That same situation is happening again, the one that always results in me running to my drug of choice for security and comfort. Those same thoughts are going through my head, the ones that conclude with me feeling disconnected from God and turning instead to some habit that “misses the mark” of truly fulfilling me in any lasting, meaningful way.
It does not take much to overwhelm me, and I feel real, measurable stress in an environment littered with lots of stuff, especially when it is in no sort of order. Before we had kids, it was easy to keep things relatively tidy. Items that were put in a certain place actually stayed in that place!
But that changed with two little boys running about. And for a few years, when they were very young, it seemed all we could do just to keep up with them. The house became cluttered, stuff got shoved into closets willy-nilly, we began to burst at the seams, and my stress level grew. While I was working outside the home, it wasn’t too difficult to deal with, but once I started spending more time at home during the days, I knew something had to change.
The rule in our house is that it is okay to be high-maintenance as long as you are self-maintaining. In other words, if you want something a certain way, you are welcome to make it so but you are also responsible to take care of it yourself. Because I am willing to live with untidiness to a lesser degree than the rest of my family, I knew I would need to lead the charge on any sort of clean-up initiative. And, having been outside the home for several years, I was not sure where to even begin. We’d tried over the years to get things decluttered and organized, only to have the closets fill again and piles of stuff begin accumulating on every flat surface and in every dark corner.
Knowing who we are in Christ and resting in our true identity in Him, we know that we need not fear any failure or defeat. Our ultimate victory (success) is assured and our ultimate worth (security) has been unalterably established and declared by God Himself. Thus we can boldly move out into life, following wherever our Lord leads. Convinced of God’s love for us and thus desiring to be like Him and obey His commands out of our reflected love for Him, we will know inwardly what it is the Spirit is asking us to address so that our behavior comes more and more in line with the truth of our perfection in Him.
As we begin to do so, we will very quickly encounter great opposition! Both from within (our habit of making sinful choices) and without (the attacks and temptations of the enemy), there is terrific resistance against our making forward progress in the journey of faith and discipleship. Daily battle must be waged if we are to make any progress at all. Following Jesus never just happens by accident!
In Chapter 6, Suitt presents Jesus Christ, the very Word of God, as the foundation of a biblical worldview. Our acknowledgement of our identity in Christ and our resting in His completed work is the very first step we take on the journey of faith.
Suitt uses a helpful mnemonic acronym: SET FREE NOWWW. The “S” is what Chapter 6 is all about — I am “Secure because I’m God’s child” (1 John 3:1-3). This is the bedrock to which we return over and over again as we pursue Christ and becoming more like Him as we mature in our faith. No matter how bad we mess up along the way, we can rest confidently in the immutable truth of our Father’s love for us. Nothing can change it and nothing can separate us from it! When I stumble, I know I am not condemned. I do not need to wallow in guilt, because the Savior has already been crucified — and I do not want to crucify Him all over again! Rather than getting tripped up in guilt or focused on my own failure, I am free instead to turn to Him immediately for forgiveness and then get back up and move forward. The value of this cannot be overstated. Indeed, without it, there can be no true and lasting relationship with God, because it is His love for us and our embracing of our true identity in Him that forms the very ground for that relationship to exist in the first place.
“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” (from 1 John 3)
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” (from John 1)
We are God’s beloved children. When we take Jesus at His word and believe He is indeed the only true source of life and He alone worthy of submitting ourselves to (and then proceed to act as if we actually believed it!), we enter into that new identity and can begin to experience the truth and power of it. We know the Father’s unconditional love, regardless of our behavior or performance. We can truly rest for the first time in our lives, because the constant striving is over at last!
“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As a new creation, we have a real choice whether to sin. We are no longer enslaved and unable to reject sin (or to even discern what is sinful). The truth of Jesus is that in Him we are no longer sinners. We are now “saints with a sin challenge”, to use Suitt’s wonderful phrase. Our core character, our true inner nature, has been transformed from the “old man” of sin and death to the “new man” of Jesus and His Spirit.
Part 1 of the book established why we need to live with a Biblical worldview. Part 2, beginning in chapter 5, seeks to establish the threefold foundation of that worldview: 1) a radical change in our understanding of our core identity, 2) a shift in focus to our thinking rather than our behavior, and 3) a gradual learning of how to process daily life through the Word of God.
Chapter 5 refreshes us on the importance of our choices, as discussed in chapter 4, and then proceeds to couch the question in terms of our basic needs as human beings:
- Love, acceptance, belonging
- Safety and security
Because we have been made by God in his image, we are designed to find all of these needs met perfectly and fully only in Him. Nothing and no one else will ultimately satisfy — by design!
Having defined a biblical worldview and argued for it being superior to any competing worldview, including a “Christian lifestyle”, Suitt draws the first part of the book to a close with an ultimatum of sorts: Trust yourself, trust the world, or trust Jesus. Which will it be? For we do not have the option to “sit this one out”. By making “no choice”, we by default choose the option of trusting ourselves, because it is our own counsel that tells us “no choice” is not only a valid choice but the best one.
One of the gems from this little book is the repeated refrain: “We become the choices we make.” This pithy expression has wide application, and no less so in the matter of what or whom we will follow in our everyday decision-making process. If we choose to follow Jesus as our leader and master (“as Lord”, in the language of the Bible), we will become like Him. If we instead follow our own ways, we will become like them. Psalm 135 puts it very well.
Jesus Himself did not do or say anything without first checking it with His heavenly Father (John 5:19, 8:28, 12:49). Thus, if we are to follow Him, we must do the same. For if we do not take steps to actively shape our worldview, it will be shaped for us — primarily by the lies of Satan, our enemy and the prince of this world. And there is much that will distract us from our intention to follow Jesus!
I love to read, but I don’t necessarily love books. Books take up a lot of room! So, I keep a small collection of books in hard copy, and the rest I store on my Kindle. The books I keep in physical form are either those that do not translate well to Kindle format (e.g., graphic novels) or those that are in my personal “hall of fame”.