There is something about the love of God expressed in the conduct and character of Jesus Christ that makes all other pursuits silly and superfluous – at least as ends in of themselves. Just think of it. We spend our time, our energy, and our resources in order to have a merely momentary pleasure, a fleeting sense of importance, a fading façade of purpose, or an all-too-brief taste of love. Even at their best, our past-times, pursuits, and priorities are all-for-naught if we do not live under the banner of God’s love in Jesus. Without Him, such things are “Vanity of vanities!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2 ESV).
Not only that, but in our frustration of gleaning only crumbs of comfort from dubious flirtations with such things, we flail about and end up settling for things that can only give us the illusion that we have found what we have been looking for.
Finally, too tired to keep up the search, we entrench ourselves in rationalizations and put up walls of suspicion and defensiveness, housing within ourselves a shrine to whatever it is we have decided to place our faith in: self, relationships, sex, drugs, work, money, power, fame, possessions, food, exercise, politics (or politicians), social causes or even escapism.
What a sad lot we are behind those walls that we have put up. Tired of fighting off the wolves that would prey upon any of us who are unwary and foolish, we increasingly turn inward and fail to hearken to the voice of the One for Whom we have truly been searching, the One Who alone can bring healing, wholeness, cleansing, truth and beauty. Indeed, even when we hear His voice, we eye Him with suspicion for we do not recognize Him. In a world of liars, cheats, thieves and murderers, who can dare to open our hearts to Him?
Yet, when once we hear His voice, and find that this Righteous Judge has scaled the walls of our jadedness, we perhaps see His mercy… a mercy so great that it bears within itself the beautiful scars… ugly for they are the evidence of our sinfulness, but beautiful, too, for they are the evidence of His gracious forgiveness.
If we could then dare to lift our eyes to meet His, we would see there a fierce fire that would have consumed us in flames of holiness if it had not already been satisfied by the perfection of the righteousness of the Son Who died in our stead on the cross of Calvary. But we would also see a timeless look of love that would be like our falling into a well filled to overflowing with mercy, patience, kindness and goodness. Looking into the eyes of Jesus, we would, I’ve no doubt, gladly lose ourselves to Him so that He could fully make us to be all that we ever hoped and dreamed to be, washed clean of failure, evil, and fear.
As He casts aside every stone of pretension we ever set up against Him, He steps fully into those places of our hearts and lives we feared most to let Him enter. And as He does so, we find that we have finally been made free and fully alive. No more do we run from His presence or hide from His face. No more do we seek to put up barriers to keep Him out for we have found our truest Friend. We clasp the hands that have been holding us all along and we gladly lead Him to each corner of our lives, seeking His light to illuminate the shadows that would still haunt us and hold us at bay from the future He holds for us.
He is faithful to love us with infinite patience, doing us the kindness of bringing our rebel and sinful hearts from a posture of death into a place of life and victory. Only Jesus can do this. Only Jesus can be this.
Whatever “good thing” you live for, it is not all it could be or should be unless you find first your fulfillment in Jesus Christ. He is the starting point for every life worth living and He is the end point for all of us – whether or not we care to admit it.
“Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own” (Philippians 3:7-12 ESV).
Because He is good and gracious, we are given the immeasurable opportunity to fully lay hold of what it means for Him to have laid hold of us. Let down you walls, friend. Let them down and go forward into His purpose for you, a purpose which is secured by the atoning work of Jesus’ death on the cross and the astounding wonder of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Do so and find that there is a world of wonder and delight before you and God’s mighty hand to uphold you.
Copyright © Thom Mollohan