We are being a sold a lie. And we love it.
The destination laid before us is familiar, the promise of significance, joy and meaning. The paths before us well worn, the pursuing of our authentic self, fighting the political cause, an allegiance to our own ideologies.
The results are in; rising political strife, polarisation and more are symptoms of the culture giving meaning to that which will never fulfill.
The world is building a kingdom without the king. We as Christians are just as guilty of this as anyone. But before us we have path set before us by one who was both human and divine that we are invited to follow.
Like Mark Sayers In the podcast that inspired this, “What if the secular myth isn’t that strong?”
The answer to our world is not to look within for how we can change to shift the world around us. It is first looking at the grace we’ve been given, embracing the distinctives of the Christian faith and allowing that to bringing renewal wherever we go.
Quoting Sayers once more, corporate renewal begins with personal renewal.
How do we get there?
Psalm 1 is our guide:
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Psalm Chapter 1, Verses 1-6 (NIV)
1-2: Where is our trust? (Verses 1-2)
We are all walking the same road, as Christians it’s the way we travel it that is the difference maker.
Our not walking in step with the sinner is not avoidance of them. We are all walking the same journey in pursuit of meaning. But how are we travelling that same road?
Ask, where in my life am I living without the presence of God?
Are you holding that career so close to your chest that it burns you when the rejection comes in? Or conversely are you too quick to make things about yourself when you get the win?
It’s can be a fine line to balance, but Christian, do not let these thoughts lead to self-condemnation. The grace we have is free, and that is will always be our greatest gift. When our delight is in the Lord, his presence gives peace and aligns our heart to where we are supposed to look.
3-4: Meaning Making
A firmly rooted tree versus chaff (wheat/grain husks).
The chaff is everything else we seek happiness from that is not God. Meaning is found when we are planted in our relationship with God.
Augustine says it clearly in “Confessions”
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Where in my life am I living without the presence of God? When we accept his grace for us, it doesn’t stop the battering life gives us, but with Christ’s love as our centre then it won’t strike us down completely.
As we move toward holiness, the restrictions that are placed on us do not constrict but calls us into who we are meant to be. He asks us to put aside our feelings (Elijah in depression - 2 Kings Chapter 18), our past shame (Moses – Exodus Chapter 3 ) and even the sins of others against us (Hosea - Hosea) to pursue him. When we put ourselves before God we’re vulnerable but we are also fully seen and accepted.
What can be even more challenging, we are told to bring darkness to light and tell truth not only to God but, our community. The family of God is where we can first practice what we learn in private. We can be there to uplift and counsel each other, but also in conflict we have the opportunity to rise above the standards of the world and display reconciliation, forgiveness and love.
5-6: The Resurrection
The Lord’s way is final. He is ultimately good and the wicked things of this world will not overcome him.
The most ground breaking part of our faith is the one we can take for granted. When Christ’s love becomes our identity, we can launch ourselves into life’s journey with different fuel. It reorders our loves.
Resting in God, we can pursue career, relationship, success, everything, precisely because they no longer mean everything to us.
Justin Sayson is a freelance journalist living on the Sunshine Coast. From about sport, music, faith or anything else, he’s always keen to discover more about the world around him. You can see more if his writing on justinsayson.com