What Christ Means to Me
I was born into a Christian home and grew up as a covenant child. My father (now retired) was a pastor in the PCA (RPCES before J&R). While I don’t believe covenant children somehow automatically become believers without any exercise of faith on their part, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t trust Jesus. According to my mother, I made a profession of faith at the age of three. I can remember committing myself to the Lord, with increasing levels of awareness, throughout my childhood – and indeed, throughout my life.
There were times during my childhood when I regretted not having a more “flashy” testimony like some of the kids I would meet a church camp who had been involved in drugs or somehow had been obviously rebellious against the Lord. Their testimony was so clear and interesting! Eventually, however, I came to appreciate and prefer the benefits of having been brought up in a covenant home.
I could summarize my Christian experience by saying that Christ has been increasingly drawing me to himself. He has done this by gradually revealing to me the depths and ugliness of my sin and simultaneously showing himself to be the greatest hero of all time – my hero.
He is my hero because he is most beautiful and glorious. He is not empty and grasping for something to fill him up, as I am without him. He proved this when he suffered my punishment on the cross to rescue me from the just wrath of God against me, and he proves it again and again in my daily experience. He is not empty and grasping, but full of glory and overflowing with love and faithfulness, — and I long to be like him. He is my hero because he fulfills the longings for glory I have because I’m made in his image. These longings have been twisted by sin so that my flesh tempts me to make my glory, and not his, my chief aim in life.
How often have I asked him – sometimes without even realizing what I’m asking — to support my frustrated ego and my self-centered attempt to fulfill these God-given longings. On the other hand, my hope in him has not been disappointed. He has made it clear to me that all the hopes, joys and glory of humanity as he designed it are found as I am captivated by his glory. He has made me “taste and see” that he is good, and the taste has make me want more. I have experienced something – but too little — of what it means to “drink of Christ” and find the incredibly disproportionate result – the power of the Holy Spirit flowing out like a mighty river to accomplish the work of the kingdom.
He is my hero because he has been ever saving me from myself. He has shown me, for example, how quickly that out-flowing river dries up when I look to myself for strength instead of looking to him. The temptation of the flesh to depend on my gifts, on the strengths of my personality, on my education and anything else he has given me, is strong and ever present.
It pains me to think of the many times I know I have not trusted him – sometimes in the face of criticism, feeling misunderstood or other difficulties, as if his love weren’t enough for me; and other times in the midst of plenty as if I didn’t need him. No doubt I don’t know the half of my lack of trust. And still he woos me to himself.
Through this process of wooing, I have seen how he has increasingly convinced me that I need to pray and fill my mind with his Word, not just as an academic study for others, but for my very life. I can’t say I feel completely satisfied with my practice in this area, but I have experienced an increased sense of need, and have seen myself spending more time in prayer and reading his Word.
He is my hero because he has not given up on me. When I would fall under the increasing vision of my sinfulness, he gives me a fresh vision of his forgiveness and greatness. Though I act as if it weren’t true more often than I would like to admit, there is no doubt in my mind that he is my hero, and I want to be like him.