"BUT THE LORD SAID TO ME...'YOU MUST GO TO EVERYONE I SEND YOU TO AND SAY WHATEVER I COMMAND YOU. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEM, FOR I AM WITH YOU AND WILL RESCUE YOU.'" --JER.1:7,8
"'STAND UP AND SAY TO THEM WHATEVER I COMMAND YOU...TODAY I HAVE MADE YOU A FORTIFIED CITY, AN IRON PILLAR AND A BRONZE WALL TO STAND AGAINST THE WHOLE LAND. THEY WILL FIGHT AGAINST YOU BUT WILL NOT OVERCOME YOU FOR I AM WITH YOU AND WILL RESCUE YOU,' DECLARES THE LORD.'" --JER.1:17-19
Monday, March 26, 2012
UNHAPPY CHRISTIANS: WHY ARE WE SO DISCONTENTED?
THE REAL BASIS OF CHRISTIAN DISCONTENT
Why are so many Christians, in fact the vast majority of us today, so discontented? We never seem to be satisfied with where we are, or what’s happening to us. We’re always singing “Over the Rainbow” with Judy Garland.
“Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
Someday I'll wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow,
why, oh why can't I?”
A very sad song, in my opinion, though beautiful and haunting. It is the song of perennial discontent, the sad song of humanity. Longing, searching, never finding.
We are discontented because we have not found “it”. And we as Christians are not content because we say we have found “it” (“I’m a Christian”) but we really haven’t. What is “it”? What are we looking for?
I submit to you today that we are looking for Christ Himself, and not the religious Christianity we have found.
We search for all kinds of “its” to fill the void. We fill our lives with busy activities, goals, dreams, even good ones. We try so hard to find the “it” that will give us that new lease on life, will answer the driving questions, will somehow make us content. We think “it” will be found in that new house, that better car, that new piece of furniture, or changing the wall colors. We think that if only our husband or wife would shape up and behave better, or our kids would respond better to our parenting, or we had that better education, or that better job, or that new movie to watch, maybe that will be “it”.
The world, and even the churches, give us permission and encouragement to search for all the “its” we think we need. That better life, that richer life, that more secure life is just our there, if we’ll only trust God and work harder. The churches even point us to God’s “promises” for a better life, picking certain Scriptures that talk about our needs, and God’s provision. So we go on, discontented, searching, hoping for better, hoping tomorrow will be more comfortable, more affluent, more fulfilling.
Singing the rainbow song. Wishing, hoping, dreaming.
Yet, there is contentment to be found. Our late brother T. Austin-Sparks said this in one of his teachings:
"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:4).
“If we ask what is the very essence and heart of Christianity and the Christian life, the answer is that God has summed up and centered all things in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. This means that Christianity is not a number of things as in themselves, such as beliefs, doctrines, dogmas, practices, forms, rites, orders, or virtues. It is not salvation, regeneration, sanctification, power, life, joy, peace, etc, as things; it is just Himself, and Himself as resident within those who have received Him as Who and What He is. He is the total of all that is necessary for God's glory and satisfaction, for which we were created. Nothing can be had or known as an "it", apart from the Person. If we have Him and live by Him, we have all.”
Seek Christ today, not Christian living, or church life, or any other good “it”. Leave your momentary and light distractions, your worries, your cares. Let Christ bring His power and His love into your life. Let Jesus Christ be your “it”. He is the Person, and we have all in Him we will ever need.
Here is what Christ says to us today:
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’
or, ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Christ means what He says. We are ordered, and it is not optional, to leave our pursuits of these things. We must seek Jesus Christ first, and His Kingdom, and His righteousness. We must do this, or risk living our lives in the continued futility of chasing “it”.