Throughout my life, I have witnessed people who call themselves “Christian” using things other than Christ as sources of life and personal worth. They value these things so highly that an attack against these is perceived as an attack/offense against their person. I too, have at times fallen into this way of thinking and living. This has caused me to regularly examine and question what I am getting worth from and to re-focus on what I SHOULD BE getting life from.
Psalm 142:5 (NLT)
…you, O LORD…are my refuge. You are all I really want in life…
Here are just a few of the MANY artificial life sources that Christians mistakenly focus on and use:
Denominational Distinctive. I have seen “Christians” who are really consumed and concerned with their identities as Pentecostals, Baptists, Catholics, etc. Their denominational distinctive has become their source of identity and personal worth. They live to prove why their group is the right one and why/how other groups are “lacking” or “in error”.
Political ideologies. Whenever their political party loses, some folks are devastated; they view it as a personal loss. Whenever someone on TV attacks or mocks their position, they take it as a personal offense. These folks derive life from seeing political opponents lose and also from the expansion and implementation of their political agendas.
Secondary Christian Beliefs. These may include important christian teachings about the “end times”, creation (i.e. literal genesis interpretation), predestination and forms of baptism. While these are all important things to study and discuss, they should never be the focus or a “source of life”.
Extreme patriotism. I know I may be treading on thin ice with some folks on this one, so please hear me out as I cautiously explain. There is NOTHING wrong with loving our country. We are commanded by God to love everyone. The problem arises when we love our country MORE than Christ OR when we try to “serve two masters” (i.e. God and country). Christ was quite explicit that we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Our christian love for others must extend BEYOND our country to the ENTIRE WORLD. The way some folks express their patriotism is almost idolatrous. Though Christ did occasionally mention his Jewish heritage, HE never went “out of his way” to FOCUS ON or express his Jewish patriotism. If anything, He went out of his way to verbally chastise the Jews and point out their arrogant and idolatrous patriotism. If we aren’t careful, our patriotism can become a form of idolatry and a form of pride as well as an artificial life source.
If you’re a true follower of Christ, you have to concede that none of these things were designed by God to give you life or give you worth. At some point EVERYTHING WILL FAIL YOU. This is a promise! The only true source of life is JESUS CHRIST. Christ came to “give life and life in abundance” (John 10:10) HE IS THE FOCUS. HE IS THE REASON. ONLY HE GIVES MEANING AND VALUE TO LIFE.
All other things only provide ARTIFICIAL LIFE. What is more, if you are receiving life from any other source, YOU HAVE MADE AN IDOL OUT OF THAT THING. An idol is ANYTHING that takes the place of God. God is the “giver of life”. We should look to HIM as our life source and NOTHING ELSE.
If you are getting all of your life and all of your worth from Christ, then nothing else really matters. Your politics can be attacked, secondary beliefs can be disproved, your denominational distinctives can be scrutinized or even ridiculed without you feeling like you personally are being attacked or discredited.
God is still on the throne and HE is still in control. Get all of your worth and all of your life from Jesus Christ.
What things am I “getting life and worth” from that I shouldn’t be? This is a question that we should ask ourselves regularly.
Psalm 68:26 (NLT)
“Praise God, all you people…praise the Lord, the source of life.”