That I May Gain Christ

 

Think for a moment of some of the things that make up your life — your family, your job, your friends, your hobbies — all that stuff. What would change for you if God didn’t exist? 

This is a great meditation for anyone who wants to see the ways in which God has changed their lives or rescued them from sin. Some of us can look at very specific things and say, “If God weren’t real, this part of my life would be drastically different.” Whether it’s in our marriages, or the way we treat our family, or whatever it is, the reality of God in our lives impacts the way we live.

But it is equally a meditation on the places in your life that you have not surrendered to God. It might be easy enough to focus on the places where believing in God changes your behavior. But are you brave enough to say, “If God didn’t exist, it wouldn’t make any real difference in the way that I live?” 

The reality is this is more or less true for all of us. Each of us can recognize some way that our belief in God has changed us, even if it may be that we may need someone else to help point it out to us. And each of us can point to places in our lives where we’re either not thinking at all about God, or where we’re simply pretending God doesn’t exist. 

This semester in Youth Group, we’ll be talking about worldviews — what they are and why they matter. We are already learning that who you think Jesus is can have a profound influence on the way you live your life. We are also going to be learning about some of the inconsistencies, about how what we say we believe may not translate into how we behave or how it may not always affect the attitudes of our hearts. 

But we are also going to spend plenty of time talking about God’s grace. God knows that we don’t follow through perfectly on what we believe. He knows that we’re not faithful in loving him with our whole heart, and our entire mind, and with all of our strength. He knows we live huge chunks of our lives as though he doesn’t even exist. The good news is he still loves us; he’s still standing at your door knocking. 

Opening the door to Christ means getting honest with ourselves and with one another, and most of all with God. It means recognizing the places in our lives where we pretend God doesn’t exist, or the places where we don’t think God really matters, and inviting him in. 

And listen, this isn’t easy or light. It takes a great deal of courage to stop pretending. But here’s the assurance that we have from the Lord. He will not reject you - even if others do. He will not bring you to shame - even if others try to make you ashamed. Instead, Jesus will embrace you and he will walk with you as you begin to walk with him in every area of your life. 

Paul writes in Philippians 3:7-8, “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” The more we submit our lives to Christ and live out what we believe, the more life without Christ begins to look like a rubbish heap. That’s because there is a surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, not just as Savior, but also as Lord; and not just in one part of our life, but all of them. 

What would change for you if God did exist, and he really wanted to know you?  

Joseph McDaniels
Director of Ministry to Families and Youth
Old Orchard Church