One of the most valuable lessons I have learned as a Christian lies in the area of finding worth and value. Our Western culture finds worth and value in the education, and the careers that people choose, which in turn has lead to a redefining of what constitutes the whole idea of “family” and “identity” and “self worth”. Much of what our popular culture esteems as good and noble flies in the face of what the Bible has to say on such matters.
You really find out where your heart’s affections lay, when faced with loss of work, or devalued work, or chosen career, or even dare I say the kind of school you have chosen, or even whether or not you are an active member of a church body, or merely a spectator in the arena of life, eventually you being to assess your life, and what life is about.
Many Christian unfortunately find worth and value in their gifts, their talents, their ministry positions or titles, and even there “accomplishments”. Having experienced the broad spector of Evangelicalism in Canada, I seen it all, and heard it all even more, and much of it is justification for the status quo, or the seeking for something more, something greater to conquer or achieve. It seems that instead of a sense of belonging to Christ and to one another, and seeing one another as brothers and sisters all sitting at the feet of Jesus, we have embraced a form of the “corporate ladder” to “spiritual self-actualization” where people are constantly being challenged to seek out more “knowledge” in order to be “more effective for the Kingdom”, al the while sacrificing whatever sense of belonging and community. It seems to me we have sold our souls for the crumbs at the Master’s table, when we have been offered the whole Loaf (the Living Bread from heaven)!
My question to many in the body of Christ today simply has to do with the essence and the basics of what it means to “be in Christ”. Is Jesus alone enough for you? If your gifts did not have a place in which to function and be expressed, would Jesus be enough for you? If your ministry was taken away, would Jesus be enough for you? If your connection to a Christian community was taken away, would Jesus be enough for you? If all you considered important in your life was taken away or changed dramatically overnight, would Jesus be enough for you?
This is when we find out where our affections lay. When we are faced with such questions, and we can truly say, Jesus is enough, and believe me we will be tested, if we truly desire Him to be enough, when the test comes, and we persevere through the test to the end of ourselves as we know ourselves to be, then, and only then, will we truly know Jesus for who He truly is, and know ourselves as truly He desires us to know ourselves to be in Him.
This is as much, “counting the cost” as anything else, and why many in the body of Christ today are bereft of authentic relationship in Him, and with each other. Many are distracted from “letting Christ live out His live through us” and have instead embraced a Christianized version of “living the life”, having embraced their identity in what they are doing for God and the Church of Jesus Christ, instead of the sweetness of life and community in Him, bearing burdens with one another, and carrying His yoke, for His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. There is no striving in Him, and no strife for those who have found their rest in Him. It is here where you find His peace.
It is in that place, where Jesus alone is enough, that you find yourself fulfilled. It is in such a hidden place, that He finally gets to live out His life through you, when you rest, cease from striving, and just yield and allow Him to show you the world through His eyes, break your heart with what breaks His heart, where your hands become His hands extended to others, and where your feet trod where He alone would dare to trod.
It is only in this broken place realizing that apart from Him we are nothing, and that all grace and power flow from our relationship in Him, and that all ministry is not ours, but His, and that whatever measure of success, and dare we to even call it by that name, any success is not ours, but His, and He alone deserves the glory. When you strip your life bare, and remove whatever you have that you value and identify yourself with, and give your life meaning and validity, when all that is left is that sweet and tender relationship with Jesus, and Him alone, is He enough? He is my all, my everything. All I desire is Him and all I need is found in Him. My life is His life, to lived out as He wills. I am not my own. I have been bought with a price.
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The above blog post was written at a time when I was eclectic in my theological & biblical views and understanding. As of 5 February 2017 I am a functional cessasionist, that is, I believe the spiritual gifts, in particular gift like the vocative, prophetic gifts as well as healing & miracles have ceased. This means that my understanding is that at the end of the apostolic era, when the last apostle died (that would be John who was at Patmos & Ephesus, the author of the Gospel of John, Epistles of John & the Revelation of Jesus Christ, with his passing, the need for these particular gifts, the oracles of God given to men through the Holy Spirit, were no longer required. With the forming of the Canon of Scripture, there came to be no need for revelatory gifts. In fact in Revelation, John himself records the words of Jesus, “18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book.” [Revelation 22, CSB]
God is sovereign, still heals, still manifests in the miraculous, but not at the whim or the discretion of men. We pray and ask the Lord, and then we yield and surrender to His will, echoing the words and the spirit of Christ, “Not my will but your will be done.” [Luke 22:42].
I embrace and hold to a Reformed understanding of theology & Christian living in the world. I have abandoned my other views entirely. I would be more akin to a Reformed Baptist (1689 Confession) type of Reformed theology. I used to be a continuationist (akin to John Piper) but no longer.
God bless you as you seek to know Christ and the power of His resurrection [Philippians 3:10 CSB].
In the eternal grip of Jesus,
Samuel M. Buick
29 January 2018
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