What Are You Looking Forward To?

I’ve been trying to keep this question on my mind lately. It’s a good question to consider on a regular basis. However, it’s not always an easy question to answer. I’ve had times in which there wasn’t anything that I was looking forward to. I was just existing, waiting to die, and often during those times rather hoping that death would catch up with me fairly soon. It’s easy to lose track of the things that you might have to look forward to, and it’s easy to forget that there is something to look forward to. Sometimes it’s difficult to think of anything to look forward to. I look into the future and see wave after wave of sameness. The same struggles, the same pains, the same frustrations, and the same lack of answers, and in those times trying to maintain hope is more painful than just being contentedly miserable.

So, this is my question for you today: what are you looking forward to?

My answer: I’m looking forward to a coffee date that I have tomorrow, and I’m hoping that it goes well. I’m looking forward to filling out a seminary application next month, and I’m hoping that the timing is right and it is finally God’s will for me to go back to school. I’m looking forward to getting some miniatures painted and playing a couple of very fun new games with friends. I’m looking forward to the new Thor movie and I’m hoping that it’s as good as it looks. I’m looking forward to my bible study this week, and I’m hoping that we get to really delve into 1st Peter. I’m looking forward to feeling better, and I’m hoping that I don’t need to go to a doctor. I’m looking forward to my Aikido-Jujitsu class this afternoon. I’m looking forward to getting some writing done tomorrow, and I’m hoping that my muse sees fit to fill me with creativity. I’m looking forward to getting into Isaiah again tomorrow, and I’m really enjoying the commentary that I’m working my way through. I’m looking forward to seeing my family next month, and meeting my new nephew, and I’m hoping that I have the chance to get together with a friend at the same time. I’m looking forward to meeting the right woman someday, and I’m hoping that it’s soon. I’m looking forward to publishing a second book, and I’m hoping that I have the energy to work on it consistently.

I think I’m done listing things for now. Honestly, I had to wrack my brain for some of those. This probably isn’t an exhaustive list of the things I’m looking forward to. There’s a new Riddick movie coming out, for instance. However, it is a fairly thorough list of the important things. However, there is one thing that I left off of the list intentionally. Mostly because I think it needs to be separate, and because I want to talk about it a little bit: I’m looking forward to spending each day with God.

It is important to keep in mind the things that you are looking forward to. It’s important to be able to look at the future and be excited, instead of incensed, terrified, or hopeless. However, none of those things are going to fulfill me. None of them is going to bring me eudaimonia. While they are all good things, and all things that I am sincerely looking forward to and excited about, they are just things. They are events, experiences, etc some of which bear more importance than others, and some of which aren’t really important at all. However, none of them compares with actively spending time with God, and this is something that I should always be looking forward to. I can’t say that I always am, but I always should be.

Spending each day with God is something that will complete me. It is something that will bring me complete joy. It would be easy to say: ‘when you’re listing the things you’re looking forward to, don’t forget time with God’, but it would also be hypocritical and legalistic. Simply including God in a list of things I’m looking forward to doesn’t mean that I am actually seeking him or spending time with him. Christ told us to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all to often we think this means that God should be at the top of our list, the first thing we do in the day, or the word that comes out of our mouths most often. None of these is a bad things, but it is the quest of the heart that matters. I can easily make sure to always include time with God on a list of things that are important to me, but it is significantly harder to actually spend every day with him. The former requires a little mental effort while the latter requires a continual adjustment of perspective and priorities. So, what are you looking forward to?

Making the Cross Too Important

The cross, or rather Christ’s death upon the cross, is the only hope of mankind. It is the only means to salvation, the only propitiation of sin, and that completion that was intended and expected in the Mosaic law. This is all true. However, when I make my faith entirely about the cross, what I inevitably wind up saying is that my faith is about me, and this is the problem.

I need the cross. It is my hope and my salvation. God does not need it, because God does not need me. He’s perfectly fine on his own and there is nothing that I can do for him which he cannot do for himself. The cross has an important, irrevocable place in the Christian faith, but it should not be the center of that faith, because we should not be the center of that faith.

We often say that ‘If only one man on earth had ever sinned, Christ would have come to save him’, and I don’t actually disagree with this claim in anyway. God loves us and he wants us, this is made clear by the fact that the father would sacrifice the son so that men might be saved. However, when I hear this I often respond with this question: ‘If saving man hadn’t glorified the Godhead, would Christ have come to die?’

The answer to this is obviously no, because we aren’t the center of the Christian faith. Christ died for our sins because it glorified the Godhead. Our salvation is the primary means by which God is glorified (though certainly not the only means), and thus our salvation is important, but any attempt to make the means into the purpose is a mistake.

We serve a God that is beyond our understanding. A being of infinite knowledge, majesty, power, and presence, and in glorifying him our purpose is served. We should be obsessed with Christ, because he is both God and King. He is our savior and our hope. We should be obsessed with the cross because it was the means by which our salvation came, and that is important.

However, in these obsessions we must never forget that our highest obsession, our highest purpose, is to glorify the Lord of Hosts, and only in doing is our purpose served.