question is how?
Jesus came to bring revolution to our believing
The nihilist rejects all biblical and moral principles. For them there is only the emptiness that rejects an intimate relationship with a searching and seeking Savior. They seek after only what they can touch and see. They live entirely for self, though they may try to cloak what they pursue in more altruistic terms.
But to truly be a Christian, who serves Christ as their King, our goal must necessarily seek a life of meaning and purpose whose primary aim is for others. And not just in the now, but even in the life to come. Not someday, but seeing each day as a gift, we are not only to walk with excellence in the seen, but looking always to the unseen.
This takes a great deal of focus and courage.
Is it our doubts and fears that keep us in the shallows?
In my early days of returning to belief and faith I did a lot of wandering.
By that I mean that I couldn’t find my way. So many sermons and voices. So many books; pulling in opposite directions. Squabbling denominations pointing fingers at one another, until I didn’t know what to believe, or who.
I knew the Bible was “truth,” but so often I didn’t understand what it was saying to me, and often there was little consensus from others.
Consequently, my doubts and fears kept me paddling around in the shallow end of the pool of faith, so to speak.
I thought of the “deep water” as a place exclusively for those who were more sure of what they believed.
Yet I kept longing to follow Jesus to the “deep”
Francis Schaeffer wrote…
“In face of this modern nihilism, Christians are often lacking in courage. We tend to give the impression that we will hold on to the outward forms whatever happens, even if God really is not there. But the opposite ought to be true of us, so that people can see that we demand the truth of what is there and that we are not dealing merely with platitudes. In other words, it should be understood that we take this question of truth and personality so seriously that if God were not there we would be among the first of those who had the courage to step out of the queue.”
Well, I certainly didn’t want to be someone who merely dealt in platitudes, though I confess, my early attempts at blogging were almost exclusively that.
It didn’t take long for the shallowness of that sort of thing to get boring!
(My poor followers.)
Strangely enough, it was a series of terrible, crisis-centered-storms, that forced me to “the bedrock” of what I believed. And, what I wanted from my life. I was compelled to find, both Biblical Truth, and my own inner truth that could stand up to any storm, and hold me together when everything else in my life was falling apart.
In a very real way, it was that series of terrible storms that introduced me to A Real Jesus. One who showed me my dreams and my heart. And, what I truly believed about all of it.
It was from that place of bedrock that He led me to my destined purpose.
Our lives, our dreams, our destinies… are not ours alone
We are His Bride.
The simplicity of that one truth, became a very clear window, for my bedrock-faith.
I realized, as His Bride, we are to be a real reflection of The One we say we follow.
When the world sees us? They should see Jesus walking and talking among them.
He is to be our first love.
His heart is to be our heart.
His Kingdom goals are to be our goals.
All very simple words to say, and all very difficult, to authentically do.
Most sweet are his kisses, even his whispers of love. He is delightful in every way and perfect from every viewpoint. If you ask me why I love him so, O brides-to-be, it’s because there is none like him to me. Everything about him fills me with holy desire! And now he is my beloved—my friend forever.
Song of Songs 5: 16 The Passion Translation