Saturday, June 2, 2007

Embracing the One Who Gives Us Value: Faith in Focus

This is an article that was published in the Sandy Post written by Gregg Chastain (Fellowship Bible Church, Senior Pastor).

Embracing the one who gives us value:
Faith in Focus

By Gregg Chastain
The Sandy Post, May 4, 2007

Maybe you’ve heard this phrase before: “Embrace your inner child.”

The idea is that we should get in touch those childlike qualities within ourselves – the ability to dream, to let go of inhibitions, to take and respond to life with wide-eyed attention, to be silly for a season.

What about, “Embrace your inner self?” I think the idea is that people should be comfortable with and celebrate the qualities that make them unique. My only question is, what if embracing your inner self is actually quite obnoxious?

Maybe the problem with these phrases is that we we’re asked to look at ourselves for the answers. For example, if I embrace my inner child, do I also need to embrace the fear of the big wide world in front of me – the fear of, say, sleeping in the dark? Do I need to embrace the awkwardness of the school playground where we all were, at some point, on the receiving end of laughter and ridicule? If I embrace my inner child, I begin to realize there is much I don’t want to relive as a child.

What if the focus is all wrong? What if my inherent value is greater than the sum total of my parts? What then should I embrace? The lie that we continually tell ourselves is that my value and worth are inherent in who I am. So we exalt ourselves, magnify ourselves, pleasure ourselves and think about ourselves ad nauseam. But deep down we all are acquainted with our inner self.

So we live and hope others won’t see who we really are. We covet our neighbor’s things and resent the fact that they have probably mortgaged their children’s souls to have that boat or SUV. We vainly strive to maintain the beauty we had in high school and narcissistically spend gobs of money on products, creams, hair dyes, and nips and tucks. We reduce sex to physical pleasure and wonder why 23-year-old teachers are having sex with their 13- and 14-year-old students.

Embracing one’s inner self seems like it doesn’t get us very far. Maybe because one’s inherent value is found in God, who created each of us. And if my value and worth are found in God, then I ought to embrace him. This is one of the reasons I so trust the message of Christianity and Jesus Christ. In my mind, it paints an accurate picture of who we are: spiritually blind and ultimately imprisoned to this belief that we somehow trump God. But it also offers a solution by declaring that while we were in that delusional condition, God sought to deliver us through the person of Jesus Christ. When we embrace Jesus and his life, death and resurrection, we understand that our value comes from God alone. Let me encourage you to embrace the one who truly knows all that you are and loves you anyway. You won’t find the answers anywhere else – especially within yourself.

Gregg Chastain is the pastor of Fellowship Bible Church.

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