Our Hearts' Cry
Fixing our eyes on Jesus.
I was in the midst of a kind of grief. The news kept coming in. Too many, both those dear to us and the far away (but well-known), finding their faith in Christ seemingly disappearing before their eyes. Deconstruction some call it, others deconversion.
As I drove contemplating and praying, I heard a teacher on the radio in a different context rehearse the familiar indictment of how terribly self-centered our modern society is and the church is not immune.
Both issues intermingling in my thoughts, it seemed to me that perhaps much of this deconstruction is related to “finding one’s self”. A new freedom and zeal for life is now their gift in unbelief. Joyful language describes this fresh enthusiasm and “finally, happiness”.
I wonder if perhaps the resurrection of the old self feels like life.
For these, after years of hearing truth that we must consider our old self dead and find new life in Christ, from somewhere, a new message tickles the itching ears. We in the church are faithfully reminded that it is in losing our life for Jesus’ sake we find it, but a new idea says that perhaps this death to self isn’t the message after all, these unfulfilled longings and doubts are themselves the truth I must follow. Some in the deconstruction movement say they get to a place of “reconstruction,” a new “faith” with new culturally informed rules. Yet some end the search completely devoid of faith and never reconstruct anything at all.
I fear that the “fully alive” feeling described by those turning their backs on Christianity might be the fully engaged, unhindered old man of Romans 6. Perhaps that is the “self” they were seeking.
It is all quite disturbing, but we’ve been warned. The second epistle of Peter closes with a strong encouragement to believers to not fall for the twisting of the Scriptures…intentionally warning them/us beforehand. This is nothing new.
Our common inclination towards self absorption is more seriously to our peril than we even know. It is what cultivates itching ears. The verses calling us to a selfless life should be in flashing lights as the most serious of warnings! The truly beautiful love and grace-filled instruction in the Scriptures is to live denying the flesh. (Romans 6:6) We are to examine ourselves to a degree of accountability before the Lord but only to ultimately look more fully to Him.
The end is not ourselves. Jesus left us this example.
To be fully His is to cast our cares on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). It is to honor others as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2). We are being fashioned into His image, not a better version of ourselves (Romans 8:29). We are to seek His glory and not our own (Psalm 115:1). These injunctions fill the New Testament.
It is in losing our life we find it. How different His kingdom is! This is the joyous Christian life, delighting in Him and His joy being made full in us. This is a grace-filled life. Truly His love is better than life! (Psalm 63:3)
Our self is found in Him; oh the joy of a fixed gaze on the Savior!
Fixing our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2) is not our consolation prize when hard things happen, fixing our eyes on Jesus is our LIFE. Growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3).
In John chapter 6, responding to the hard-to-understand message of Jesus’ identity as the Bread of Life, most all of His disciples were offended and no longer walked with Him. Only the twelve remained. We are here again today. Many are departing from Him and the message of His Gospel. Perhaps the only difference today is the artificial dignity social media offers.
"So Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:66-69)
May our hearts cry out the same.