Derek, August 29 2018

Are you special?

These are the internal questions plaguing multitudes of people today. The all-consuming search for significance.

It is why the message of, “You’re special, you’re good, you belong,” is so persuasive. It feeds right into the existing insecurity.

Whether this “special” message is packaged in the wrapper of church, or whether it's psychology, self-help, relationships, or social activism — it doesn’t matter. The core message stays the same: you can be special just the way you are, no change needed. Just show-up and be present as often as you can.

This message, unfortunately runs in contrast to the Gospel. The Gospel message demands repentance, yet how can I repent when I’m told I’m already good as I am? Why would I repent if I’m told I’m simply a product of my environment — how could I possibly be held responsible for that? No! I’m the victim here. I don’t need repentance. I just need a savior.

But in reality, we are not good when left on our own. Instead, we need saving, not from our environment or from the evils of this world, but from the curse which exists inside of us. Our best efforts are not special, they’re rubbish and they lead to death.

What is death? Death is separation from God. Whenever there is separation from God, there you will find death. Sin causes separation. An unrepentant heart causes separation. A demand to be recognized as special causes separation. Why? Because we’ve created an idol to worship in place of the one true God — the idol of ourselves and our personal destiny. We’ve broken the first of the ten commandments and created another god before Him as we’ve allowed ourselves to believe the lie that, “God is like us” (Ps. 50:21) and so equality with God can not only be attained, but it should be desired and pursued.

The only thing which “sets me apart” is my choice, in response to His call, to follow God over all other earthly pursuits. Forsaking all else for the hope to know Him more fully. And yet, even in this holy, eternally-focused, counter-cultural pursuit we cannot boast, for it’s only made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God to grant me a measure of understanding.

So where is my true boast then? Let it be in Christ alone — through whom all things are possible, even the most outrageous of deeds: reconciliation with God. Not in my strength, but with His grace.

Only then can we answer with confidence the question, “Oh death, where is thy sting?”

My significance is not meant for this world, but for eternity. Let it never be said of me, “he has his reward,” but rather, “the Father, who sees in secret, sees him.”

Then will my significance be secure, in a place where, “dust and rust cannot destroy,” held tightly by a God who, “never sleeps nor slumbers.”

So let us resolve to no longer boast in our dust, nor in the praises of men made from dust, but only in the eternal One — Jesus Christ. The only One found worthy.

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