Lift Your Eyes

Lift Your Eyes.jpg
 
 

2018 is an exciting year.
It feels positive. Hopeful.

Governments are vowing to clean up the oceans.
Innovation is everywhere.

Our generation is collectively embracing and fiercely defending a shared set of values and ethics that are touted in TV and cinema, all over social media.

A lot of very good things.
Things to be celebrated.

Compassion. Acceptance. Happiness. Love.

But there is a problem.
One that is overlooked, ignored and unchecked.

The problem is me.

If we really ask ourselves, we know that we aren’t perfect. We know that we couldn’t ever be perfect - in one way or another we’ve gone too far for that. Maybe we don’t want to be perfect, or wonder why we’d even need to be. After all, if there is no cosmic, moral absolute demanding our perfection, why bother?

So, perfection is off the cards, but we’re all mostly good, right? Navigating our lives directed by the warm inclinations of our naturally altruistic hearts. Just a planet full of basically ‘ok’ people hosing down oily seagulls, litter picking and looking out for the little guy. Right?

Nope.

Whether we really know it or not, without intervention, we all live for a single, standardised purpose - me.
My dreams, my needs, my longings, my little kingdom.

A world full of people living for themselves.
Our reality.

This inherent brokenness can’t be healed by subscribing to a shifting collection of flimsy principles that satisfy our makeshift moral requirements just enough to keep us doing what we’ve always been doing - guilt free living for ‘me’.

Our world of broken people can’t be fixed with tape and glue.

We need something much more substantial.
Something definitive.

We need a Saviour.

Someone to transform our purpose. To fulfil our deepest longings and lift our eyes from our little kingdoms of one. Someone to pick us up out of our mess and carry us in the opposite direction.

If you are a Christian, you already know this.
You have committed to the journey away from ‘me’.

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
— 2 Corinthians 5:15

You know that you aren’t perfect and that you never could be.

You know that the only way to be right with God is to acknowledge your mistakes and live by faith in a Saviour who stood in your place and paid for the consequences of them with His life.

You know that you are now secure, not because you hold tightly to Him, but because He holds tightly to you.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
— Galatians 2:20

But, for Christians who have been given this new and glorious purpose, it’s still so easy to buy into what the world is selling.

We subconsciously drift along in its current. Swept away in it until, before we know it, we’re measuring our beliefs and convictions against those we see on screens instead of those we read in the pages of God’s word.

We look longingly back down the road we once walked.

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
— 1 John 2:15-17

Christianity is in direct conflict with this world’s makeshift morality - the greatest enabler of ‘me’-centric living. Because principles don’t get you right with God. In fact, faith in their sufficiency puts you at odds with Him.

It says, “I’m good enough to meet your standard on my own. I can get there.”

You can’t.

For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.
— James 2:10

We need to address the problem and listen to what God is saying instead of peddling motivational, innocuous, self-improvement Christianity.

We must tell the whole story.

So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
— 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

Because this world’s brokenness will never be healed through dreaming bigger dreams or embracing a better you. God doesn't just offer secret tips for you to live a more fulfilling life. He doesn't offer to improve your circumstances or make you more efficient at achieving your own ends.

He changes your ends. He changes what you're about.

He changes your purpose.

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
— Romans 12:2

He makes me right with Him - in spite of me.

I couldn’t earn it.
I don’t deserve it.

But He does it - because He loves me.

All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
— Ephesians 2:3-10
 
Something More