My dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Because the Christian life is a series of ups and downs . . . highs and lows . . . victories and defeats . . . we all must come to terms with the challenging concept of cosmic continuance, because the fact of the matter is that the life of the Christian will continue in a series of ups and downs . . . highs and lows . . . victories and defeats.
In every culture except the culture of Christianity, our identity is found in our performance. In the more traditional Eastern cultures, identity is wrapped up in the family or community. When you are serving the family or community well, you feel good about yourself; when you are not serving them well, you don’t. In the West, identity is wrapped up in the individual. The good of the individual trumps all other goods, including the good of the family or the community. When you are doing well, you feel good about yourself; when you are not doing so well, you don’t. Only in Christianity is your identify fixed, regardless of your performance, creating a never-ending state of cosmic continuance.
You see, in Christ, you are not looking to your performance to find your value and worth. Rather, you are looking to the Person of Jesus Christ, who has fixed your true value and worth in Him. And when you locate your value and worth in Christ, nothing can diminish or discontinue it in any way. You are now living at the level of cosmic continuance.
Look, your performance will always vary, depending on the circumstances you are facing, and so will your settled sense of value and worth — if you are looking to your performance. That lack of continuance in your Christian life will be deeply disappointing to you and a difficult burden to bear. But if you are looking to the person of Jesus, you will be rooted in a cosmic continuance that is unchanging, unwavering, and immovable.
So remember, when you are dealing with the inevitable ups and downs . . . highs and lows . . . victories and defeats in the Christian life, you must look past yourself to your Savior for your value and worth. That is the only way to find yourself grounded in a cosmic continuance that nothing in either life nor death can take away. And if any of life’s extreme downs, disappointments, or defeats are pressing in on you, remember these words from Jesus, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!