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Define your terms

When evangelical mega pastors set the world on fire with cool #tags of #significance and #greater I think they need to be more careful to define their terms. Whether passively or actively[i] this call to #significance or to something #greater resonates with every human being on a selfish level. Every person saved and unsaved desires significance, and something greater. So this sirens song sings to the selfish idolater in every human being. It will be heard as endorsement for seeking significance in the eyes of others, or greater things as measured by society in general. When you have not defined what the bible actually means by a life of significance, what exactly this greater thing is that you might be “called” to, you are merely justifying discontentment and endorsing the feeding of the inner idol of self that every one of us can, all too easily, set up. The bible does not call us to be discontent, but in every circumstance to be content. I find a wonderful irony here, in the passage I am thinking of that speaks to contentment. Philippians 4:13 is oft used in conjunctions with these battle cries to significance and greater things, because you can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you! When we read in context Paul is speaking about how it is that he manages to be content in every situation, and it’s not through his strength, it is through Christ who strengthens him. It’s not Paul riling up the troops in order to break the shackles of everyday life and strive toward significance, with the promise that God is going to provide the strength to succeed in this holy quest for significance and greater things.

As a Christian, you are to, in a sense, lead a life of significance and you are exhorted to greater things. God desires a significant life, of greater things for the unbeliever as well. Great, so now I’ve just poo poo’d the idea of significance and greater things and in the next breath said that they’re right? Well I also said I think we really need to define our terms. Secularly, significance and greater things mean something radically different to what you might find biblically.

So, what is the summum bonum, the highest good? As a Christian I’d contend that it’s God. He is of greatest significance and worth. When he desires that we worship him it is because he knows there is nothing greater. Worshipping other things and spending our time on other things should be considered third rate, of no significance at all. So that said how do we find any significance there? If others esteem us for the impact we make on them, then they esteem something less than the greatest good, and our significance is not terribly significant. When your life esteems God and makes Him greater in the eyes of other people. When He is glorified more by you and by others because of what He does in you then your life is significant, but only because you have forgotten about yourself and others see less and less of you, and more and more of God. You don’t do this by striving to do it. It is a consequence of his sanctifying work in your life as you are faithful with what you are given. Not sacrificing your family and children on the altar of your quest for significance and greater things. The way the bible speaks about these concepts does NOT resonate very well with our sinful nature, and our self-idolatry. We are called to self-sacrifice, to die to ourselves, to humbly consider others as better than ourselves and to take up our cross every day! We are to become less and less significant in our own eyes. If you are learning more about God, about his work on the cross, and consequently you learn more about yourself and how much more you need him than you thought you did then God will use you as he sees fit. Not because you are aiming for significance and greater things but because you are being faithful with where you are and what you are given, and this is a consequence of the significance of the gospel in your life, and the growing revelation of the greatest thing which is God’s glory.
Quite simply, you are not #significant, what God does with you for his Glory and his names sake is #significant. The only way you are called to anything #greater is by the Holy Spirit enabling you to be disciplined and faithful with everything you have.

If your language would excite you as much before you were saved as it does after you got saved, then your language is wonderful manure to grow the narcissism that most people tend to. So you really need to change your language or at the very least, spend a significant amount of time defining your terms!

[i] When this is done actively then it is wicked, and I believe much of the seeker sensitive church growth crowd uses this language purposefully to bolster church numbers.

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