The Age Old Search
Back in 323 B.C. Alexander the Great ruled an empire that stretched from Greece and Egypt in the west to upper India in the east. This man seems to have epitomized the search for significance. Alexander was told by his mother that he was a descendant of Achilles, so he learned the Iliad by heart and carried a copy with him. As if his rapid, heroic conquests in Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt were not enough, when he reached an oracle in the Libyan dessert, he was told that he was “the son of the god” and would conquer the world. After defeating Persia and north India, he settled in Babylon to implement his plans to reorganize government and spread Greek thought and culture.
However, weakened through his carousing, he became critically ill with malaria. Alexander realized that he was dying, so he secretly tried to drown himself one night in the Euphrates river (so people might think he was a god and disappeared), but his wife awoke, found him, and brought him back to his bed. He died there as a weak and disillusioned man at age 33. His famous instructor, Aristotle, had not given him a sufficient revelation from God to direct his life and prepare him for death.
There seems to be a hunger in each of us to make our lives count–to be significant. The wisdom book of Ecclesiastes shows that money, pleasure, and attainments do not quench the soul’s thirst for significance:
“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun” (Eccl. 2:11).
Fallen man is frustrated because of spiritual alienation from God. David Needham observed that people are left with “no choice but to deal with the issue of meaning, significance, purpose–to search for it, to fight for it, envy it in others, react against those who might take it from us, grieve because it has been lost, or perhaps (most deceptively and pitifully) be deluded into thinking we have found it.”
We are prone to search for significance in all the wrong places! But when we come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our ultimate needs are met by God’s grace as we become spiritually united with Christ (1 Cor. 6:17).
Jesus offers supernatural fulfillment: “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive…” (John 7:37-39).
Yet, we are still prone to base our sense of value on temporal things like career, the quest for money and status, and the recognition received from the important people. So we need to “renew our mind” and see that our significance is rooted in our spiritual blessings. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”(Eph. 1:3).
Humans were originally created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28). Consider the grandeur of our planet–its flora and fauna, its mountains and oceans. We were created to have dominion over this world and that is our destiny in Christ (Psalm 8; 2 Tim. 2:12).
Although this image of God was marred at the Fall, God’s restoration project for us includes progressive sanctification and final glorification. As the apostle Paul wrote, “… you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:9,10). This will culminate in glorification for the redeemed ones after this earthly life. As Paul declared, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18)!
Fellow disciple, ponder all the biblical statements about your identification with Christ.
- You are a joint-heir with Him.
- You are complete in Him.
- You are raised and ascended with Him! (Rom. 8:17; Col. 2:10; 3:1-4).
This in no way engenders pride, because we are what we are by the grace of God (1 Cor. 15:10).
Therefore, let us gain our sense of significance, not from the world’s empty pursuits, but through our wonderful relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords!
Our God, we humbly thank You for creating us in Your image. Grant us wisdom to appreciate the full significance we have through our wonderful salvation and calling in Christ. In His name, amen.
 David C. Needham, Alive for the Fist Time, (Multnomah Books), p.34.
Copyright 1998, 2014 by John Woodward. Permission is given to reprint if credit is given to the author and GraceNotebook.com
. Quotations from the Bible are from the New King James Version (copyright, Thomas Nelson).