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Saturday, March 04, 2006

The residue of darkness: The old man belief system

Pascal wrote that there is a God-shaped hole in each of us--a vacuum waiting to be filled by God. But we find so many other things to fill it. When man was created he had a direct link to God, but the fall broke that link and left us utterly alone, feeling worthless, and separated from Father. Man is built to fellowship, to commune, but sin has left that God-shaped hole.

We try to fill the hole with other people, with things, with money, with activities, with power, but it doesn't work. We always seem to need a little more than we have. If we could have just a little more we'd be satisfied. But, that's the lie. We'll never be satisfied apart from God.

Relationships fail because we have unfair expectations about each other. We expect the other person to fill the void, but they expect the same from us. It is when we stop expecting other people to be our savior and turn to the one Savior that we can actually find fulfillment and worth.

The residue of darkness, however, is that old man belief system. It's the old pattern of expecting people, postion, and things to fill the void. In fact, it takes a daily, sometimes constant, habit of telling the old man to stop trying and allow God to fill the gap.

It's an odd habit to get into. When something strikes a chord that produces and emotion, whether it is anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, examine the emotion. Pinpoint its source, and determine if the old man is taking control.

Recently, I was forced by an emotional outburst to examine whether I was finding my worth in my ministry or in my God. Perhaps there is a hint of pride connected to the ministry, but I eventually concluded that I could give up the ministry without feeling a loss of my worth. I passed that test.

That has not always been the case. There have been times when what I do is who I am. That is the American way, is it not? If we are talking with a new acquaintance isn't one of the first questions asked, "What do you do?" In our culture it establishes who you are and what you are worth. Let's say that one works at McDonald's. The average person will look down on the employment as a substandard job. But maybe that person is using the job as a opportunity to save money to go on mission trips. They work at McDonald's because they can leave their job and return without effecting their position. What then is the more important answer to "What do you do?" Do you work at McDonald's, or are you a missionary?

Where to do you find your worth? If you're looking in the darkness trying to find someone or something to make you feel important, then you're looking in the wrong place. Look to the light. Only God can fill that God-shaped hole.

SDG

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