“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16)
From The Second Half of the Cross
The worldly, self-directed approach is to “get ahead” and stay ahead of life’s adversities through education, hard work, strength of personality, family wealth, and any other method at our disposal. The goal is to achieve the “good life” as defined by worldly horizontal thinking…through material wealth, security, and self-validation. In actuality this life approach is based in part upon this broken world’s fear of the uncertainty regarding our self-worth and the whims of chance. The go-it-on-our-own, self-validation approach to life is based upon the need to avoid the outward appearance of negative failure.
The love, forgiveness, and acceptance of God through Christ sets up a new life reality and context, whereby the Spirit-born Christian is free to enter into the risky venture of a journey of faith following God wherever He leads…even into the valley of the shadow of death like David. The adventure of faith component in David’s life refutes the modern cultural misconception that real men do not rely upon God as a “crutch.”
The limited mindset of worldly horizontal thinking, stuck in the self-on-the-throne mentality, makes it difficult for God to break into our lives and straighten us out using a better life-script. The self-directed life is Lucifer’s subtly deceptive counterfeit to the more daring release-of-faith “narrow way” that Jesus talks about in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13-14). Seeking material wealth and personal acclaim as the means to validate our self-worth is the inverse opposite of “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). If we mistakenly think we have everything perfectly arranged financially and socially, we will also mistakenly think we have no need for God. An autonomous journey-of-self automatically pushes aside a journey of faith in fellowship with God, because we cannot live two opposing lives at the same time.
Is entirely self-controlling our destiny the underlying purpose of life? How is it that we would even independently know the real purpose of this short-in-length life for us? Is it written in stone somewhere? Is the purpose of life capably passed down to us from our parents and grandparents? Are we born into a world where the life-examples of the experienced adults around us clearly demonstrate the best approach to life (1 Peter 1:18)? Judging by the chaotic, universally repetitive trial-and-error world around us, mankind in general has no idea what is the true purpose of our being here. One of the basic questions, which people pause to think about during some period in their busy lives, even people with economic and social stability, is: “why am I here?”
Absent specific knowledge of our purpose in life, people in our modern culture who do not personally know God through an intimate walk of faith, vote with their self-will and their pocketbooks to choose the default, conventional, pleasure-driven, self-centered, spiritually risk-averse, and worldly predictable road. How many people do we personally know, or read about in fiction novels, or watch in movies, who listen to God in the Spirit, subordinate their self-wills, and follow the life-plan that God could and would reveal to them as the optimum course of action? This approach does not exist in our popular culture because it involves surrendering all to Jesus Christ, because it involves the second half of the cross.
The worldly conventional life-approach has no faith or trust in God, but instead has faith and trust in ourselves. The type of risk, danger, and adventure that comes from faith and trust in the living God, who can compose and orchestrate a brilliantly creative life like David’s divinely planned and executed ascent to the kingship of Israel, does not exist in a God-less cultural environment.