february 25th - In Christ alone
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 (NKJV)
The lyrics from the song, "In Christ Alone," make a bold declaration:
“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.
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."
It is a poetic and beautifully stated sentiment, but is it true? More importantly, is it true to your life? Is Jesus Christ enough? Is Christ alone the source of your hope?
Years ago I went through a dark time where I was clinically depressed for about 6 months. (It is the only time in my life where I suffered from prolonged depression) I had gone through a major transition through life and felt lost. I left a
job where I had been well-liked and effective; as well as a large group of close friends and supporters. In the vacuum of transition I struggled with the loss of identity. I did not realize how much my identity had been tied to my job and position in the community.
In the fog of depression I was invited by a friend, who was speaking at a national conference in Dallas, to come and just hang out. One of the speakers at the conference was Winkie Pratney. He said something that broke through the darkness of my depression. He said, "If Christianity was a math equation, it would look something like this: (You + Jesus = Enough). Everything else in this equation called life is outside the parenthesis. Everything that counts is contained within the parenthesis. Nothing but Jesus belongs within the parenthesis. If anything else finds its way within the parenthesis that defines you, it is an idolatry that needs to be removed, because Jesus is enough. What does Jesus bring to the equation? Life, Salvation, Love, Hope, Faith, Peace, Joy, Courage and every good thing that you need. Christ Jesus is our sufficiency. You, plus Jesus, is all that you need!"
I grabbed on to that truth and the light in my brain clicked on. My identity had been developed in a process with something other than Jesus within the parenthesis of my life. My equation looked like this: (Me + Jesus + My Job = Enough) I repented, embraced the idea of Christ being sufficient, and my depression was immediately gone. "In Christ Alone" took on a whole new meaning.
Author's Note: The Apostle Paul talked about the sufficiency of Christ. "I determined not to know anything...except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Paul found his identity in Christ. Seems to be a wise decision. All that we need, all that we long for, all that we are, all that we hope to be; all of those things are found in Christ Jesus our Lord! No doubt--He is the author and finisher of my faith. RJD