“…Jesus would have died for me, if I had been the only one” is nice to think about, but that doesn’t make the fictionalized circumstance anymore true.
A friend of mine recently posted the comments in relation to this statement by Gary Thomas (here is his statement), and it made for an interesting point. While I for one always liked and appreciated that statement because of the reverence for God’s almighty righteousness and love, it also admittedly had a personal fulfillment feeling to it. The problem with the statement, however, which I admitted to succumbing to, is that it makes for a very “me” centered attitude. While God’s grace and mercy should be that important to you, and His relationship with you is worth the price of His Son, it reigns true for all men as well. Now, one other dilemma involved with this mindset is the result that we end up underselling God’s personal blessings He’s bestowed upon us. Let me explain.
For the everyday employee trying to make a living, teenager at school trying to get by, housewife with plenty to keep her busy, and ultimately, Christian trying walk the walk, we see a similarity. The similarity being that each person is going to be bogged down by their own everyday routines, each person can and probably will feel like they’re lost in this big world, and that making a difference isn’t a feasible option. Ultimately, they might start feeling the pressure of giving up, or turning to the easy temptations that surround them. Because in the end, it feels like it is just them vs. the world. You see the dilemma? When we downsize our predicament, when we do feel like it’s just me trying to make a difference here, when we fail to acknowledge all the others in the world Christ sacrificed for, there is a chance we will slip into defeat.
Peter knew this to be the case. He reminded his brethren to, “Resist him [Satan], firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:9-11)
Notice the cool language on display here? While it is up to the personal individual to maintain their own relationship with their Savior and Father, Peter wanted to remind them of the gravity of the situation. God, who is all powerful, all knowing, the One to whom belongs all dominion (a sort of self-governing power no country, region, or even world can possibly over-power) has set in motion a way to secure your eternal life with Him. How does He want you to be reminded and strengthened by this? That you can and will be part of this larger than life eternal world (if you will) if you continue to endure along with all the brotherhood who have likewise turned to Him in difficulty. You see, we are part of something grand, not something small scale.
We sometimes see our predicament as being a one-man fight, but we are part of the greatest kingdom to ever reign. We sometimes feel like we are living an unfulfilled life of self-discipline, when we are really living the only life worth knowing. We sometimes feel lost, discouraged, and alone, but we must know that we are not alone in those discouragements. Rather we must see our predicament as it truly is; Christ, our King, has purchased an army of men and women who struggle, fight, and overcome each and every day to live for Him, and with Him. If we don’t see that we are in this life together, we are stripping ourselves of some truly remarkable confidence that Christ as gifted to us. Though possibly separated by distance, language, culture, and possibly time, we walk side by side, and we will see His glory because of it.
P.S. I don’t know where I’ve been, but I’ve only now discovered Paramore’s folksy “In The Mourning” (To be fair, it is kinda hidden from every music site. But you can listen here). It’s so great, I may just do a Top 10 of theirs in the future.