I (Jai) remember being a young child of 5 or 6 years of age and being in a car crash in the family car. We were travelling in an old van on busy streets in the city. As a young child I understood something of the threat to my security (in the short term at least), that this situation posed. Mum and Dad were stressed and less able to look after us kids. Our car was now damaged pretty badly. It needed to be removed from the intersection. How would we get to where we needed to go? Would we be able to fix or replace that car?
Thankfully, things were resolved relatively quickly, in this situation. I can remember being taken in by a hairdressing business that was situated next to the set of lights we'd been rear ended at. They looked after us kids, with Mum's help while Dad arranged to have the car towed. People provided us with a lift to where we needed to go. The crisis was averted.
A car crash is a short-term, urgent crisis, that gives something of a picture of long-term building crises that can build around us. Obviously the whole Covid thing has been like a slow moving car crash. It's hard to know if the initial impact of the 'crash' has even finished yet, in an economic and national security sense. There are big external threats, like economic meltdowns, as well as internal threats, like family breakdown, that loom all the time. How do we find security in the face of such possibilities?
Don't Be Overly Invested In The Things of This World
The Apostle Paul encourages us to be those 'who put no confidence in the flesh' (Philippians 3:3). By flesh he is referring to anything that has to do with this fleeting world, which will pass away. Paul had all sorts of reasons for confidence based on his religious heritage and performance. Obviously, we need to still engage with this world, so it's not wrong in itself to have career accomplishments, a house, a car, savings, health, fitness or religious credentials. But when our hope for the future rests in these fleshy, worldly realities - we are standing on shaky ground. What do we do instead?
Be Ok When The Things of This World Are Shaken
In Philippians 3:4 and following, Paul lists all his religious credentials. It's an impressive list and in fact, Paul says he has more reasons for confidence in the flesh than anyone else he knows. But as Paul had met the Lord Jesus and started walking with him by the Holy Spirit, he'd come to see how empty all those other reasons for confidence actually were. God called Paul to share Jesus with Gentiles, non-Jews who had none of Paul's religious credentials, yet who Jesus still was willing to accept on exactly the same basis - Jesus death and resurrection in our place. It was no doubt confronting for Paul to offer hope to those who he previously would have seen as utterly hopeless. Yet the Spirit led him to let go of his own worldly credentials, so that he could hold more tightly to heavenly ones. We should not be surprised as God leads us on a similar path. Our job is to be ok, when our worldly sources of confidence are shaken. But how do we do that?
Know That Christ Invested Himself In You
Paul goes on to explain that he no longer has a righteousness (a right standing before God and people) based on his own performance or accomplishments, but instead he has a righteousness that comes simply through trusting in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9). It is a righteousness that comes from God, not from himself. Jesus had every worldly source of confidence stripped away from him at the cross, yet he showed that he still had the one thing he needed for eternal security, a relationship with his heavenly Father. That is the relationship that Jesus restored us to by his death on the cross. He met every requirement for relationship, in our place, so that by trusting in him, we are welcomed into the presence of the one who can keep us safe for all eternity. In that sense, Jesus invested everything he had in us and made sure he would always have a relationship with us.
How to Live Less Invested In This World
By receiving a right standing with God through Jesus, we are able to travel through the world, still engaging with the world, but not as those looking for a secure place here. When the car crash or the life crash happens, it will still be confronting. But it becomes an opportunity to see if our confidence is really with the physical things we have in the here and now, or whether we've started gripping more tightly onto Jesus Christ. We can actually welcome the difficult times, because they make sure we are investing in the right place. How might this perspective change the way you engage with the challenges of this week?
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
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