Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Is it Really in Christ Alone?

Have you ever sung a familiar song, realizing you are uttering words, but not really considering their meaning?

Sunday afternoon as I sang one of my favorite songs, "In Christ Alone," I contemplated the lyrics:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

Then I asked myself, is it really in Jesus alone in which I put my hope and trust? It may be easy to sing or say, but in my heart I know I often lean and trust on Jesus plus my family, or Jesus plus my friends, or Jesus plus my finances.

After God brought me to Uganda in January 2010, I understood a major reason why He took me halfway across the world. While living in the U.S., I trusted Him as my Lord and Savior, but I also depended far too heavily on my family, friends, work, church, etc. Those people and involvements helped me feel secure - they shored up my comfort zones. As long as they were in place, I was okay. If they shifted out of place, I became insecure.

Then Jesus took me from the midst of my family, friends, church, work, and put me in a new land with new people, new work, new customs, new language, etc.

Having been in Uganda now for 8 years I realize I have fallen back into old habits - creating other "comfort zones" and searching for new securities. Yes, I have learned how to survive without those people and places I once thought I could not live without, but I find myself still looking for those refuges here in Uganda. Jesus plus my ministry family, Jesus plus my ministry schedule, Jesus plus coffee. (Okay, admittedly, the last one is true, but allowed, right?)

The issue is, Jesus truly does want it to be about Him alone. He knows the tendencies of our human hearts to trust what we see and feel, what is tangible. But since creation He has desired all of our allegiance, dependence, and worship. When I begin to trust and rely on other people or things more than Jesus, that is called idolatry.

Sadly, that shift in focus often happens before we can rightly label it, but it is true - our wayward hearts must be consistently and constantly reminded to trust and rest in Christ alone. I am not encouraging entire independence from people, commitments, routines, etc., but I am challenging each of us, myself included, to make sure our hope and strength are first and foremost in Jesus Christ.

Because when those securities and comforts fade away, what remains? Jesus, my Cornerstone, my solid ground.

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, My All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Tree on Lingira Island

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