The Hopelessness of the Horizontal

What are you living for?  What gives you meaning?  Where do you find your identity?  How do you define success?  If your answer to any of these questions is not “Jesus,” then you are living the hopelessness of the horizontal.  The emptiness of a horizontal existence is rooted in the fact that nothing in this world was ever meant to satisfy you at the deepest level.  This place in your heart is reserved for Christ alone.   

Someone once said, “Keep your tent pegs shallow!”  In other words, don’t get too attached to this world, because you are a pilgrim who is just passing through.  We are always on the move, longing for home, and never arriving until we get to the other side.  As the writer of Hebrews said, “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14).

So . . . how attached are you to this world?  Prayerfully consider the answer to this question:

1. If I had __________ I would finally be satisfied. 

Honestly now . . . how did you answer?  What rules your heart shapes you life.  If you believe you need anything or anyone in addition to Jesus in order to be truly satisfied, you are living the hopelessness of the horizontal.  I say that horizontal living is “hopeless” because everything this world has to offer will ultimately disappoint you.  We all intuitively know this to be true, because the world and everything in it no longer satisfies our deepest desires.  Can you think of anything in this life that has not disappointed you? 

  • Jobs disappoint
  • Relationships disappoint
  • Accomplishments disappoint
  • Prosperity disappoints
  • Pleasure disappoints
  • Even the church disappoints


Broken things inevitably frustrate and disappoint us, and everything on this side of heaven is broken . . . including you!  And your disappointment will lead to discouragement, delusion, depression, and ultimate defeat. 

So what is our hope?  We exchange horizontal living for vertical living by living for the Savior rather than living for ourselves.  You see, your redemption is not just about you; it is primarily about God and His cosmic work of redemption and renewal of the entire cosmos.  And you have been called to participate in this eternal work!  When we work to expand the cause of our own kingdom we are always disappointed.  But when we are working to expand the cause of His kingdom, we are working for something so much bigger and so much more vital than our own existence!  And that is the crossroads where purpose meets passion.  At this level of living, the hopelessness of the horizontal is removed for the vision of the Vertical.  You see, “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).

This is the Gospel.  This is grace for your race.  NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!


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