Press on toward the Goal

It seems like ages since I have written on here. In all honesty, I haven’t really thought on what I could write about and have been in a dry spot, BUT the Lord has still been faithful and his promises are true. I can hardly believe 2014 is already here. It seems like yesterday that we entered into 2013. When I look back to this past year, so much has happened. It helps to look back and remember how much God has been faithful even in the midst of an uncertain year. I remember the beginning of last year I didn’t know at all where my vocational calling was and where God desired me to be school/major wise. It caused me to frantically withdraw from UNT literally a week or two before the semester started and continue at a community college. I learned a ton through that experience, in that school itself should not be my end goal, but the goal is to be used where I am at as a light for the sake of Christ. I began to learn what it looks like to release control of my future and cling to Christ in the midst of trying circumstances and confusion. Although I was enrolled in only one class and I thought would enter the medical field, I remember becoming so frustrated that God had different plans. I’ve always struggled with the idea that God can use me in ordinary settings if I have a biblical and eternal perspective and if I rely on His power, not my own. I don’t have to give up school or pursuits as long as they aren’t my ultimate pursuit and I don’t “tag” Jesus alongside. God blessed me with a job during that season of confusion and allowed me to build relationships I wouldn’t have seen coming. Two huge changes occurred within my family- I no longer carried the “baby” identity of the family and we received one of the sweetest blessings in March- my niece, Reagan. Although it’s been hard not there to watch her grow, I still get to see her often and love every chance I get to spend with her and the rest of my family in Ohio. In May my brother graduated from college and began his first “real” job. It’s been incredible and surreal to watch him grow up–it almost doesn’t seem right that he is already in the corporate world! This past summer was a complete blur for some reason. I think because I did a lot of traveling back to Ohio and went on vacation. Not to mention, I saw God do an amazing work in one of my close friend’s life. Christ’s power is truly used in our weakness and he turns suffering for good.

I finally transitioned to UNT and just finished my first semester there. I remember I was so scared for a change but the Lord proved to be faithful. I’ve had the chance to develop friendships and relationships with people I never thought would even happen. But now God has been showing me that school is more than school. If I see it as an end and hold it up as something more than it is, I will hinder my true calling–to glorify God in everything I do. I could go on and on about all that God revealed to me but that would be a blog in itself. God was faithful to allow me to share Jesus with people on campus and show Himself to be greater than any worldly pursuit. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to work diligently at whatever the Lord has for us, whether that’s school, a job, or a personal goal. But the moment that gets dangerous is when it dictates our joy and becomes a false sense of security. No GPA will bring me true joy; only the person and work of Christ can bring me that. So, if you are a Christian and struggle with the whole compartmentalized faith thing, it does not have to be and should not be that way. The light of Christ should invade every area of our lives. That doesn’t mean we have to stop participating in secular pursuits. If anything, we should excel in these pursuits, but not with them as the end in sight. We should approach them with a reoriented perspective-one that exceeds the goal itself. And the chief end is to glorify and stand firm in Christ alone. This will cause people to wonder what is different and want to take part in something greater than this world can offer. The goal is to bring heaven to earth now as preparation for the reality that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

This goal changes everything and it is exactly my goal for 2014- to see that no worldly pursuit can satisfy, but that my tangible pursuits should actually lead others to see a greater pursuit, which is Jesus. I hope you understood that sentence, it was kind of confusing haha. So in light of our practical pursuits on this earth, we should not be living for these pursuits, but for something beyond and something eternal. It is not my goal to opt out of school, although at times I perceive it to be worthless. However, the reason I’ve seen it worthless is because I have looked to school and grades as the end goal in sight. It’s the most loving thing for God to reveal idols to his people; painful and messy, but truly loving. Why? Because it causes us to loosen our grip from this world and from our own strength, and to cling tighter to the grace and abundant life afforded to us by faith alone in Christ alone. So much so that we can say, “If I lost this ___ (person, health, money, job, etc.) and anything apart from Christ, I still believe that he is enough to satisfy my longing heart and am far richer in him than any earthly gain.” That, my friends, is the gospel and the greatest story ever told. It’s not just a story, but it is a true reality, that nothing can bring redemption and restoration outside of Jesus because nothing apart from him is eternal. We seek to fulfill a longing for eternity that has been placed in our hearts by God and if it is anything outside of Jesus, we won’t be satisfied (Ecc. 3:11). This is the reason Jesus came; to bring hope to the soul that longs for value and worth. Think about it like this: the One who is higher in value and more worthy than anything to be praised became the lowest for our sake so that we might obtain riches in Christ. “All the promises of God find their Yes in him (Jesus). That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor. 1:20). Any promise from God can ONLY be delivered through Jesus. He is the only one who settles the cost of sin and the only one who brings true purpose in this life. Everything else is to be counted as loss because nothing compares to what our glorious Savior has done for us. No other thing or person has done for us what Christ did when he entered this world and “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

The reason our goals, pursuits, and New Year’s Resolutions cannot fulfill us in and of themselves is because we have a Savior who has already come to fulfill for us what nothing else can. We are prone to believe that the thing we chase apart from Christ is of utmost importance. The reality is that the highest attainment is Jesus because he is the only one who is making all things new and right so that God might be glorified. Think about the fact that there is nothing or nobody that has been so rich, yet so poor; so high, yet so low for our sake. We would be fools to chase the very things that can not have true meaning for us, but you and I for sure do it everyday. So it is my goal to press on and know Christ to be more of a treasure in my life, while at the same time, losing grip of transient things that I have allowed to invade and take over the place in my heart and my life where only Jesus has authority to belong. After all, this life is not my own but Christ has made me his own. Colossians 1:16-20 would say it like this: “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him….for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” We only understand that he has this right once we trust by faith alone in his death and resurrection. Notice there is only peace and salvation through the blood of Christ, so why look for peace elsewhere? He has the right to reign and rule in our hearts because he is the Creator of all things. No other thing or person has authority to do so because it is not our Creator. Someone recently told me that God is a narcissist because he wants us to bring him glory and he created us for himself. The truth is, we are the narcissistic ones that God chose to make a way for reconciliation to him through the blood of Jesus. Jesus humbled himself, which is completely opposite of narcissism, and he died in our place. He sought us when he did not have to and when we were so narcissistic that we thought we didn’t need him. Also, God wants us to bring him glory because it is also for our good and his glory is our greatest pleasure and Christ is our richest gain. We are most satisfied when he is most glorified in us (quoted by one of my favorite pastors, John Piper) because God created it to operate that way. I am never satisfied when I chase my own pleasure in this world because I wasn’t created for this world. God is far beyond what we could ever comprehend and he alone is worthy of our praise.

It is my prayer that we loosen our grip from this world, so that we might gain more of Christ and truly know him and bank on him to be for us, that which we cannot be for ourselves. If you don’t know what it means to be a Christian or are compelled to find out more about it, please don’t hesitate to carry on a conversation with me. I would love to talk with you. I can’t promise to have all the answers, in fact I don’t. But that’s the beauty of it all. We don’t have to have the answers. Jesus is enough. I hope this encouraged you guys and that in all your pursuits, you find Christ to be more glorious and worthy of everything! To Him be the glory and honor.

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