Even a cursory glance through the Scriptures makes it plain that God’s Word portrays human beings as cosmic contradictions. Quite simply, we are simultaneously image-bearers and idol worshippers. We are made in the image of God to reflect His goodness for His glory, and yet we bow down to all sorts of things smaller than God and choose to live for our own glory.
As image-bearers, we were created by God to find our identity only in Him. Yet, as the cosmic contradictions we truly are, we seek to find our identity in everything from relationships to recreation . . . professions to prosperity . . . family to feelings. In the words of theologian D. A. Carson, we “de-god God” by choosing to go our own way and focusing on the expansion our own little kingdom rather than the big kingdom of God. We live with one foot in the world and one foot in the Word of God . . . and wonder why the life we are living leaves us wanting.
Our only hope is to keep the Gospel in view and make Jesus our Number One priority.
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Here is the God-given key to rising above our cosmic contradictions. Notice what Jesus did not say: He did not say we are to seek His kingdom and His righteousness; He said to seek it FIRST! It all comes down to what we are seeking first in life. For far too many, Jesus is just another item in a long list of things-to-do that we attempt to check off each day. At this level of living, our lives careen from wall to wall, going back and forth between being Savior-focused to self-focused. It is only when we make Jesus our first priority that we begin to make measurable forward progress in reflecting God’s goodness for His glory.
The apostle Paul provided another link in the chain that keeps us from living lives of contradiction with the inspired words, “To me, to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).
There was no cosmic contradiction in the life of Paul, no careening from wall to wall. He had an undivided focus and an unwavering commitment to living the life God had called him to live. He had both feet in the Word of God and His heart never beat for anything smaller than Jesus. Paul counted the cost and continued paying it moment by moment. He knew what He was as the Pharisee Saul on the road to Damascus, and He knew what Jesus created him to be as the apostle Paul.
So . . . where have you been focused lately? Have you been living for Jesus? Or something smaller? When we “de-god God” through the worship of the idols we create in our lives, we demonstrate to the watching world that our Christianity is a contradiction. But when we keep Jesus in His rightful place—on the throne of our lives—the testimony of our lives points to the only One worthy of pointing to: the Lord Jesus Christ!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!