Sometimes, I like listening to the radio to get a bead on what society is thinking, feeling, and longing for. Occasionally, listening to Christian radio ends up affording the same opportunity for discovery. This morning, I was listening to Praise106.5FM again, streaming it over my ‘net connection, when Dan Bremnes’ song, “Where the Light Is” came on. Work was quite slow so I took time to listen to the opening lyrics as far as the chorus. What I heard seems to encapsulate so many “Christians” these days.
In Western culture for sure, there is an unhealthy pride in one’s Godly lineage, Godly heritage, Godly education, and whether or not one has attended Bible College, Christian university, Seminary, etc. This pride is particularly evident when those who have the pedigree meet someone whose pedigree is quite a bit less, and the “lesser person” is the one doing the teaching, preaching, ministering, etc. Offense is very quickly and easily taken as a result by the person with the “higher” pedigree.
The problem doesn’t stop at one’s spiritual pedigree however, in fact, that pedigree can prove to be a person’s largest source of security! This is expressed beautifully in Dan’s song and it made me pause to reflect a moment.
So many people in life take solace in experience, age, training, and situation. While these things may make one a better person and prepare them for certain aspects of life down the road, all that was previously prepared for can change in a moment. A person can find themselves in situations they’ve never experienced before, scenarios that age and training had not prepared them for.
In the context of the Christian life, this is a dangerous position to put ones’ self in. We can’t base our security in where we’ve been, what we’ve learned, our lineage or what we’ve done or trained for. The only security we can place our hope and trust in, is in that of the person of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter what letters follow our names from the most prestigious Christian institutions. It doesn’t matter which church we grew up in or where we put roots down. It doesn’t matter how large the financial cushion is in the bank either. Those things may be nice, but they are not permanent. The only permanence is found in the person of Jesus Christ.
The fact people such as Dan Bremnes and others, write songs about watching everything they thought was secure come tumbling down is evidence that this issue of where we place our security remains an issue in the larger Christian community to this day. We are so quick to look at life horizontally instead of vertically to the One Who granted the blessings clearly taken for granted by so many.
Various Scriptures urge us not to put too much stock in what we see around us, what we ostensibly provide for ourselves, or the apparent permanence of our situation. All that can change in a moment. See the story of the rich grain farmer. See the story of Job.
We need to learn to say along with the Apostle Paul:
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (12) I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Contentment comes from appreciation. Gratitude toward God for all He has provided goes a long way toward learning to be content. Contentment however, is not to be confused with security. It is simply an attitude and place of the heart allowing changes to come and go, yet still be thankful and appreciative of where God has you at this time and place.
Most things in life are seasonal. They come and go. Security in earthly things will likewise come and go, whether those things are carnal or spiritual, street-level or behind church walls. Let us learn to look up for our place of security, not out to what we have surrounded ourselves with.