My blog centers around one central theme, that of keeping balance between extremes. Because when one leans too far to one direction or the other, they lose it. But let me talk about one thing that Christians can’t be in the middle about... it’s the extremity of basing their life’s joy, meaning and purpose on Jesus Christ.
Right now I’m reading the book The Reason for God by Tim Keller. And in this book Keller sums up the concept of sin like this:
Sin is the despairing refusal to find your deepest identity in your relationship and service to God.
What he is saying here is that anytime a human seeks worth and value in anything other than God, then he is in sin. And this is the root of the sinful condition of all humanity. He goes on from there by citing different examples of things that many people seek their identity in. Things such as lovers, careers, children, moral causes are all things that people base their life’s meaning on. And when any of these things come under threat or get out of hand, then their purpose in life is diminished.
I see this all the time, in other’s lives and my own, when someone has based their life’s identity around their job, a spouse/child, entertainment, or even a moral cause. And this thing or person becomes so ultimate in their life that all joy and purpose is based around it. A lot of people even turn areas of Christianity into their identity. Some people are so devoted to the concept of missions, or church-planting, or worship services that they lose sight of what the end goal of those things are. In short this is called idolatry, and it’s easy to see now why God would make that the first commandment. Because the moment anything takes a greater place in your life than God, everything else falls apart.
So with this in mind, I just want to harp on the fact that God’s design in his creation is for Him to be utmost in our affections and self-worth. A lot of Christians don’t seem to get how essential this is. They think that the Christian life is about doing the right things and being obedient to God’s law, no matter how unpleasant it may be. And then some people understand that Christianity is NOT about doing the right things, but about grace, and they think they “get it” and others don’t. But the truth is the essence of Christianity is not about having correct beliefs and then living out those beliefs. The core component of being a Christian is your desire to love Christ as much as you possibly can. God longs for us to seek our utmost joy in Him because He’s the only one that can offer complete joy. The end goal of being a Christian is NOT to simply be in good standing with God, but to treasure Christ as the highest value in life. And everything else flows from this.
This leads me to a part that many think is just redundant, yet they don’t really grasp the seriousness of it. Most Christians have been over-fed the line “put God first” when discussing God’s place in your life. And this essentially wraps up what I’m trying to stress here. But to me this phrase isn’t strong enough because all it implies is giving God priority on your list of activities as if He’s just an item that we check off. What I feel is missing here is the emphasis on the fact that God should be a purpose for your life, not a portion of your life. And not just a purpose but the purpose!
You see, it’s quite possible to go through life spending the correct amount of time doing your devotion, or setting aside the right amount of money for tithing and yet never come any closer to the goal of Christianity. All of these things give God a priority over other things, but if your affections are always drawn to other things for enjoyment then you haven’t really grasped the concept of treasuring Christ as ultimate. But if Christ takes his rightful place over your life as the soul thing that gives you meaning and identity, then you will not only find complete joy, but the other pieces of your existence will fall into place and make sense.
So my urging here is that you get the idea of what Christianity really is about. That Christ become our ultimate source for meaning, value and joy. Because apart from Him being central in our lives, not only does everything fall apart, but being a “Christian” becomes pointless. If you say you’re a Christian and yet find your utmost joy in sex, sports, family time, staying busy etc., then I would encourage you to ask the Lord to give you a heart that’s only satisfied in Him. Because a heart that’s satisfied in anything else only sets you up for disappointment, pain, and separation from God.