People markets need the Savior advertised

Contrary to popular presentation, people sell products, products do not ever sell people. In every vein of advertising, people are the ones who rate what they like and elevate its level of market demand. Material objecta lack the inherent dignity and enduring presence to have any real worth apart from the value human consumers put on them. Certainly we cannot treat them as though they have the stature suitable for providing a significant rating of people.

What do I mean by this? I am talking about this assumption we have that people can be quoted by the value of objects that they own or wear or display a taste for. In the end, no matter how great the value of these things we would attach to a person as an identification of their worth they question the strength of human dignity. If we should be no more than what we display of temporal treasures, then why should any of this really matter?

After all, people are not generic in their qualities, or valuable based on their comparison to other equally serviceable people.

People are not here just to serve a single, situationally exclusive purpose or a specifically need-identified demograffic.

Only man-made objects that lack personality or eternal indispensibility are meant to fall into these categories. Mankind is meant to be so much more than this — each of these examples I have just given can even begin to describe the purpose of any one of us.

Our design reflects so much more — more intelligence and care and love for what is created — than any other thing we could find in the universe. If a single star burnt out, it would leave no hole in the heart as if the life of one man or woman, boy or girl’s life were suddenly blown out of their heart and lungs.

The collapse of one irreplacable specimen is an example of a life failing. Before we discuss why life should fail in us, let us not forget the fact that this would bring no small gref to our Creator God. It is not just that one of His creatures is no longer alive — as would be the case with a member of the animal kingdom — but that a unique reflection of Himself is gone from the face of the earth. His own life goes into us at birth, and even before that, His own partial personality marks us from the moment of conception. When we die, an aspect of God’s beautiful handiwork is removed from this earthly landscape.

But truly all that I have said would be as the equivalent of saying nothing if I did not make certain to proclaim this: We are God’s main object of consideration in His created universe because He made us to have a relationship with Him. If we pass through death without ever acknowledging our need for this offered relation, than we are lost.

Now to discuss death as I promised. We who were designed to know only life know death because we have forsaken the first for the freedom to experience the latter. If you’re like me, this no doubt sounds hard to believe — being the stupidest thing you have ever heard. Yet, it is true because death is the consequence of a choice made in favor of sin, a rebellion against God.

God specially formulated our global habitat as a place in which we could enjoy the blessings that were the increase of fellowship with Him in paradise. But if you ever wonder wonder what happened to this paradise, let me explain the Curse.

With all that our First Parents possessed and enjoyed to the full, when the opportunity for becoming like God, they jumped at it. Little regarding the cost of disobeying the command that God had given them, Adam and Eve together took and consumed the fruit of rebellion.

Immediately the eyes of their hearts were open to the new reality of their sin and they struggled with the knowledge — once covetted — of evil that now resided within them. They ran and hid from God the One good and communal being present in their universe. A humanly irreversible break had been made between God and man according to the will of man. Death was welcomed in to nestle in the breasts of every existing and forthcoming seed of man. No more would life flow through this race as the godly inheritance necessary to abundance and peace.

But, back to God. He who risked losing us to our freedom of choice, now immediately set His plan of redemption into play. He would pursuit His spiritually naked and now hopelessly needy creatures. He would bring glory to Himself in finally taking hold of them and clothing them with His own love and righteousness.

He accomplished this when the thread of human history was woven into the divine climax on earth. Jesus, the Son of God ascended a cross and was cursed in His death for us. He forsook blessings only beneficial to Himself that blessings for all mankind might come out of one man (and this the God-Man) being cursed and ultimately punished for many.

God could have looked away when He saw you on your road to a just penalty that ends in hell, but He choose to not only look after you, but put Himself in your place that He might turn your eyes back to Him. He wants to reinstate paradise, but we need to agree to let Him do it; to acknowledge that we really are as important to Him as He says — even if the value He places upon us is love and not a reward in regard to the exhibition we have made of ourselves.

The two “I”s critical to Ministry

Have you ever tried to work for God and felt like you weren’t getting very far? Not that it was God’s fault really, you just kept noticing how inadequate you are.

I find myself taking account of myself and my service to God a lot. Too much.

But, I don’t think that’s really what God had in mind when He called us into relationship with Him. I believe that serving and sharing the hope that we have with others was meant to spring from the heart. Yet, at the same time, it is often these very opportunities to do “God’s work” that make us most aware of how devoid our hearts are of love and holiness.

But with God as the One Who has called us into a work of His holiness — that has been going on since before we came on the scene — we must conclude that these realizations of our weakness were deliberately provided for us by God Himself. For, isn’t our usefulness in our humility, our Spirit-dominated predisposition to see Him and His glory before our own?

If working for God produced any other, more self-exalting consciousness in us, would it not surely become a false mission that would live according to us, while still boasting movement for Him?

The more God moves me ahead in the work He has provided for me to do in Him, the more crucial that last phrase “in Him” becomes. I am doing a work that I can’t lead, for results that I can’t produce. Where is there room in this activity for anything but faith?

Faith enables me to come to know God in such a way that His ways are known and enacted in me to the advancement of His pleasure.

Faith reminds me that the whole scheme of my life and legacy is no longer wholly contingent on me because Jesus Christ already did the very best thing that could be boasted of in these areas.

He took the crown for accomplishments and heroism with such a flare of substance and transcendence that I cannot compete. Rather, I die so that He might live. There is no longer any such thing as what I do, but what He does in and through me. I wait on Him, I delight in Him, and I desire above all things that He would so satisfy my soul — as I hold it up to Him — that others would be drawn to the One Who wells up within me. That is ministry.

Faith in Relationships

Faith in relationships…what does that look like? For me, it is being able to trust God that He is working out all the big and small details that I can’t handle on my own — details that concern more than me, and what’s going on in my heart, but someone I love who seems to see things so entirely different than myself.

That’s what it starts with at least, but from there God consistently leads me into the next stage, pointing out the lessons He has set up for me in this misunderstanding or apparent distance between me and another.

There is always so much to learn through the daily dynamics of our interactions with the people we share this life with. The experiences we have together are what pushes us to work on more than just what will improve ourselves, but will make us more focused on the interests of others.

It can be easy to pursue growth that makes us look good, serving as personal accessories, to trump up what already makes for a wonderful person. It is far harder to choose to see ourselves in the light that others see us, accepting their observations as being capable of being legitimate representations of us.

No, what others think of us will not ever tell the whole story, and their sentiments should not discourage us with the idea that we are not worth anything unless we live up to someone’s expectations of us, but we should not dismiss them either. We should take theĀ  assessments we receive from others to our Father, who is faithful to present to us our true identity along with all the flaws that He is not lax to confront and correct.